Mr. Summers founded PLUS-SUM Studio in September 2012, to pursue work that would allow him to expand his own vision of the collaborative practice. He has over two decades of experience across a variety of project types and scales, from small interior renovations to large-scale master planning. His first project as PLUS-SUM Studio was recognized the following year by the National AIA and displayed in Washington, D.C. as part of the Emerging Professionals Exhibition. The competition entry for the Louisville Children's Museum titled "Grey Matter," was exhibited in the fall of 2014 at the Korea Institute for Youth Facility and Environment (KIYFE) exhibit in Munjeong Samsung Raemian Gallery in Seoul, Korea. Also in 2014, three projects won International Design Awards (5 total awards) including the top award of "Architectural Design of the Year 14," for the Guggenheim Helsinki.
The practice seeks to discover opportunities latent within a given problem, in order to evolve possible solutions through an intensive, iterative, problem seeking design process. This process seamlessly moves from design practice to become a pedagogical model in an academic context, in order to test opportunities within each realm and improve each simultaneously. This reflects Mr. Summers' commitment to education and to pursuing conditions that allow for an open and engaging dialogue around contemporary practice and processes.
Martin is a tenured, Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Kentucky, College of Design, where he received a Bachelor of Architecture Degree in 1996. At his Alma Mater, he leads advanced studios in urban/architectural design projects and teaches electives in High-Performance Building Envelopes and design precedents/theory. He has also been instrumental in rewriting the first-year curriculum with an emphasis on technological integration. His research focuses on design pedagogy and processes that leverage digital tools and their potential to address complex issues across multiple scales. These processes use rapid, digital iteration and analysis to engage his studios in issues that affect contemporary practice and bring his experience and expertise to the classroom.
His research project titled "Point of Departure" is a multidisciplinary project that was awarded a University of Kentucky 2014 & 2015 Sustainability Challenge Grant to pursue design and construction of sustainable bus shelters on the UK campus. Mr. Summers lead the architectural team of students, in collaboration with Michael Wilson of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and students from Electrical Engineering. His FA11 and SP12 studios ( The River Cities Project: Northern Kentucky ) focused on 5 cities across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio. The proposals sought to collectively align resources and opportunities within the broader, trans-border, metropolitan region. These studios were a continuation of his work on the River Cities Project at UK CoD and also part of the SUPRASTUDIO / Culture Now project run by Thom Mayne and Karen Lohrmann at UCLA. Martin’s River Cities Project / Henderson studios from FA10 and SP11 were featured in the Rotterdam Biennale, “Making City,” where he led the design and coordination of the physical exhibition of the College of Design’s work (see: INSIDEout ).
Before founding PLUS-SUM Studio, Martin worked for 10 years as a Senior Project Designer at Morphosis Architects. He served as project designer on projects across all scales and took on a leadership role in façade design and construction. In his last project with the office, he led the design of the atrium and exterior facades for the New Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas Texas. Prior to the Museum of Nature and Science, Martin led the exterior façade team for the Phare Tower in Paris, France. He also served as the lead project designer on the Cahill Center for Astrophysics at Caltech in Pasadena, California and as the lead project designer for the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles among other award-winning projects.
Mr. Summers received his Masters of Architecture II degree from UCLA, where he was a student of Thom Mayne, the 2005 Pritzker Prize Laureate and the founding principal of Morphosis. While at UCLA, he worked with Mr. Mayne on the publication of L.A. Now: Volumes 1 and 2 (in which his thesis project “UNIVERcity” appears.)
Prior to attending graduate school, Martin participated in a diverse range of project from residential and worship spaces to sound stages for clients such as Warner Bros., Sony, and DreamWorks SKG while working at HLW Internationals Los Angeles office. He also worked at several award-winning offices in Lexington, Kentucky (Omni and EOP) before heading to Los Angeles.