Michál Cohen

Director, Honorary Professor

Michál studied architecture in South Africa and moved to London, setting up Walters & Cohen with Cindy Walters in 1994.

Michál's many completed projects include a wellness centre in the depths of the Bank of England, a gallery in Durban and the refurbishment of Boathouse 4 in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. She is also responsible for many of the practice's education projects, which began in 2003 with designs for an exemplar primary school under the Department for Education's Schools for the Future initiative. Since then, she has visited and researched school design in Italy, Scandinavia, Australia and South Africa to understand best practice in a wider context. She takes a keen interest in government initiatives and policy, as well as how children learn, and her expertise on the subject of design in learning environments is now well established.

Several innovative schools have been completed based on the principles of the exemplar, which were reviewed and revised in 2012 for the multi award-winning Lairdsland Primary School in Glasgow. She led the seven-year project for a new teaching building at St Paul's School in London, which won an AIA UK Award in 2020 and received praise for the calmness of its spaces - clearly designed for learning and interaction - and the quality of light throughout the building. Current projects include innovative new spaces for critical thinking at Wycombe Abbey School and North London Collegiate School.

One of Michál's key skills is the ability to listen to clients and develop their brief rigorously in collaboration with them, translating their needs into a robust design.

In 2012 Cindy and Michál were awarded the inaugural AJ Woman Architect of the Year Award and have been on the judging panel of subsequent awards. Michál regularly examines and lectures at universities, speaks at conferences and judges awards. She enjoys contributing to design review panels, which includes a role as chair for Design South East and many years as an associate for the Design Council. She is a trustee for Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust and in 2020 was made an Honorary Professor of Architecture in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham.

Michál Cohen photograph