The Norton Commons Town Architect



MICHAEL WATKINS ARCHITECT, LLC Architecture & Town Planning

Background. Michael Watkins is the founder and principal of Michael Watkins Architect, LLC, an architecture and town planning firm dedicated to designing and implementing a dynamic public realm. The firm’s work includes the preparation of master plans for neighborhoods, hamlets and town extensions, preparation of design guidelines, various town architect services for Traditional Neighborhood Developments, and leading and participating in urban design charrettes.

Watkins serves as the Town Architect for Norton Commons and has been involved in the planning and design of the community from its inception in the late 1990s.  He also serves as the Town Architect for Whitehall near Wilmington, Delaware.  Watkins collaborates with numerous other New Urbanist firms, among them Urban Design Associates, TortiGallas and Partners, Placemakers and the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community.

In 2007, Watkins left his position as Director of Town Planning with Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company to enroll in the Masters program in Classical Design offered by The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America and the Georgia Institute of Technology. While with DPZ, he opened their Washington, D.C office (1988), where he served as the Town Architect for Kentlands, a 352-acre neo-traditional neighborhood northwest of Washington, D.C, led many charrettes for a wide variety of types on projects, and was a member of design teams for over sixty towns and neighborhoods in the United States and abroad.

Watkins is one of several contributors to Andres Duany’s SmartCode, a zoning ordinance that legalizes the development of traditional neighborhoods. In 2003 he edited and produced The Guidebook to the Old and New Urbanism in the Baltimore / Washington Region. Mr. Watkins speaks on the subject of traditional architecture and urban design at universities and conferences in the U.S. and abroad. He is a member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the American Institute of Architects, the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, the New Urban Guild and the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Watkins’ work in Norton Commons. In his capacity as Town Architect of Norton Commons, Watkins’ overarching goal is to assist the Norton Commons Development Team in the planning and development of a well-designed new urban neighborhood that fosters a close sense of community. To that end, he helps review lot design and layout, plans civic spaces, reviews building architecture, educates builders and buyers on principles of New Urbanism and classical architecture, and creates and implements the Norton Commons Design Code. As a classically-trained architect, Watkins’ appreciation for timeless architecture and smart design is reflected by the seamless, striking streetscapes that can be seen throughout Norton Commons.


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