Happy First MW-Anniversary to Michael Payne

Michael on site during construction at North City Pure Water Facility

Architect Michael Payne is celebrating one year with MWA’s Portland Infrastructure studio. As Project Manager on many of MWA’s large-scale infrastructure projects, Michael has been a jet-setter, traveling up and down the West Coast to manage our projects on-site. His positivity brightens our clients’ and colleagues’ days, and his well-rounded knowledge of architecture is invaluable to our projects.

Thank you, Michael, for a year of supporting MWA’s mission of serving the essential needs of the community through innovative, thoughtful, and respectful design.

What projects are you working on right now?

I am currently working as a Project Manager and Project Architect on multiple projects, including the North City Pure Water Facility, SFPUC Headworks, City of Pittsburg Water Treatment Plant, Bow Lake Modular Temporary Office, Mt. Tabor Renovation, Springer Clean Water Services Interiors, and Cowlitz permanent offices.

I appreciate Michael’s positive demeanor around the office. He always finds something to smile about, even while juggling multiple projects and tight deadlines. He also started our annual putt putt golf tournament, which is now my favorite MWA event!

– Allison Plass, Interior Environments Lead, Branding and Graphic Design Lead
Michael, Maria, and Dave posing in front of their lego putt putt golf challenge

What project phase is your favorite? Why?

My two favorite phases are Concept Design and Construction because they have the power to suggest and then codify the design—both with intention.

What’s your favorite thing about working at MWA?

The food – just kidding, I am excited about opportunities to work with every person in the firm.

How do you maintain work/life balance?

Bass playing, yard projects, long bike rides, happy hours, exploring new cities, collecting miniature replica towers, beach exploration, and sunsets.

What do you hope to do more of in the next few years? 

In the next few years, I plan to travel more and focus on design and interior environment projects.

What is your next career goal that you would like to tackle? 

My current focus is on continuing to lead design for the infrastructure team and firm and evolve into a design director role.

When you started your career, why did you want to become an architect?

When I started my journey as a child, I found I could see volumes spatially from simple shapes and outlines on the ground (or the outlines of leaves). After High School, I focused on the craft of architecture and worked for several years before attending University. My passion is to create environments where people want to be.

Is there a particular architect’s work that inspires you? Why?

I am fascinated with Antonio Gaudi because of his ability to use organic references in his projects. Sagrada Familia is his most famous work.

Santiago Calatrava is another favorite because he uses engineering forms that express biomorphic ideas and modern forms.

Zaha Hadid translated futurism into architectural realities – some were expressed as paintings in exploded views, graphic and topographic, yet tamed into projects.

Steven Holl – surprising complexity with simple forms and spatial relationships.

Michael taking notes on architectural drawings on site at north city pure water facility
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