Mark Nickita cofounded the firm Archive DS 20 years ago in Detroit, with the inspirational goal of developing urban centers as more people friendly environments.  Not traditional architects, Mark and his colleagues are involved in a diverse practice, from architectural design to urban design and master planning.  Their projects include a wide range of mixed use, adaptive reuse, renovation, and new infill projects – mostly in urban settings.  Signature work includes the Canfield Lofts in Detroit (found in the AIA Guide book), the Vinton Building on Woodward, an adaptive reuse of a 1900s Albert Kahn structure, and the award winning Far East Side Master Plan for Detroit.

Mark was also involved with several urban design projects for Toronto, and a team of professionals that developed a planning strategy with the Governor of Mississippi to reestablish 70 miles of coastline after Katrina hit.

Mark has spent tremendous time and energy traveling to study urban environments globally in over 350 cities to understand the ways cities work and how their architecture and urban environment developed.  He is intrigued by the impact of culture – history, politics, and social conditions – on the development of the world’s urban centers.  Because he has spent his career as a student, continually learning how things are done, he has a distinctive global perspective on projects and insight into solutions.

This has been a tremendous benefit for him in his Planning Board and Mayoral roles with the City of Birmingham.  It is much easier to promote an idea when it has been done elsewhere, and you’ve seen it.  This perspective enables Mark to confidently recommend design ideas to solve challenges faced by the City.

Serving in public leadership positions with this depth of understanding of the built environment demonstrates how architects can have a great impact on our cities as they continue to grow and evolve.

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