Thursday, March 7, 2019
Press Release

Michael Lubbers, AIA, Joins Ghafari as Director of Design in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Distinguished architect Michael Lubbers, AIA, has joined global architecture and engineering firm Ghafari Associates as its Director of Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this role, he will assume lead responsibility for design direction and process management in West Michigan while also collaborating with clients in Chicago and southeast Michigan.

Lubbers, a Holland native, joins Ghafari with 23 years of design leadership experience, having worked with Chicago firms OKW Architects (OKW) and Wight & Company (Wight). At OKW, he was Principal and Creative Director and led innovation of both the design process and the firm’s approach to enhancing the client experience. At Wight, he served as Vice President and Creative Director, leading teams in the design of higher education, workplace, and institutional projects.

“Michael has impeccable design credentials,” said Stephen Fry, AIA, President of Ghafari’s Grand Rapids office. “Equally important in a director of design, he’s also a process innovator. He knows how to fully engage clients and elevate the skills of each team member through a hands-on, decidedly collaborative approach.”

While in Chicago, Lubbers led design teams through dozens of high-profile projects, including the transformation of The Adler Planetarium Sky Theater, multiple projects for the College of DuPage, planning for Exelon Chicago’s 150,000 square-foot downtown headquarters, and the design of Krispy Kreme’s Experience of the Future.

“Being part of a large, hugely diverse community of architects in a design hub like Chicago is a tremendous growth experience,” said Lubbers. “Ghafari’s expansion to Grand Rapids created a unique opportunity for my career where, as a proud Michigander, my work can now more directly impact western Michigan.”

Dearborn, Michigan-based Ghafari acquired Grand Rapids-based Concept Design in April 2018, expanding the firm’s Midwest presence while strengthening its commercial portfolio.

Ghafari is a Michigan-grown firm with the backing of a multitude of in-house resources, and they’re practicing in cities I love, both here and globally.

Michael Lubbers
Director of Design, Grand Rapids

“Ghafari is a Michigan-grown firm with the backing of a multitude of in-house resources, and they’re practicing in cities I love, both here and globally,” observed Lubbers. “That now includes Grand Rapids, which has grown into a bustling, multi-cultural environment. This position offers the best of all worlds.”

In his new role, Lubbers will be responsible for providing design direction and process management on all projects within Ghafari’s Grand Rapids office. He will also play a lead role in business development and in mentoring younger design professionals.

Lubbers earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art at Calvin College and a Master of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and has received numerous industry honors including awards and recognition from the Chicago Building Congress, IIDA Illinois, Association for Learning Environments and Learning By Design.


Kendra Achenbach | Marketing Assistant | T. +1.616.771.0909, x7918 | E.