Michael J. Bell, FAIA, is a native of New Orleans and a graduate of Tulane University, where he achieved a Master of Architecture degree. After four years of architectural practice in Dallas, Michael was drawn back to the city he loves, where he earned a Juris Doctor degree, also from Tulane University. Michael then embarked on an architectural career informed by the premise that architects’ clients benefit tremendously when their architect understands the contractual and legal environment in which their design and construction projects are realized. Michael founded Bell Architecture in 1993, making it his goal to provide organized, efficient and high-quality professional services for clients seeking to create distinctive custom homes. Michael is living his dream, having built a successful firm by doing what he loves to do.
While achieving his professional goals, Michael has consistently and enthusiastically given back to the architectural profession, including as AIA (American Institute of Architects) New Orleans’ post-Katrina president, and since 2009 as a member and chairman of AIA National’s Documents Committee, which writes the AIA contracts commonly used in the design and construction industry. Michael’s legal background and work on contracts have proven invaluable in his service to his clients. In 2015 the AIA elevated Michael to Fellowship, an award bestowed upon “architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession.”
Michael also works tirelessly to improve his community. For decades he has served and continues to serve the Louisiana Children’s Museum, St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, Trinity Episcopal School and Tulane University, among others. Through Bell Architecture, Michael has provided pro bono services to Preservation Resource Center, Felicity Redevelopment, Community Sailing Center of New Orleans and Habitat for Humanity, for whom Bell Architecture has provided architectural services for over 500 homes.
Michael calls home both old Covington on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, and the Lafayette Square Historic District of New Orleans, where he also offices. These and other nearby neighborhoods are rich with architectural treasures, and they provide much of the inspiration for Michael’s architecture, be it traditional, contemporary, or somewhere in between.
Michael is married and has three adult children.
Michael’s professional affiliations: