Michael Moran is an architectural photographer in New York.
I was born in California but spent most of my childhood overseas, in Burma, Turkey, Colombia and Pakistan. My father was an engineering geologist who worked on hydroelectric dams. We eventually returned to California, where I studied biology and sculpture at the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
My first job out of college was working on the design and fabrication of a diorama at the Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara, where I developed a fascination with the analysis and presentation of information. I decided to study exhibition design but applied to graduate programs in architecture as well, thinking that an architectural education would provide a strong design foundation. I received a MArch from UCLA in 1982.
While in graduate school I worked part time in the studio of Frank Gehry, and I continued working there full time after I graduated. While in Gehry’s studio I was asked, with no prior experience, to photograph the models I was making. I discovered an aptitude and a joy in this work and quickly taught myself photography. With Gehry’s encouragement, I began to photograph buildings in construction, then the completed buildings. I bought a large format camera and was soon taking photographs that were published in the architectural press worldwide, even as I continued (with diminishing enthusiasm) to work as an architect.
In 1985 I moved to New York City to begin a full-time practice in architectural photography. I’ve been fortunate to work with many talented architects, designers, and editors. My relationship with Toshio Nakamora of A+U began with his publication of my photographs of Gehry’s work. We collaborated on books on New York architecture of the 20th Century and Philip Johnson’s Glass House. I photographed the work of Roberto Burle Marx for an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and have published books on the work of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, John Johansen, and Rafael Moneo.
The design of this weekend family retreat on Shelter Island, NY responds to the location’s wistful beauty. Mature trees, hedgerows and rolling lawns extend to a narrow sandy beach and the water beyond.
Chalet is a renovated, re-envisioned ski house located slope side at a mountain resort in Vermont. The existing 1960’s home, unoccupied and mold-riddled, was demolished down to the foundation and first floor framing.
At the end of the 19th Century a private beach community was established from over 100 acres of coastal farmland. It was here that a family with a passion for art decided to build a home for their family
For the client, a South African high-tech software entrepreneur and Astronaut (the second civilian to go to outerspace with the Russian Cosmonauts), create a low-tech architectural solution for Think Tank research and conference space
Terrapin House is a single-family private residence for a large extended family located in Woodstock, Vermont. The project straddles the edge of a forest and open mountain meadow on a steep rock band that delineates the two landscape features.
Lathhouse is a regionally inspired home conceptually influenced by the local agricultural history combined with contemporary programming, modernist convention, sustainable building systems and materials, and a reverence for vernacular form.
In this loft residence, the shell of the space is articulated by the exposure of its limed brick enclosure and sprinklers and overhead utilities. All added partitions are articulated in a white lacquer panel system by differentiating vocabularies of old and new.
The objective in this large scale prewar Manhattan Apartment with a long dark narrow succession of closed rooms is to create a series of organized open spaces that take advantage of south and west exposures to light and incorporate views of Manhattan’s Central Park.
Oriented in relation to the rolling hills of its site and views of surrounding mountain ranges, the Sleeve house is conceived as two elongated volumes – a smaller one sleeved into a larger – sitting on a cast-in-place concrete base.
An intrinsic connection to, and respect for, nature defines this Montauk weekend residence at every glance. The owners purchased two adjacent lots that were sold as one, a rarity to find in the area. Yet instead of building one oversized house, RYA created two separate structures — a main house and a guest house/garage — on the property.
This 4,500 Square Feet house was designed and built for a family of four. It is situated at the intersection of two large farm fields and a small naturally occurring basin in Sagaponack, New York. The farms result in large watersheds. Coupled with the Basin, the site becomes quite topographically challenging.
An active family with a love of boating wanted a home on Chesapeake Bay, surrounded by the maritime charm of Annapolis harbor. These traditional materials, layered with modern insulation, glazing, and building systems create a high-performance structure, contributing to the LEED Certification of the Acton Cove house.
In a sleek, modernist tower adjacent to Manhattan’s Hudson River, create a floor-through residence without compromising the architectural integrity of the iconoclastic building and it’s four exposures of glass while responding to the shifted geometry along the water’s edge of the river beyond.
The objective in this pre-war Manhattan apartment is to create a cohesive plan to unify and open the disjointed spaces while utilizing the light and views available of New York’s Central Park and Reservoir.
In a dark closed plan with a centrally located elevator and stair core in a 4500 square foot prewar apartment overlooking the New York City Reservoir, open up the spaces to have a connection to the views and light.
Combine the two top floors of a Manhattan co-op building with outdoor space, and convert into a seamless duplex penthouse. The cubic nature of the volume created about the opened up slabs emphasizes the verticality of these two floors so unique to this unit.