Michael Sorkin, architect, author, teacher, and one of the most distinctive voices for social justice and sustainability in the design of the urban environment died at the age of 71 in New York after contracting coronavirus. He was a distinguished professor and director of the urban design program at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York City and an architecture critic. He was known for the biting essays he wrote for the Village Voice in the high days of Post Modernism. In addition, he wrote/edited 20 books. He was founding principal of the Michael Sorkin Studio, a New York-based global design practice with special interests in urban planning, urban design and green urbanism.
Sorkin designed environmental projects in Hamburg, Germany, and proposed master plans for the Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, and the Brooklyn waterfront and Queens Plaza in New York City. His urban studies have been the subject of gallery exhibits, and in 2010, he received the American Academy of Arts and Letters award in architecture. Sorkin presented regularly at regional, national, and international conferences, and he served as adviser and juror on numerous professional committees, including The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, The Aga Khan Trust for Culture’s Aga Khan Award for Architecture, Chrysler Design Award, the New York City Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture, Architectural League of New York, and in the area of design writing and commentary, for Core 77
Closer to home, he was a recent finalist in a design competition for affordable housing on infill lots in New York, with the multi-unit “House as Garden” for a site in Harlem. His firm’s non-profit arm, Terreform, was a research studio for exploring sustainability.