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Irvine, CA—Please meet Michael Henning, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Construction Administrator and Associate Principal, in our Irvine office. Michael has been with Studio W Architects for more than 10 years and was instrumental in building our Southern California practice. With 50+ years of architectural and building experience, he has made a profound impact on the industry and is a valued resource on the Studio W team. A few of Michael’s significant projects include the reconstruction of both Lincoln Elementary School and Marshall Elementary School for Anaheim Elementary School District, Long Beach City College Nursing & Health Technology Center Modernization, Pioneer Valley High School Performing Arts Center, the Measure Q bond program for Huntington Beach City School District and multiple campus modernizations with Buena Park School District. Learn more about Michael …

What is your hometown, or where do you live currently and what do you like about it?

I call Laguna Beach my hometown, having lived there for 23 years with my wife, Gillian, and our family. Laguna is a special jewel in Orange County, an artist-centered town, with what many might refer to as weird folks, of which I am proud to be one!!!

What is your favorite restaurant or food?

I love The Deck in Laguna Beach. It is on the beach and has great seafood and cold ale.

Huntington Beach City School District Measure Q Projects
Left: Smith Elementary School Administration & Classroom Building
Center: Moffett Elementary School Modernization
Right: Dwyer Middle School Gymnasium & STEM Academy


What is your favorite song, movie or book?

I love actor Vin Diesel and the “Fast and Furious” movies—great cars and so much drama!!! Lately my go to movie has been “An Unexpected Journey,” a Hobbit movie, as it paralleled mine and my family’s 7-month sojourn to Lake Arrowhead during the pandemic months. I love Billy Eilish and Sam Smith.

Who is your hero or a person that inspires you?

My children inspire me!!!

What is a typical weekend for you (i.e. what are your hobbies, interests, etc.)?

I love being with my family. I am very fortunate to be on this beautiful planet at this time, with the beautiful vision I have of a great future for my children and all humankind. My view ahead differs greatly from the common tragic scenario. This is the best time of my life and only continues to get better. My best advice would be to limit time spent, or even stop watching altogether, network news.  The last network news I allowed in my life was in 1975, and I can say I have not missed anything and in fact have better vision for having done so.

 Pioneer Valley High School Performing Arts Center  |  Santa Maria Joint Union High School District


How did you find architecture as a career?

My aunt was a school principal and sent me to the school counselor in 12th grade because I had no idea for a future career. I was given a very brief test that said I should be an architect, and the rest is history!

What is a building and/or destination that inspires you and why?

The Boston City Hall. I have always been a fan of expressed concrete.

What is your most memorable project and why?

When I was 26 years old, I won a design award for the Dublin City Hall in Ohio. I prepared all the construction documents, including all the architectural, structural steel design and MEP plans. There was only one RFI during construction.

What is your favorite aspect of working at Studio W Architects?

I love being in the field and working out solutions with the owner and contractors. I’m passionate about and energized by creating teams with a cohesive common goal of success. I am also now loving doing marketing and bringing in new work, this is a new venture for me that I really enjoy.

What project have you worked on at Studio W Architects that made you grow the most professionally? Why?

I would have to say that taking over the Anaheim Elementary School District projects when I was initially hired with the firm. Managing these projects while learning the ropes of a new company was a great adventure and allowed me to work in a much-expanded role with both the client and this firm than I had previously experienced.

Lincoln Elementary School Reconstruction  |  Anaheim Elementary School District