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Michael Murphy

Dial Fellowship

Designing buildings that improve human health.

The buildings in our lives don’t just provide us with shelter. They shape our moods, our productivity, our relationships to each other, and our health. “What we build affects how people live, learn, heal, commune, and commute,” says Michael Murphy, architectural designer and founder of MASS Design Group.

MASS is a global, nonprofit architecture firm with offices in 20 countries across the globe. As lead designer on such projects as the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the Butaro Hospital, and the National Gun Violence Memorial, among others, Murphy is showing us how architecture can boost individual health, foster equitable communities, and have a positive impact on the planet.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that the spaces around us affect our ability to breathe. Murphy wants to shift our expectations of what the buildings around us can do and, in the process, improve our everyday lives. “The search for beauty in our built world is not a ‘nice to have,’” Murphy says. “It is the fastest path to more-equitable distribution of dignity in our world, and architecture’s primary function.”