My Story

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Michael Riscica Coffee

Architecture has been a passion of mine for the past 15 years.  It all started in 1999 when I was 20 years old. I had accepted a job doing millwork drawings for an interiors company with zero drafting experience. I had a ton of fun learning Autocad and working with the Designers.  The deeper I got into learning drafting, I began to realize that I could think, draw, and very easily navigate a 3-dimensional environment inside my head, on a piece of paper, and on a computer.

This job quickly landed me an intern position at a high-end residential architect’s office. I started attending community college studying Architectural Drafting, which led me to getting accepted into a design school to study architecture. I attended architecture school for 2 years at the Boston Architecture Center in Boston and finished my degree at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury and Manhattan, NY.

I think I had the most fun in my entire life attending architecture school.  By the time I had gotten there, I felt that this was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I let architecture school take over my entire life and a million wonderful things happened in the process.

While I was at NYIT, I spent a summer abroad in Italy and Switzerland, bicycled 11 weeks from Virginia to Oregon, traveled all over Spain and Portugal, went to Germany for a 4 week workshop, and spent quite a bit of time in Venice, Italy where I chose to do my thesis project.

Immediately after graduation, my 2 best friends and I embarked on a coast to coast bicycle ride to celebrate finishing architecture school. Six months before we left (during my thesis) my one friend proposed staying on the west coast after the trip was over. I immediately fell in love with the idea of leaving NYC and starting over fresh in a new city. After a very short discussion we decided on Portland, Oregon. Well…. Mainly because it was a big cycling town and all we wanted was to ride bicycles.

I arrived in Portland, Oregon in September of 2007 on my bicycle. Shortly after arriving I accepted a position at Merryman Barnes Architects, a small architecture firm in the Pearl District. When the recession hit they managed to keep me busy working on various projects for the City of Portland.

I worked on many great projects at Merryman Barnes Architects. I did a beach house on the Oregon Coast, several residential projects, various small projects for the City of Portland and Washington County. I worked for 3 years on a project for PSU redesigning the plazas outside of the Smith Center, one of the busiest buildings on campus.  I also spent 2 years working on a new building for Portland Parks and Recreation.

After 4 years with Merryman Barnes I left to accept a position at the City of Portland as a Project Manager, where I am currently employed today. The City hired me to help as an Owner’s Representative for the Parks building, that I had been working on as Designer for prior at Merryman Barnes Architects.

Every single day I have a ton of fun going to work at the Portland Building. As a Project Manager for the City, I get to play to role of the Owner more often than the Designer. I help manage and maintain the City of Portland’s portfolio or building and structures. The many agencies are always shifting and changing and there seems to be a never ending list of work to be done. I have recently completed several projects for the Portland Police Bureau and have had the pleasure of working with many talented local Architects, Engineers and Contractors.

I became a licensed Architect in the State of Oregon in December 2013. After finishing my licensing requirements, I have channeled a lot of energy into studying and working on residential design projects. My love for working on houses and living spaces is what helped me discover my love for architecture. Even though I have the best job I could ever ask for with the City of Portland, residential projects are a much different change of pace and scale from commercial projects for various governmental agencies.

I started this blog to give myself a place to share information about:

  • What is going on in my life.
  • My thoughts about architecture.
  • Educate everyone about design, construction, architecture and the process.
  • Share books, products, things that are amazing and making life better.
  • Portland, Oregon and how much I love this City.

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I would love to hear from anyone who has any comments questions or thinks that I may be able to help them in anyway. Feel free to email me at MikeRiscica@gmail.com or leave a comment anywhere on this site.

About the author

Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect who lives in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever. He is passionate about helping Young Architects change the world. In his free time, Michael likes to take very long bicycle rides across America. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.