Summer Intern Series: Michael Taylor

For the past 18 years, David M. Schwarz Architects has maintained a travel fellowship program which offers undergraduate and graduate architecture students an opportunity to travel and intern in our office. Michael Taylor is a 2018 architecture intern from The Catholic University of America (CUA) School of Architecture and Planning and will be receiving his Master of Architecture degree from CUA in 2018. Keep reading to learn more about Michael Taylor.


Favorite place to eat in DC: Donburi in Adams Morgan

Favorite building in DC: the National Building Museum.

Favorite place to hang out in DC: FDR Memorial

What music are you listening to? It’s the exact same as what I was listening to 10 years ago. Stuff like The Killers, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, there’s some Fall Out Boy still hanging out in there from the middle school days.

Favorite book: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Do you have any special or fun skills and/or talents? I am a self-taught African drummer. I play the djembe—it’s an hourglass-shaped drum that you hold between your legs and play with your hands.


What are you currently working on?

I’m currently doing a feasibility study for JBG Smith. We are working with a site on South Capital St and M St and test-fitting different office layouts, massing studies, trying to maximize the site space. We’ve sent out some things and are waiting to hear back, and we’re currently doing some elevation studies of the plans.

What is something you have done during your time at DMSAS that you had never done or tried before?

I almost used CAD as my main program, which I had never done before. I exclusively use Revit in my design work; it’s just what I’m accustomed to and what I got good at in school. CAD is still very strange to me.

What do you hope to gain from your time at DMSAS?

I was part of the studio in the fall taught by DMSAS and I saw the work they did, saw a bit of their process and got really interested in that and their ability to generate iterations and use precedent to drive their designs. I’m hoping to help guide my own abilities in that field. The reason I looked for jobs in DC this summer is that I wanted to get a feel for that urban vibe, that pace of life, which is a little more exciting than where I’m from in upstate New York.

What about your time working at DMSAS has surprised or impressed you the most?

A lot of the watercolor renderings that Jeffrey Loman does are very unique and very alluring, so that’s been really cool to see his process and what he can do. The sheer amount of skill that he has is baffling at times. I know that he’s been doing it for quite a long time, but even still it’s always good to see what he works with.

Why do you study architecture?

In the beginning it was an idea I had as a kid that I stuck with long enough to do it in college. The longer I’ve been with it, the more I’ve learned about myself. I have always enjoyed problem solving and I have always enjoyed the arts, so I think this spoke to me as a good marriage of those ideas.

If you weren’t studying architecture, what would you be doing?

I think I’d really like to be a chef.

What techniques do you most enjoy using to document architecture—photos, sketches, watercolors, 3D models, etc.?

I like to do a lot of hand-sketching, just quick, rough stuff overall and then I like the more methodical crafting techniques as well. That’s been a lot of fun since I learned that. It’s very cathartic in a way, being at a drafting board and drawing lines and seeing it come together.