Contribution to the profession

As an architect, teacher, and community activist, Tom Roberts combines professional practice and academic theory with passion to stimulate positive change to our communities. Rooted in the metropolitan Detroit area, Tom is a life long resident of the City of Wyandotte. He has followed in the footsteps of three generations with his commitment and determination to establish relationships and provide guidance to assure his communities' quality of life. His personal dedication has reached beyond the downriver region to include active participation on the Detroit Yacht Club Strategic Planning Committee and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network Board of Directors. The combined experiences have strengthened Tom's ability to raise awareness and advocate for quality architecture, urban design, and historic preservation in his local community, the City of Detroit, and the State of Michigan.

Tom joined Detroit based Schervish Vogel Merz (SVM) in 1988 following his freshman year studying architecture at the University of Detroit. While at SVM Tom was privileged to work on the east riverfront landmarks that included Chene Park & ampitheater and St. Aubin Park & marina. In addition, Tom was as junior designer on the Harmonie Park master plan and adaptive reuse of numerous building in the district. The diverse experience proved extremely beneficial for a young architect to establish a foundation which included urban design, landscape architecture, and interior design. During this time Tom developed an understanding and knowledge of the master architects of Detroit; Albert Kahn, Erro Saarinen, Minoru Yamasaki, and William Kessler. This exposure early in Tom's professional career instilled an endearing appreciation for the past and inspired him to dream about the future.

Following graduation in 1994 Tom joined Hoskins Scott & Partners in Boston, Massachusetts. His experience with HS&P provided a comprehensive understanding of the practice of architecture, while exposing him to the cultural influences of the east coast, the educational institutions of Harvard and MIT, and the architecture of Walter Gropius and HH Richardson. Urban spaces such as Boston City Hall, the Christian Science Center, and Faneuil Hall Market Place provided a context that inspired Tom to discover who he is and what he wanted to do in architecture. The results enabled him to confidently return to the architectural community of Detroit with a vision to make a difference and affect the way people think about the spaces and places that inhabit their lives.

Since returning to Michigan in 1997, Tom has held positions with various Detroit area design firms. Although each firm had their own unique culture, Tom consistently integrated his diverse experiences and design sensibilities to motivate and inspire colleagues and clients to challenge themselves to establish expectations for quality design. Most significantly were the six years with Kessler Associates, later known as  Kessler | Francis | Cardoza Architects. Working directly with Bill Kessler, Ed Francis, and Jim Cardoza, Tom quickly engaged in the balance that existed between modernism and historic preservation and embraced the philosophy that “creativity is more the product of diversity than it is of repetition.” This influence has fortified a design process and reinforced Tom's desire to give back to his community. In 20 years of practicing architecture, Tom's work has married contemporary architecture of our time with the timeless and historic architecture of the past. To further acknowledge Tom's commitment to historic preservation, the State of Michigan Historic Preservation Office certified him as an historic architect in 2007.

Parallel to the practice of architecture is his teaching position at the University of Detroit Mercy as an adjunct professor of design. Tom returned to his alma mater in 1999 with the idea that practice and theory could be integrated. He views teaching as an extension of the office and makes every attempt to expose students to real life projects and experiences while reinforcing the need for creative out of the box thinking that the academic environment fosters. In 2003, Tom's design studio was able to  integrate all three areas of interest: practice | theory | community, when they developed a comprehensive restoration master plan for the Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, Michigan. Prior to the student involvement, a program had been established under Tom's leadership while working for K|F|C. At the conclusion of the semester, students were provided the  opportunity to exhibit their project within the 120 year old historic opera house. This experience provided students a “stage” to meet with real clients and real residents that were enthusiastic about the possibilities of a real project.  

In the midst of the ups and downs of daily office life, Tom's ability to embrace and juggle the demands of family, teaching, civic and professional activities with equal vigor and optimism is inspiring. The energy in which he engages the assorted life extensions is a sincere desire to participate, contribute and bean active part of all of his diverse communities.

