School of Architecture College of Design

Thomas Fisher, Professor and Director of the Metropolitan Design Center

Thomas Fisher

Professor, Director of the Metropolitan Design Center, and Dayton Hudson Chair in Uban Design


Telephone: 612-624-1013

Office: 1 Rapson Hall

Thomas Fisher


Thomas Fisher, a graduate of Cornell University in architecture and Case Western Reserve University in intellectual history, was previously the Editorial Director of Progressive Architecture magazine. Recognized in 2005 as the fifth most published writer about architecture in the United States, he has written 9 books, over 50 book chapters or introductions, and over 400 articles in professional journals and major publications. Named a top-25 design educator four times by Design Intelligence, he has lectured at 36 universities and over 150 professional and public meetings. He has written extensively about architectural design, practice, and ethics. His newest book, Designing our Way to a Better World (Minnesota) will come out in Spring 2016, and he is working on a book on “On-Demand Cities.”


Cornell University-Bachelors of Architecture, Ithaca, NY

Case Western Reserve University-Masters of Arts, Intellectual History


  • ARCH 5711--Spring 2016--Theories and Principles of Urban Design
  • ARCH 5450--Fall 2013, 2014--Topics in Architectural Theory
  • ARCH 5411--Fall 2003-2008, 2010-2012--Principles of Design Theory

Research Expertise

  • Urban Design
  • Ethics
  • Theory
  • Criticism




  • "Designing our Way to a better World", University of Minnesota Press, 2016
  • "Designing to Avoid Disaster: The Nature of Fracture-Critical Design", Routledge, 2013
  • "The Invisible Element of Place", David Salmela Architect, University of Minnesota Press, 2011
  • "Ethics for Architects, Dilemmas of Professional Practice", Princeton Architectural Press, 2010
  • "Architectural Design and Ethics: Tools for Survival", The Architectural Press / Elsevier, 2008 (co=editor with Jack Nasar and Wolfgang Preiser, winner of EDRA book award)
  • "Lake/Flato Architects", Rockport Press, 2005
  • "Salmela Architect", University of Minnesota Press, 2005
  • "In the Scheme of Things: Alternative Views of the Practice of Architecture", University of Minnesota Press, 2000


Honors & Awards


  • Minnesota Magazine and Publishing Association: Best Feature (2010), Best Regular Column (2010)
  • American Business Press Neal Award (1986, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996)
  • National Magazine Award, Finalist (1995)
  • Penton Publishing, Chairman's Award (1993), President's Award (1992)
  • National Association of Home Builders, Golden Hammer Award (1984)



School of Architecture
145 Rapson Hall
89 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-5743


Contact Information

College of Design

Saint Paul Offices

32 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-1922

[directions and maps]

Minneapolis Offices

101 Rapson Hall, 89 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-7525

[directions and maps]

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