Dossier: Michael Larche II, Associate AIA

Meet the 2021 NOMA Pittsburgh Board Secretary

By Posted on February 18, 2021

Name: Michael K. Larche II

DRS Architects

My family consists of my mother and father, Leslie & Michael, and two little brothers, Matthew & Mark. I also have a Boxer named Joe and a black and white cat named Haru.

Years in practice: 5

Education: Bachelor of Architecture from Tuskegee University

Your first job: My first official job was at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport escorting minors to their flights. If you want to get technical, my very first job was creating flavored, frozen ice cups, called “Huckabucks,” with my brothers and selling them to the neighborhood kids for 50 cents a cup.

What’s the most annoying thing architects do? We, including me, overanalyze everything! I love how precise and detailed we are, but if I could just turn that part of my brain off when it isn’t needed, I surely would.

Favorite tool (can be digital, drafting, physical,…): I love using digital modeling/photo editing software to give a project the breath of life. Sure, I use pen and paper like all designers, but my favorite is showing a client a rendering of their building or space-to-be and seeing their reactions. The goal seems more attainable to those who can’t see it in a sketch or in their heads like we do.

Favorite building: My favorite building, although it is still conceptual, is the Crescent Moon Tower in Dubai. The concept drawings and renderings are breathtaking, and I cannot wait to see it finally constructed.

Favorite outdoor space: If there is a park with a hiking trail, I will be there. I love getting away from technology from time to time, and a nice hiking trail like the Ohiopyle State Park trails are the best place to escape to.

Architect you’d like to have a drink with: If I had the opportunity, I would have a drink with Robert R. Taylor. He laid the foundation for Tuskegee University’s architecture program and is immortalized with stories of his works on the campus. I never pass up an opportunity to say the buildings I studied in and passed through were designed and constructed by the students attending the school using the materials from the grounds the campus stood on. I would love to pick his brain on his views on architecture and the path he walked to become the first accredited African American architect.

If you hadn’t become an architect, what would you have been? I was actually considering studying Forensic Science. (Too many school nights watching NCIS.) That field requires the same, if not greater, level of attention and detail as architecture which would have been perfect for me, but architecture showed a little more promise since I was always designing something.

What’s on your iPod/Pandora/Spotify? To be quite honest, I haven’t seen my iPod in almost a decade, but I have been shuffling between artists like Gavin Turek, Esperanza Spalding, Durand Bernarr, and Ledisi. I also came across an album I grew up with entitled “Songs of the Beatles” by Sarah Vaughan. If I had that album physically in my hands, it would be worn out from the number of times I play it.

The secret to my success: Listening and asking questions. I don’t claim to know everything about architecture or building systems, but I am also not afraid to ask for clarification or do research myself. By taking an initial back seat, I’m able to see what to do the next time a similar situation comes around.

Advice to young architects: Do not shy away from asking questions. The experienced architects and other design professionals are here to guide us to licensure and pass along their knowledge. You should take full advantage of the opportunity to learn from everyone around you.

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