IN LOVING MEMORY OF MICHAEL R. SOMIN, FAIA, NCARB                                                                                         


Michael R. Somin, FAIA, Memorial Fund for Architectural Excellence                   

Michael was born in Chicago on April 28, 1938.  At 16 years old, he promised his father to become an architect and not just a draftsman.  He went on to graduate from Chicago Vocational School in 1956 with a high school degree in Architectural Drafting and then the University of Illinois in 1962 with a Bachelor of Architecture.

For over 50 years Michael advanced the design and science of laboratories.  He was a founding principal of nationally acclaimed lab consultants Earl Walls Associates and was CEO for four of his 42 years with the firm.  Over his lifetime, he was involved in the programming, planning and design of over 300 highly acclaimed laboratories around the world, winning eight Laboratory of the Year awards from R&D Magazine as well as the 1996 AIA Institute Honor.  His architectural mastery was best evidenced in the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Measurement Laboratory, which remains the most advanced laboratory of its kind in the world. 

Michael was further honored when it was announced that Elizabeth H. Blackburn had been awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine, her work having taken place in the laboratory he programmed and designed at UCSF.  And in 2013, Michael was elevated to Fellow in the American Institute of Architects, an honor he recognized as fulfilling the promise made to his father 59 years earlier.

Awards and recognition aside, what Michael loved most about being an architect was the ability to mentor and train the next generation.  Across the country, countless FAIA and AIA colleagues have established their own successful laboratory design practices because of his support.  He also believed that part of this mentorship included giving back to the University that had given him the education he needed.  Because of this, Michael was not only a lifetime member in the University of Illinois Alumni Association, but a long time donor to the School of Architecture.  His annual giving began in 1966 and he never missed a year until his death.  A special memorial fund has been established in his name to provide young, eager students and the School he loved with the tools they need to create the next generation of leaders in the field.

Gifts to the Michael R. Somin, FAIA, Memorial Fund for Architectural Excellence through the University of Illinois Foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. 

For additional information on the Michael R. Somin, FAIA, Memorial Fund for Architectural Excellence, please contact: 

Gail Rost 
Director of Development, Environmental Arts 
College of Fine and Applied Arts
117B Temple Hoyne Buell Hall