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Los Angeles, CA

Michael Ellars



  • Architecture
  • K-12 Schools
  • Mixed-Use
  • Senior Associate
Michael Ellars
  • Senior Associate
"There is something special about walking through a building on which I worked and seeing how the actual users of the space experience the design, and the way it impacts the public at large.”

Michael is an architect, an accessibility specialist, a building code guru, a construction document technologist, and a sustainable design professional with diverse experience in education design. An innate problem solver, he brings to his projects a comprehensive understanding of architecture that feature deep roots in the technical aspects of design and construction. As a passionate advocate for environmental stewardship, Michael believes designers have two major responsibilities: first to demonstrate both the long term and immediate value of sustainable design, and second to push beyond “checkbox sustainability” to the realms of restorative and regenerative design.

Michael describes his approach to accessible design as sympathetic with a healthy dose of pragmatism, always pushing for universal design while acknowledging the inherent limitations of design and construction. His interest in accessible design was influenced by his father’s declining mobility, which heightened his awareness of the real-world challenges faced by persons with disabilities, and the opportunity for accessible design to enhance one's personal experience of the built environment.

Michael frequently teaches educational seminars covering architectural topics including licensing, building codes, and construction-related accessibility regulations. These seminars are presented both for DLR Group offices and for local AIA and CSI chapters, as well as the series of free architectural licensing classes known as “NotLY” (Not Licensed Yet). Michael also is an instructor at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture, his alma mater, where he teaches courses in the undergraduate Building Science program.

“Being an architect alone is not enough; simply being a member of the AIA is not enough. A true ‘citizen architect’ gets involved with the profession, volunteers for service, and helps mentor the next generation of industry experts.”