Thomas Mical


Professor of Architectural Theory
Head of School of Art and Design
School of Art and Design

In a handwriting exercise when Professor Thomas Mical was seven years old he wrote “I want to build big buildings and tell people what to do.” That’s because he grew up in Chicago and when visiting his father at work they would walk past the construction of the John Hancock Centre. His father would tell him that it would one day be the biggest building in the world, and this became an inspiration.

Professor Mical completed his master's degree at Harvard. After interning in Tokyo, he returned to the United States and completed his PhD in Architectural Theory at Georgia Tech. He then returned to his hometown of Chicago and worked in the architectural profession, and lived his boyhood dream - working on designing skyscrapers and airports.

Professor Mical made the switch to academia in 2000, to follow his curiosity and to travel globally. That travel brought him to New Zealand a number of times, and in 2013 he came to talk at a conference organised by AUT’s St Paul St Art Gallery. He was struck by how progressive the School of Art and Design was, and how academically diverse and creative the people were. Just 18 months later, an opportunity presented itself and Professor Mical joined AUT in October 2015 as the Head of the School of Art and Design.

His interests are to grow the research and international reach of School of Art and Design. He also plans to continue to write scholarly books while in the leadership position.