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Michael Poris, AIA, Lauded for Decades-Long Commitment To Transforming Detroit Through Design

Esteemed Architect Recognized With Prestigious Detroit Urbanism Award


Michael Poris, AIA, is the recent recipient of the Charles Blessing Award from the Detroit Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Projects under his leadership include City Club Apartments Lafayette Park (left) and Detroit Foundation Hotel (middle). Images courtesy of Alan Blakely (City Club Apartments), Joe Vaughn (Foundation Hotel), and McIntosh Poris Associates (Poris). Click here for high-resolution images.


DETROIT, MI: Michael Poris, AIA, NCARB, Principal of McIntosh Poris Associates, is the 2022 recipient of the Charles Blessing Award, presented by the Detroit Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In an official statement about the award, AIA Detroit said, “Michael Poris, AIA, has been working to implement change in his hometown of Detroit for 27 years. Under his design leadership, McIntosh Poris Associates has been transforming communities through architecture, interior, and urban design throughout the region.”


One of the highest honors in Detroit’s architecture community, this award is named after Charles A. Blessing, FAIA, the visionary Detroit city planner, architect, engineer, and educator who committed himself to elevating the quality of life for the city’s residents. His annual namesake award recognizes an individual who shows leadership in planning and civic issues, and exemplifies Blessing’s vision, commitment, and accomplishments.


“This honor is a career highlight,” says Poris, who is known for his tireless efforts on behalf of Detroit. “The Charles Blessing Award is a tribute to the talent and dedication of McIntosh Poris Associates’ staff as well as to the clients and stakeholders who have helped us elevate architecture and design in Metro Detroit.”


Poris established McIntosh Poris in 1994 with the late Douglas McIntosh, a childhood friend and fellow native Detroiter. The firm promotes collaboration and creative consensus-building among clients, developers, and city officials, applying its design excellence to transform neighborhoods, buildings, and interiors into innovative, inviting environments.


McIntosh Poris’ early preservation advocacy and forward-thinking vision set the course for the city’s economic renaissance through the revitalization of significant buildings and the renewal of once-ignored neighborhoods. “For decades, Detroit’s mind-set of tearing down great old building stock had a dire effect on the city,” notes Poris. “We helped propel a new way of thinking about the past and future of Detroit.”


Among the Mcintosh Poris projects that exemplify this new ethos are Woodward Garden Theater and Apartments, Foundation Hotel, Genesis Villas at Medbury Park Affordable Housing, and Fisher 21 Lofts, as well as framework, feasibility, and master plans for the Broadway District, East Riverfront, Greektown, Park Avenue Historic District, North Corktown, Islandview Village, Michigan Central Depot, and Pewabic Pottery, among others. The firm was on the forefront of adaptive reuse projects, starting work on the Madison Theater conversion in 1999.


Poris honed his expertise in contemporary design working on both coasts before returning to Detroit. In addition to housing and civic projects, McIntosh Poris is also known for its hospitality design, including Townhouse Detroit, Prime + Proper, Vinsetta Garage, Olin, Comos, Hopcat Detroit, Country Club of Detroit, Detroit Athletic Club, and Hotel St. Regis, to name a few.


Among his many other clients, Poris has led projects for Bedrock Management Services, Carhartt, City Club, City of Detroit, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Ford Motor Company, Little Caesar’s Arena, Pewabic, Platform, Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, and University of Michigan, among many, others.


Active in the creative community, Poris serves on Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit’s board of directors and volunteers with Detroit Institute of Arts’ Friends of Modern & Contemporary Art auxiliary group. He was founding co-chair of Art Members at Cranbrook, Museum of New Art Detroit (MONA), and Encore Group, which created Bravo Bravo at the Michigan Opera Theater. He has served on other boards and committees in the past for educational, cultural, and professional organizations, including AIA Detroit, AIA Michigan, Cranbrook Art Museum, Detroit Design Festival, Heidelberg Project, Michigan Architectural Foundation, Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), and AIA Detroit’s Urban Priorities Committee.


Poris received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, studied modern architectural history at Yale University, and received his Master of Architecture degree from SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. From 1985 to 1994, he worked in the offices of several renowned architects, including Frank Gehry, FAIA, Thom Mayne, FAIA/Morphosis, Richard Meier, FAIA, and César Pelli, FAIA, where Poris learned a variety of alternative approaches to design and architecture.



About McIntosh Poris Associates

McIntosh Poris Associates believes in the power of design as a catalyst for change, transforming communities through creative, interactive city-building. Since 1994, the architects and urbanists of McIntosh Poris Associates have delivered architecture, interior, and urban design services for commercial, residential, and institutional clients across the U.S. Led by principals Michael Poris, AIA, John Skok, AIA, and Laurie Hughet-Hiller, AIA, Detroit-based McIntosh Poris Associates has won more than 120 design awards, including 30 regional and national AIA awards (23 for projects in Detroit) 75 Detroit Design awards and a ULI Global Award for Excellence.