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Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA founded LEHRER ARCHITECTS LA in his native Silverlake District of Los Angeles in 1985. The work – from the intimate to the monumental – is grounded in the idea that “beauty is a rudiment of human dignity”. Michael and LEHRER ARCHITECTS LA’s approach to design grows out of a deep love and respect for the community and unwavering focus on its improvement. He designs for the community with a reverence for light and space. Delight is a matter of extreme gravitas in the work. The work is to elevate every day and celebrate the 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.  LEHRER ARCHITECTS 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 client’s endeavors.

For the past two decades he has been working in professional and civic roles to get people off the streets and into decent housing. His practice has been committed to creating affordable and ennobling respite, shelter, centers of community and housing for underprivileged and unhoused communities throughout LA through affordable housing solutions, shelters, community projects and thought leadership. He has served as Board Member and Past President of Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles for the past 18 years.

From his firm’s early Skid Row projects and community projects like Clinica Romero in North East LA to the 2020 AIA | LA Residential Design Award-winning East Rancho Apartments for formerly homeless teens in South LA, the recent Aetna Street Bridge Home, and the experimental Chandler Blvd Tiny Home Village for homeless residents, Michael Lehrer's work has been at the vanguard of the movement in Los Angeles to give everyone a decent place to live. 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.”

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SESSION: Keynote

Friday, October 14, 10:30-11:30am

Architecture is Optimism: The City of Angels' Better Angels

Optimism in the studio spills into the culture-at-large. Optimism transcends property lines into neighborhoods. Optimism isn't trivial, it's persevering for a vision. Over the past 20+ years Lehrer Architects LA has been working in professional and civic roles to get people off the streets and into decent housing. This talk will explore the continuum of housing and how creating HOME for someone - for anyone and everyone - is about providing human dignity, safety, love and respect through affordable housing solutions, shelters and community projects. Their projects throughout the city of Los Angeles all share a level of design sensibility and beauty not often seen in these types of spaces and provide a model of how to enhance a community by caring for its most vulnerable residents with dignity through design. 


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