Matt Schmalzel

Matt Schmalzel is an architect at MATHISON | MATHISON ARCHITECTS.

Matt's approach to architecture is firmly rooted in a project's various contexts - from the site's geography, to the goals of the end users, to the historical lineage of a place, to the aspirations of the broader community. Uncovering and developing connections to these various contexts is at the heart of Matt's design process.

A native of Grand Rapids, Matt was inspired at an early age by local West Side architectural landmarks such as the Fish Ladder and the Basilica of St. Adalbert. His interests led him to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Architecture from Ball State University, where he graduated with honors. Upon the completion of his undergraduate studies, Matt moved to Washington, DC, where he attended the Catholic University of America to pursue his Master's degree. Matt was drawn to Catholic University's unique course of study in Sacred Space and Cultural Studies, whose themes resonated with his initial attraction to architecture - namely, the power of physical space to inspire. His thesis addressed the museum as a type of sacred space and was awarded the Pierre Paul Childs Award for Architecture and Urban Design.

After graduating from Catholic University in 2015, Matt worked in Washington for five years. His work included a variety of project types including multifamily residential buildings, commercial office buildings, adaptive reuse of historic structures, and research laboratories.

A desire to return to his roots prompted Matt's return to Grand Rapids, where the work of MMA stood out to him for its timelessness, elegance, and clear appreciation for the beauty of the natural environment. When he's away from work, Matt enjoys hiking and backpacking in the state's beautiful natural areas, exploring historic cities and sites, and spending time with family in northern Michigan.