As early as 5th grade, Michelle knew she wanted to become an architect. Growing up in small town Massachusetts, Michelle lacked exposure to architecture professionals, but made up for it with her unwavering focus and drive – selecting every class and after-school activity with her future career in mind. Now, after 20 years in the field (including 10 years as Principal and Co-Owner of Atelier Drome), Michelle has not only established herself as a skilled architect and mentor, but has also developed her own boundary pushing, user-centered approach.
While pursuing her Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2002, Michelle studied abroad at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands, where she drew from her surroundings to hone a bold and context-sensitive approach to design. After working at several firms around the United States, Michelle started her own Seattle-based firm which she merged with Henry Walters in 2012, forming Atelier Drome.
Able to balance being both people-oriented and pragmatic, Michelle relishes the opportunity to design spaces that evoke emotion and enrich the lives of clients. In the early stages of each project, she works to establish a clear vision, tailored specifically to the users of the space and the “problems” the design needs to solve. From tactile surfaces and light fixtures to the overall building massing, Michelle works to understand how the different scales of design relate, and how to articulate them in a way that reinforces the central vision. Having grown up in a family of social workers, Michelle also takes a social impact lens to every project she leads, whether it be a multi-family development or a small independently-owned restaurant.
As a leader of Atelier Drome, Michelle is direct, decisive, and people-driven. She trusts the skills of every team member, and encourages them to demonstrate independence and leadership – no matter their position or scope of involvement. As an avid traveler, Michelle doesn’t leave her boundary-pushing mindset at the office. In her time off, she enjoys wandering Parisian museums and traveling through Morocco, tasting local cuisines. When she’s at home, Michelle enjoys running, drinking wine, and soaking up rare rays of Seattle sunshine.
B. Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology
LICENSES / CERTIFICATIONS
Registered Architect, Washington, Oregon