Citizen and Artist:
MAF Robinson Scholarship Winner
Riley Montgomery


As a future architect, University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning undergraduate student Riley Montgomery hopes to design renewing and inclusive structures that can help sustain communities and the planet. “Architecture affects the way people feel, behave, and act in spaces,” Riley explained. “I believe good design has the ability to make people feel better and have more productive and meaningful experiences.”

Riley is the 2022 recipient of The Richard M. and Sidney K. Robinson Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to a University of Michigan undergraduate architecture student who aspires to a career that combines the roles of citizen and artist.

“I am very appreciative to MAF, and to Richard M., and Sidney K. Robinson for offering this opportunity that has allowed me to focus on my architectural studies,” said Riley.

As a child Riley always had an interest in the visualization of spaces, starting with creating her own spaces by moving around all of the furniture. Her decision to pursue a career in architecture stems from her appreciation for how architecture can uplift and inspire.

Regarding what she enjoys most about architecture, Riley said “I enjoy the interdisciplinary aspect of architecture and the versatility of learning opportunities. I also enjoy the creativity and craft of the design process.” Riley also appreciates the flexibility of Taubman’s program, since it is customizable based on the student’s specific interests.

While Riley is not yet sure which type of architecture she would like to focus on in her future career, adaptive re-use, housing, and cultural design are of interest to her. Her favorite work of architecture is Dorte Mandrup’s Ilulissat Icefjord Centre.

In response to the topic of architecture based in citizenship, Riley stated “Artists have a responsibility to be aware of their impact and the social contexts to which they respond. Architects rarely make decisions and prioritize on their own but instead, work with community members, engineers, investors, planners and many other parties to complete projects”.

Riley continued, “Because they work in teams, architects have the ability to influence and be influenced by their teammates’ ideologies as all advocate for their own ideal. This discussion and dialogue results in a reflection of a collage of values.”

Photos: Riley, above; below her favorite work of architecture, Dorte Mandrup’s Ilulissat Icefjord Centre