Tim Michael is a native Memphian who grew up appreciating the flat lands of the region and the creative freedom they nurture. Having developed a love for drawing and building at an early age, Michael used this creative passion to pursue an education in architecture administered by such respected Memphis architects as Raymond Martin, Mel O’Brien and Francis Mah.
Following his graduate studies at University of Virginia, he worked for Texas architect Gary Cunningham, from whom he learned the value of rigor in design, humility of character and how to treat clients who place their faith — and dollars — in your hands.
Returning to Memphis with his wife in 2002, Michael spent the next 12 years with a local firm while building a family and teaching architecture at the University of Memphis. In 2014, he started his own practice, designshop, with a focus on design excellence and close, personal service.
First job: Part-timer at a mom-and-pop hardware store, Maxwell Hardware
Education: B.S. in Engineering Technology, University of Memphis; Master of Architecture, University of Virginia
Residence: A modern glass and metal box in Munford
Business philosophy: Listen to the clients, translate those ideas into meaningful architecture, provide personal service and finish strong.
Best way to keep competitive edge: Stay in the game. Constantly educate yourself as to the practices of those whom you deem leaders in your industry.
Guiding principle: Treat people right, and have fun doing it.
Yardstick of success: When clients walk into a completed space for the first time and indicate it’s the space that they never knew they wanted
Goal yet to be achieved: Designing our first major civic structure
Best business decision: Treating each client as the unique individual or entity they are and capitalizing upon this oneness to create highly tailored architecture
Worst business decision: Saying “yes” to clients when we should have said “no”
Toughest business decision: We want to work with everyone, thus it’s difficult to say no on rare occasions.
Biggest missed opportunity: Not having the confidence in ourselves to start our design firm sooner
Mentor: Gary Cunningham, a great architect and a kind soul
Word that best describes you: Had to get help on this one: studious
Like best about job: Working closely with people to create beautiful buildings and atmospheres that enrich their lives
Like least about job: Invoicing
Pet peeve: Barnwood. Enough already.
Most important lesson learned: It takes a good client and a good architect working together to make good architecture.
Person most interested in meeting: Michael Heizer
Most respected competitor: I respect those who are pushing the boundaries of design and treating clients right in the process.
Three greatest passions: Family, architecture and art
First choice for a new career: Any jobs on the beach
Favorite quote:“Things take time.” — Leonard Bergen, high school physics teacher
Most influential book: The Bible
Favorite cause: Teaching kids, whether it be youth sports, Sunday school or university students
Favorite movie:“The Shining”
Favorite restaurant: So many good places in Memphis. I’m loving the Messy Crow sandwich at the Dirty Crow Inn these days.
Favorite vacation spot: Vals, Switzerland
Favorite way to spend free time: Building furniture in the woodshop
Automobile: Toyota Tacoma