Michael Bongiorno

Architect, Trend-Watcher, Instigator



Some see opportunity where others see eyesores. As our city’s infrastructure ages and industries shift, how do we adapt the physical objects and spaces once inhabited into uses they were never imagined to have while preserving their precious embodied energy? Informed by his travels and continual research, Michael will take you on a journey through leftover spaces and urban remnants around Columbus, proposing novel interventions and arguing for an opportunistic urbanism that re-imagines eyesores into places of both experiential dynamism and profound sustainability.

About Michael:

Michael is a principal and senior designer at DesignGroup, an AIA Gold medal architecture and design firm in Columbus. Michael’s focus is on work that supports and enhances the fabric of the city and furthers a fundamental belief that great design is the essential building block to vibrant, healthy communities. His work has garnered numerous awards in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. His current projects include the Columbus Museum of Art Expansion, the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park Nature Center, the Columbus School for Girls Expansion, the McConnell Arts Center of Worthington, the Alum Crest-Clearbrook School, and the award winning Grange Insurance Audubon Center. He serves on the board of directors of both the Columbus Center for Architecture and Design and AIA Columbus, where he is leading a group of local designers in the planning of Columbus’ first “Design Week” as part of the idUS experience. Michael has served as adjunct faculty in interior design at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD), has served as guest critic for numerous studio at the Knowlton School of Architecture, and has presented locally on urbanism, density and sustainability. Michael is a cum laude graduate of Pratt Institute School of Architecture in New York City and has lived and traveled extensively abroad. He was the author of the article “Columbus, City of Design?” on ColumbusUnderground.com, making the argument for Columbus to pursue the designation of a UNESCO City of Design.

Michael spent most of his childhood exploring the subways of New York City.  He obsesses over opportunities that many people overlook.  New urban places which create social space.  Radical opportunists creating linkages between buildings and parks – connecting the city.  Let’s learn how to see.  Can we look at a run down manufacturing plant as a banquet hall?