Michael OBrien


Quick Information


  • Department of Architecture
  • Center for Housing and Urban Development
  • Center for Health Systems and Design
  • Center for Heritage Conservation


Michael O‚’Brien is an architect and professor of architecture at Texas A&M University. He has been a guest curator for the National Building Museum, an on-screen expert for the Discovery Channel, and former president of the Architectural Research Centers Consortium.

His research topics are: housing, the historical development of the light-wood frame in America, innovations in light wood framing in Freedom Colony Churches, the design of affordable housing, modular housing and mobile-home based housing. His scholarship on information flows and industrialized control methods for contemporary housing is published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

He has worked with students and faculty from Marketing, Industrial Design, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Building Construction and Architecture on wearable/ubiquitous computing solutions for construction safety, undertaken extensive study into the architectural roles of the ornamental propositions by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, The Progressive Era New Towns of John Nolen, and has developed prototypical designs for shipping-container based Homeless Transitional Centers and container based portable clinics for the Rio Grande Valley.

Professor O’Brien teaches undergraduate and graduate design studios and lectures on the interrelationships between architectural ideas and construction. He holds degrees in architecture from North Dakota State University and Virginia Tech.



North Dakota State University


North Dakota State University


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Scholarly Interests

Freedom Colonies of Colorado County, Texas
Freedmen’s Churches of Texas
Historical Development of Light Wood Framing and Associated Systems
Information Integration as Enabling Technology for Systems Integration
Affordable Housing Design and Construction
Progressive-Era Town Design and Planning
Organic and Inorganic Structures in Physical Planning and Urban Design
Organic and Inorganic Structures in Ornament and Architectural Space
Ubiquitous Computing and Assistive Environments
Post-Disaster Housing Systems