Michael Sorkin, an architect and pioneer in sustainable urban design, died last Thursday due to complications from the coronavirus. He was 71.
Sorkin was a prominent advocate for sustainable, accessible housing, earning accolades for his innovative work such as “House as Garden,” a recent finalist in a New York City design competition to create affordable housing. He strove for innovation, founding Terreform Center for Advanced Urban Research as a nonprofit arm for his studio to create new methods for sustainable urban design.
A staunch activist of social and environmental causes, Sorkin’s work is best remembered for op-eds all penned with his signature wit. Throughout his writing career, Sorkin published nearly a dozen books and numerous columns as Village Voice’s architecture critic.
Sorkin also served as director for the City College of New York’s urban design program, where he spent two decades teaching new generations of architects to think outside the box and design buildings both the people and the planet can afford.
In his tribute, colleague and friend Michael Murphy of MASS Design Group said “Michael was one of the elders that would have guided our industry through its forthcoming restructuring. It is only too clear that we have lost an oracle and a soothsayer.”