It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Michael L. Quinn, FAIA, co-founder of Quinn Evans Architects and a visionary in the practice of architecture and historic preservation.
Mike was much loved and admired within the QEA family. In 1984, he and another University of Michigan graduate, David Evans, launched our firm. He was highly influential in the fields of design, preservation architecture, and urban revitalization; and his many award-winning projects are a testament to his exceptional creativity and professionalism. Mike mentored us, encouraged us, challenged us, and inspired us, and we are privileged to have known him.
Donations can be made to the Michael L. Quinn and David S. Evans Endowed Scholarship, the Michigan Theater, and the Smile Train.
Michael Lee Quinn, FAIA, co-founder of Quinn Evans Architects and long-time champion of historic preservation and urban revitalization, passed away on January 25, 2018. He was 70 years old.
One of the nation’s most accomplished and respected architects, Quinn enjoyed a career that spanned more than 45 years. He and co-founder David S. Evans, FAIA, launched Quinn Evans Architects in 1984, beginning as a two-person practice with offices in Washington, D.C., and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their vision for a preservation-based practice, focusing on meticulous research, design authenticity, economic viability, and long-term sustainability, quickly met with success. Quinn Evans Architects soon earned high-profile historic preservation commissions including the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, the Wayne County Courthouse in Michigan, and the Smithsonian Institution’s Arts and Industries building in Washington, DC. Today, the firm has grown to more than 140 employees and is nationally recognized for its work in the preservation field.
Quinn studied architecture at the University of Michigan and subsequently spent two years with the Peace Corps in Barbados. He continued his academic career studying architecture in the Danish International Studies Program in Copenhagen, then returned to the University of Michigan to earn his master’s degree in architecture. In 1974, while working with the firm of Preservation Urban Design, Inc., he met another Michigan grad, David Evans. Both men held a passion for pursuing urban design and planning initiatives to aid in the revitalization of struggling downtowns, including Detroit. Quinn’s work in this area helped lead in part to the founding of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street program.
A hands-on professional who cared deeply about each project and client, Quinn played a leading role in many notable projects, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey house in Alexandria, Va.; the City Opera House in Traverse City, Mich.; the Wren Building at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.; the Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan; the Colorado State Capitol dome in Denver; the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md.; the Milwaukee Federal Building and Old Courthouse; the Concert Hall at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the U.S. Treasury Building in Washington, D.C.
Quinn served as a peer reviewer for the U.S. General Services Administration’s Design Excellence Program, as a juror for state and national design awards programs, and on the Alumni Society Board of Governors for the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Design. He received the Michigan Historic Preservation Network Lifetime Achievement Award. In recognition of his design accomplishments and decades of contributions to the profession, Quinn also earned the distinction of Fellow in the American Institute of Architects. In 2017, Mike Quinn and David Evans were honored by Quinn Evans Architects with the establishment of the Michael L. Quinn and David S. Evans Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Michigan.