Professional Education
     Bachelor of Architecture, University of Detroit Mercy, 1994

Professional Experience
     Thomas Roberts Architect, Wyandotte, MI 2003-P
     University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture, Detroit, MI 1999-P
     GunnLevine Architects, Detroit, MI 2006-2009
     Smith Group, Detroit, MI 2005-2006
     McIntosh Poris Associates, Birmingham, MI 2003-2005
     Kessler|Francis|Cardoza Architects, Detroit, MI 1997-2003
     Luckenbach|Ziegelman&Partners, Birmingham, MI 1996-1997
     Hoskins Scott&Partners, Boston, MA 1994-1996
     Schervish Vogel Merz, Detroit, MI 1988-1994

Project Experience
     Argonaut Building Master Plan, Detroit MI
     Armory Arts Project, Jackson MI
     Alvah N. Belding Memorial Library Expansion, Belding MI
     Broderick Tower Façade Improvement, Detroit, MI
     Christ Church Detroit, Detroit, MI
     Detroit Artist Market, Detroit MI
     Detroit Golf Club Restoration, Detroit MI
     Detroit Yacht Club Master Plan, Detroit MI
     Exeter St. Theater, Boston MA
     Fire Station #3 Adaptive Reuse, Wyandotte MI
     Flint Institute of Arts Master Plan, Flint MI
     Franklin Hills Country Club Restoration, Farmington Hills MI
     Garden City Hospital Surgery Expansion, Garden City MI
     Great Lakes Maritime Academy Master Plan, Belle Isle MI
     Harmonie Center, Detroit, MI
     Henry Ford Estate Restoration, Dearborn MI
     Howell Opera House Master Plan, Howell, MI
     Immaculate Heart of Mary Campus Master Plan, Monroe MI
     Lebowsky Center Restoration, Owosso MI
     Masonic Temple Arts Center, Wyandotte MI
     Memorial Healthcare Ambulatory Care Center, Owosso MI
     Michigan Theater Master Plan, Jackson MI
     Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend IN
     Oak Street Plaza Mixed Use Development, Wyandotte MI
     Roberts Residence, Wyandotte MI
     Saint Anne de Detroit Shrine, Detroit MI
     Science Math Middle School @ Detroit Science Center
     Tibbits Opera House, Coldwater MI
     Trillium Theater Evaluation, Wyandotte MI
     University of Detroit Mercy SOA, Detroit MI
     University of Michigan Hospital, Ann Arbor MI
     Water Works Park Museum, Detroit MI
     Willow Tree Lofts, Wyandotte MI
     Worcester Medical Center, Worcester MA

Professional Registration
     State of Michigan, 2003-P
     American Institute of Architects, 2003-P
     National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1997-P

Memberships | Affiliations
     Michigans Historic Preservation Network, 2001-P
     Belle Isle Alliance, 2003-2004
     Detroit Yacht Club Strategic Planning Committee, 2002-2004
     Michigans Historic Preservation Network Board, 2001-2006
           Easement Committee, 2008-P

           Board of Directors Emeritus, 2006-P
           Executive Committee Member, 2001-2006
           Board of Directors’ Secretary, 2005-2006
           Michigan Lighthouse Alliance Representative, 2003-2005
           MHPNFirst Annual Golf Outing Co-Chair, 2003
     City of Wyandotte, Wyandotte, Michigan
           “Cool Cities” Co-Chair, 2004-2006
           Roberts Resident, 2004
           Fire Station #3 Adaptive Reuse - HIP Offices, 2005
           Masonic Temple Arts Center, 2007
           McKinely School Outdoor Learning Garden, 2008

     University of Detroit Mercy Alumni Faculty Exhibit, 2008
     Tibbits Opera House Student Exhibit, 2003
     University of Detroit Mercy Alumni Faculty Exhibit, 2002

     AIA Detroit Young Architect, 2008
     AIA Michigan Young Architect, 200


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