Alumni Profile: Michael Samuelian AR’95
Michael Samuelian has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to improving the architecture and civic spaces of New York City by engaging, across the arc of his distinguished career, the myriad aspects of designing the city, in both the public and private realms. He graduated from the Cooper Union in 1995. Following graduate study at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and five years of practice, he joined the Manhattan Office of the New York City Department of City Planning as director of Lower Manhattan Special Projects, responsible for developing policy, managing design, coordination and strategic planning for all major urban planning and design initiatives in Lower Manhattan.
While working for NYC City Planning, his projects included the East River Waterfront Concept Plan, commercial guidelines for the rebuilt World Trade Center, and the Fulton Street Retail Revitalization. He become a vice president at Related Companies, responsible for the design and planning of Hudson Yards, a 17 million sq. ft. $20 billion mixed use development in midtown on one of the last significant undeveloped properties remaining in Manhattan. His disciplined, strategic and tireless advocacy was instrumental to the project including 13 acres of new public space, large scale public art, and significant new works of architecture.
Michael has also taught at The Cooper Union in the school of architecture, developing and teaching the course Professional Practice for over ten years. He has been an extraordinary mentor to students, preparing them for a move from academic study to practice, in its broadest sense, and supporting them deep into their careers.
In 2017 Michael returned to the non-profit public sector to serve as President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island, responsible for the operations, management and planning of 172 acres of largely open space on a largely unpopulated island in New York Harbor. This extraordinary place, with its dozens of historic structures, proximity to the harbor and extraordinary views of lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Liberty Island is poised for a transformation, to be reimagined as New York City’s newest neighborhood, newest public space, newest cultural destination, all under Michael’s leadership and vision.
Michael Samuelian will receive the CUAA John Hejduk award in 2018 and be inducted into The Cooper Union Hall of Fame.