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Green Studies - Integrated and Regenerative Design


Integrated and Regenerative Design

Facilitated by

Michael Singer

Artist and Principal Designer, Michael Singer Studio

Michael Singer received numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. His works are part of public collections in the United States and abroad, including the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He had several one-person shows, most notably at the Guggenheim Museum, New York City.


Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s Michael Singer’s work opened new possibilities for outdoor and indoor sculpture and contributed to the definition of site specific art and the development of public places. From the 1990’s to the present his work has been instrumental in transforming public art, architecture, landscape, and planning projects into successful models for urban and ecological renewal. The New York Times chose Singer’s design of a massive waste recycling and transfer station in Phoenix, Arizona as one of the top eight design events of its year. In 2007 Singer co-authored “Infrastructure and Community: How Can We Live With What Sustains Us” published by Environmental Defense. Michael Singer was awarded a Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) commission to design and install a new entry garden sculpture that opened in 2008 for the American Embassy in Athens, Greece.


Singer has been involved in a variety of landscape and outdoor environment, planning,

and infrastructure projects in the United States and Europe. In Stuttgart, Germany he

completed a one acre sculptural garden commemorating “Those Who Survived” as part of a new public park. In 1994 a sculptural floodwall and walkway opened as a model water filtration riverine reclamation project designed by Singer for the Grand River East Bank Walkway in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For the Denver International Airport Singer completed a large interior sculpture garden design and installation for Concourse C. While serving as “Artist in Residence” at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Singer developed a master plan for the use and redesign of the outdoor gardens as part of his two year residency. Singer’s design of interior air and water purification gardens for the Institute for Forestry and Nature (Alterra, IBN) The Netherlands, has been featured in many journals as one of the leading examples of aesthetically outstanding regenerative environmentally sustainable projects. The Canal Corridor Association and Chicago Parks Department selected Singer to design a new urban park on the Chicago River that interprets the history and impacts of canals on the city, as well as reclaims wildlife habitat and restores a wetland ecosystem. With support from the Rockefeller Foundation he led a multidisciplinary team with the environmental group River Watch Network on a master plan for Troja Island Basin in Prague, Czech Republic.


Singer led a team engaged by the AES Corporation for their Londonderry, New Hampshire Cogeneration Power Facility buildings to plan and design the site and surrounding land holdings ($400M). The Singer design team identified many strategies by which the facility can set a new standard for the power industry, making this power facility an asset to its surroundings; demonstrating how essential services like power generation can become integral parts of a community’s social fabric. As a result of Singer’s work for AES, several companies in the electric power industry have engaged him to work on new facility design. For Trans Gas Energy’s New York City site the Singer team developed a design that is included in the New York State Article 10 Regulatory Application. The design reveals many exciting possibilities for integrating the facility water and waste heat systems into design and programs that are also amenities to the community. The design defines an “Urban Eco-Sustainable Network”, including habitat creation, education, recreation, water preservation, and urban agriculture as part of the electric generation facility building’s and site’s function and programs.


In 1999 The EcoTarium in Worcester, Massachusetts completed two phases ($16M) of a Singer led master plan and design for the institution’s buildings and 60 acre site. The

design includes extensive renovation, new buildings, museum store, Telecommunications Center, exhibitions, major site and landscape improvements, and animal habitats. The project and Singer’s work were featured in the “New York Times Sunday Arts and Leisure Section”. Singer completed an artist in residence grant at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach as the leader of “Imagining Howard Park”, a creative urban planning exercise. For this residency, Singer led a “think tank” of community participants, regional artists, design and planning professionals, students and members of the general public. The Plan identifies design and program opportunities that inform the City about revitalizing and interconnecting the park to the residential, commercial, cultural, environmental, and civic interests encompassing it, and brings attention to the special qualities of the indigenous South Florida landscape.


Singer’s academic work includes teaching graduate level architecture at MIT, the Graduate Program of the School of Visual Arts, New York City, The Koopman Visiting Chair of Art at Hartford College of Art, and Innovation Studio at the Rhode Island School of Design. He recently completed three years as the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar Chair at Florida Atlantic University and his current appointment at the University is Special Consultant to the Dean of Arts and Humanities. His work with FAU PhD. students resulted in “Transformations”, a landscape and public place proposal for retention pond sites and “A Fresh Water Environmental Center” an innovative visitor center for the South Florida Water Management District.


The Jewish Community Center of the Upper West Side of New York City commissioned Michael Singer for a public work of art in the new Samuel Priest Rose Building in Manhattan. Singer designed and fabricated “Welcoming Garden”, a narrow forty-foot tall sculptural garden set into the interior entry stone wall. The vertical garden is a series of textured cliff-like shelves formed with copper and bronze castings. Vines grow within the 16 inch wide inner chamber and extend onto the wall. Water flows slowly within the crevice, dripping from level to level before collecting in a small reservoir.


In 2003 Michael Singer completed a $350,000 security barrier system for the two entry plazas of the Palm Beach County Courthouse in West Palm Beach, Florida. This project demonstrates how public art can aesthetically enhance a functional security need.


In January 2003, The New York City Economic Development Corporation hired Michael Singer as a part of a core team with Margie Ruddick Landscape to provide planning, streetscape and landscape design for the public spaces in Queens Plaza near the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, New York. The focus of the design proposal is a sustainable urban environment using storm water runoff from the surrounding streets and the Queensboro Bridge to interact with sculptural elements, plantings, and streetscapes that filter and cleanse a portion of this water. The project is scheduled to begin construction in 2008.


In October 2004 Michael Singer completed a sculpture garden commission by Middlebury College. “Garden of the Seasons” is located adjacent to the new Middlebury College Library. The sculpture garden functions as a filtration system for storm water runoff coming from the upper campus as well as an outdoor seating and gathering space. Native plantings are set around granite seating, sunken gardens, and terraced spaces. A water wall becomes a winter ice wall.


Michael Singer is leading the design with CH2MHILL Engineering of a large waterfrontpark and City Commons in West Palm Beach, Florida located along the Intra-coastalWaterway in the downtown area. Environmental enhancements are an important theme throughout the design, including constructed islands that help purify the Intra-coastalwater. These elements have become a best practice supported by the Department of Environmental Resource Management in Palm Beach County. The project design includes piers, a community waterfront pavilion, a central commons area with water features, trellis shaded pathways and gardens, and a waterfront landing and beach area.


In 2005 Whole Foods Market engaged Michael Singer to propose environmentally

responsible and aesthetic guidelines for distribution to developers seeking a Whole Foods Market store. Singer completed “Outside the Box”, a visual and written report on the potential for Whole Foods Market and their host shopping centers to address aesthetic, cultural, and environmental issues that distinguish their stores. Singer has completed seven designs for the Florida region of Whole Foods Market. Several of these stores are in construction; most notable is a Jacksonville,

Alterra Institute for Environmental Research, interior water cleansing sculptural garden, Michael Singer Studio with architect Behnisch and Partner and landscape architect Copijn Tuin en Landschaps Architecten. Photo Credit: Edwin Walwisch  -
image Courtesy of Michael Singer Studio

Miami Dade College  (MDC) 
Faculty  and Staff

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CTD Reference #TBA
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 - Earn 4 Architecture CEUs (HSW)  if applicable


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