Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA

Founder & President
AIA Los Angeles Gold Medal Winner

Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA

Founder & President

THE GOLD MEDAL, American Institute of Architects Los Angeles

Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA founded LEHRERARCHITECTS LA in his native Silverlake District of Los Angeles. The work--from the intimate to the monumental--is grounded in the idea that beauty is a rudiment of human dignity. He designs for community with a reverence for light and space. Delight is a matter of extreme gravitas in the work.  The work is to elevate the everyday and celebrate community.

The firm’s work consists of institutional, commercial, industrial, residential, and urban design projects. Regarding sustainability and thrivability, the work aspires to embody the beauty of performance and the performance of beauty.  LEHRERARCHITECTS LA is steeped in the nurturing of creativity culture in its own work—both process and product--and in finding that spark in all of its clients’ endeavors.

Acclaim and Honor. In 2020, The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles bestowed the Gold Medal, its “highest honor” on Michael. “His devotion to fellow humans is matched by his mastery of craft," stated 2020 AIALA President Greg Verabian, AIA. "He is an architect fully engaged in architecture as a means to contribute to society as a whole."

LEHRERARCHITECTS LA has won over 150 major design and sustainability awards, including over 50 design awards from the national, state, and local chapters of The American Institute of Architects. Lehrer Architects’ Studio, The Downtown Homeless Drop-In Center, and the LA County Elections Operations Center have all won the Institute Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects, the top annual award for architecture in the United States, as well as numerous top awards from the International Interior Design Association, the AIA California Council, AIA LA, Architectural Record, the Los Angeles Business Council, Graphis, Contract Magazine, Interior Design and Builder Magazine, among many others.   The Water + Life Museum in Hemet, designed with Mark Gangi, AIA, is the first LEED™ Platinum museum in the world, and an international environmental showcase.  The Architecture Critic of the Los Angeles Times called it one of the 10 best public buildings in Southern California in the millennium’s first decade.  Archello Magazine named LEHRERARCHITECTS LA as one of the five best practices in Los Angeles in 2021.

Michael’s work has been widely published nationally and internationally and he is regularly called upon to comment about design matters in national and local broadcast media, print, panels, and symposia to explain the public interest from the architect’s perspective. This includes Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, ARCHITECT, Business Week, Dezeen, Designo, Azure, Builder Magazine, Metropolitan Home, Dwell, Interior Design, NPR’s Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, KCRW’s Which Way L.A.?, The LA Times, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Architect’s Newspaper, ALTA, among others.  Michael has lectured on his work at Stanford, Berkeley, Palm Spring’s Modernism Week, University of Michigan, Arizona State University, Woodbury University, the Dallas Architecture Forum, Dwell on Design, Governing Magazine/AARP, East Los Angeles College, among many others. Since 2019, Lehrer Architects’ many houseless persons shelters, including many Tiny Homes Villages, have been published in all media extensively around the world.  

Leadership, Engagement and Service: Loving Community.  Michael leads LEHRERARCHITECTS LA with a senior team of extremely talented designers including Principals Erik Alden, AIA LEED AP, Benjamin Lehrer, and Edan Kadribegovic.

Michael is Chairman Emeritus of the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) Alumni Council where he created a leadership manifesto, The Engagement Parti, which is now a centerpiece of GSD’s 14,000-member, multi-generational lifelong community. He has served as a GSD-appointed Director on the Harvard Alumni Association Board and is Past President of Homeless Health Care Los Angeles, a Board on which he stills serves. He was Vice Chairman of School Construction Bond Oversight Committee for over 5 years, overseeing a now $27 Billion repair and construction program for the LA Unified School District.  He has served on the University of California Riverside Design Review Board for the past 10 years and served on the Hollywood Planning and Design Review Board for over 25 years.  

He was President of the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles in 1999 and founded their annual, ongoing Legislative Day that year which has fundamentally changed the nature of the profession in LA and is in its 23rd year.   He initiated the AIA/LA push to make GREAT STREETS a central initiative in our city.

Teaching and Learning. Michael has been an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Southern California, teaching all levels of design studio from 1st Year through Master’s Thesis.  Prior to 1985, Mr. Lehrer worked at Frank O. Gehry and Associates and other design offices. He regularly sits on academic and professional AIA design juries around the country, including the AIA Institute Honor Awards Jury for Architecture.  

Education. Educated at Berkeley and Harvard after attending LAUSD public schools, Michael was licensed in California in 1981 and was elevated to the College of Fellows of The American Institute of Architects in 2004.

• Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Master of Architecture, 1978

• University of California, Berkeley, AB Major in Architecture with Highest Honors, 1975

Leadership Positions


• Chairman Emeritus, Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Council

• University of California at Riverside Design Review Board

• Past Harvard GSD-Appointed Director, Harvard Alumni Association Board

• Past President, Homeless Health Care Los Angeles

• Past President, American Institute of Architects Los Angeles

• Past Vice Chairman of LAUSD School Construction Bond Oversight Committee

• Student Body President, Thomas Starr King Junior High School

• Student Body Vice-President, John Marshall High School

Grounding. He is married to Mia Lehrer, FASLA of Studio-MLA Landscape Architecture. They have three children:  Benjamin (and Laura), Rebecca (and Neil), and Raphael (and Alana), and four grandchildren, Gabriel, Roxanna, Clara, and Amos.

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