Michael Sorkin, the architect, urbanist, theorist, author, and director emeritus of Graduate Urban Design Program of the City College of New York (CCNY), has passed away after contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). His death was confirmed by fellow CCNY staff and unfortunately marks what could be the first U.S. loss of life from the pandemic in the architecture world.
Sorkin was born in 1948 in Washington, D.C., and went on to receive a bachelor’s from the University of Chicago in 1970 and a Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974. Michael Sorkin Studio was formed in the 1980s in New York City, and in 2005, Sorkin founded the nonprofit Terreform to further urban research.
Other than the research and built projects Sorkin’s studios produced (most recently Michael Sorkin Studio was a finalist in the 2019 Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC competition), Sorkin was perhaps most known broadly for his prolific writing. Since the 1980s, when Sorkin was the architecture critic for the Village Voice, he contributed critiques, opinion pieces, urbanist musings, and more to numerous outlets including The Architectural Review, Architectural Record, The Nation, and AN, among others. His contributions as an editor are too numerous to list in full, and last year the AIA awarded Sorkin the 2019 Collaborative Achievement Award for his 40-plus years of helping to diversify the field of design.
This is breaking news, and AN will follow this announcement with a full obituary in the coming days.