Michael Pyatok, FAIA
Principal Emeritus pyatokfaia@gmail.com

Michael Pyatok has been an activist, architect, and professor of architectural design for more than 50 years. Since opening his office in 1984 in Oakland, California, Mike has designed over 50,000 units of housing for lower-income households, students, seniors, and market-rate renters and owners in the United States and abroad. His participatory design approach has brought clients, users, and community members into collaboration, and has helped participants visualize ideas and evaluate choices. Mike has built a legacy of helping communities plan, design, and execute new housing, neighborhood plans, and community facilities.

A graduate of Pratt Institute and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Mike was also a Fulbright Scholar in Helsinki, Finland, where he researched Scandinavian housing policies. In his mid-career, Mike returned to Harvard as a Loeb Fellow, researching strategies for nonprofit housing developers facing shrinking government involvement. In 1995, Mike was elected to the AIA College of Fellows in recognition of his contribution to neighborhood planning and the design of affordable housing. In 2001, Harvard appointed Mike its Buchsbaum Professor of Affordable Housing, and Residential Architect featured him as Architect of the Year in recognition of the design quality he brought to affordable housing. The following year, Mike was featured in Professional Builder magazine as one of twelve thought leaders in the development industry. From 2003-2006, Mike founded and directed the Arizona State University Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family. In 2007 he was named by Builder magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in the US housing industry, was inducted into the Marvin Design Hall of Fame in 2012, and in 2013 was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture by the AIA in recognition of his contribution to the design of affordable housing.

Mike is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle, and over the years has been a visiting design professor at University of California Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, University of Oregon, and University of Texas at Austin. Mike began his professorial career on the faculties of Penn State and Washington University in St. Louis.

Mike co-authored the seminal affordable housing design resource, Good Neighbors: Affordable Family Housing, and has published many articles on affordable housing, urban design, neighborhood planning, and community participation in planning and design journals in the US, Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Japan. He is currently finishing a new book, Architecture, Housing and Capitalism.

In 2022, Mike completed a transition away from everyday operations at PYATOK, and is now Principal Emeritus of the office he founded nearly 40 years earlier. He continues his work promoting housing for all through design, teaching, and advocacy. Some of his current endeavors include working with cities to plan transitional villages for people experiencing homelessness, designing for nonprofits, and supporting projects led by the office.

Image: Capitalism Eats Its Middle Class pencil drawing by Michael Pyatok

Pyatok - Project image
Pyatok - Michael Pyatok, FAIA