Michael J. Till (last name derived from original surname TIRITILLI over a century ago) was born and raised in Chicago’s Little Italy on Taylor Street, just slightly west of the world renown downtown “Loop” where the buildings, bridges and infrastructural elements are considered, by many, to be one of a kind in Architectonic Engineering and is known as “The Chicago School”…

chicago-pen-inkMr. Till considers himself very fortunate for having been initially raised in this Chicago neighborhood, where a once in a life-time happenstance opportunity was afforded him by simply being in-close proximity to the nearby “Loop” footprint, just east of said neighborhood, on the shores of Lake Michigan, where there exists a plethora of incredible examples of human ingenuity. This specific footprint is truly a living Design Laboratory revealing works of aesthetically pleasing builds regarding all manner of creativity. Mike was naturally drawn into this ambience of Chicago’s great Public Works of Art, of which, many academias refer to as the “Art of Structural Engineering”, a term and movement initiated by Professor David P. Billington of Princeton University. Chicago, a unique American culture, as described by poet Carl Sandburg and where, in effect, “The Art of Structural Engineering” was the catalyst in re-building the City after the great fire of 1871 by Engineering practitioners like William Le Barron Jenny, Louis Sullivan and his apprentice Frank Lloyd Wright, educated at UW-Madison in Civil Engineering once worked and later where most prolific Structural Artist, Fazlur Kahn lead the way in the design movement known as the “Art of Structural Engineering.”

As a young man, Mike once read what a Chicago Architecture Journalistic Critic wrote; “The general public should really never ask who were the Builders of such great aesthetic innovations, but rather, they should first ask, who were the Structural Engineers of these elegant structures”. A stunning, but honest statement that Till never forgot… On the other hand, Mr. Till always remembered what the renowned multi-talented inventor and innovator, Buckminister Fuller had to say about ordinary thinking; “People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things”…

Mike Till, after high school, enrolled in the Architecture/Engineering Curriculum at Chicago’s Wilbur Wright Community College where the professors were practicing Architects and Engineers and upon satisfactory completion of said program, Till continued his studies at Chicago Technical College, slightly south of the Loop on Michigan Avenue where he received a Degree in Architecture with an intense emphasis on Structural Engineering and Building Science.

structural-engineering

 

As a first year college student, Mike was once again, very fortunate, because he gained an entry level internship in the Architectural and Structural Departments with the Chicago firm of Harza Engineering Company, an early avant-garde clean energy/environmental firm, who graciously took a young Michael Till under their wing and in effect, launched, what would become a diversified career… Mike was rightfully very impressionable in those early days due to being exposed to Harvard educated engineer, Chairman and President of Harza, the now late, E. Montford Fucik, who believed, as a Registered Professional Engineer, that; “It’s one thing to have a good idea; It’s another thing to make it work. Engineers have to do both – think and act”…Overwhelming inspiration for an 18 year old college kid to be so enabled and to have such an opportunity to remain a student while also working for perhaps the most preeminent, multi-discipline engineering firm in the world.

Mr. Till finished his apprenticeship with Childs and Smith, a traditional Chicago School of Architecture and Engineering firm, where he enjoyed multi-challenges in Architecture and Structural Engineering under the tutelage of master mentors, like the late, great, Chief Design Engineer, Mr. Walter Goebert and lead Architect, George Muramoto, an expert in Japanese Design.

Then, it was off to Door County, Wisconsin where during his first spring in “Door” he makes yet another Chicago connection by coincidentally becoming the next door neighbor to Chicago writer/poet, Norbert Blei, who was just moving into his new digs as well. Later, Blei asked, after becoming aware of Till’s education in engineering and architecture, if Mike could assist in re-purposing a broken down chicken coop located on Blei’s property into a rustic writing studio. While doing this small favor for a new neighbor, another fortunate happening occurred, the Blei’s and the Till’s became lifelong friends, right up to the time of Norbert’s passing in the spring of 2013. Little did they know at the beginning of their time, that Norbert would go on to write 17 books, create numerous journalistic articles, make creative water color paintings, write soulful poetry, teach at “The Clearing Folk School” also at various colleges and establish a publishing outlet for other writers. The Coop ultimately was moved, after Mr. Blei’s demise in 2013 to a non-profit group known as “Write On, Door County” located in Fish Creek, Wisconsin where the iconic Coop continues to serve as a studio that facilitates writers and promotes writing in Door County. As it turned out, the Coop is recognized on the “Cultural Map of Wisconsin”…

coopMike Till, Planner/Structural Engineer entering the first of his many re-purposing projects of early Door County farm structures… In this case, for local Door County writer/artist, Norbert Blei’s converted “chicken coop” (circa 1973) as an Avant-garde sustainable structure for the purpose of creating a writer’s cabin in the woods instead of “The Coop” being discarded or demolished… Now on the “Cultural Map of Wisconsin”…

In retrospect, Mike believes that the Chicago connection between two strangers, relocating at the exact same time and place and then for decades positively influencing in their own way, a transformation of the “Chicago School” as a matter of destiny, perhaps in the same way that Chicago landscape architect, Jens Jensen did when he moved from Chicago to Ellison Bay where he established “The Clearing Folk School” in the 1930’s… Blei and Till had no idea about what the future would be like for them, but both felt strongly compelled to live and work in Door County’s natural environment and did so for decades…

structuralToday, Mr. Till continues to practice his pluralistic design and engineering services and in order to maintain his Professional Multi-Design License and Certifications, Mr. Till actively attends Continuing Education in Architectonic Engineering courses on the campus of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, College of Engineering and the Department of Engineering Professional Development, where he ascertains mandatory yearly “Continuing Education Accreditation”.

In order to establish his own brand, a definite “Sui Generis” design approach, Mike’s professional career eventually morphed into “The New Art of Structural Engineering” as coined by Princeton University, however, Mr. Till was mostly influenced by Italian Structural Engineer, Pier Luigi Nervi, who in the 1960’s lectured as a visiting Professor in the department of Arts and Science for “The Charles Eliot Norton Professorship of Poetry” at Harvard University and subsequently, said lectures were published by the Harvard Press under the title “NERVI – Aesthetics and Technology in Building” that Mr. Till discovered during his Chicago Loop experience, of which, he took away from Nervi’s publications, Till’s interpretation that the bases of all “Architectonic Design” means to have a clearly defined structure, especially one that is artistically pleasing, hence a sound knowledge of Structural Engineering as the first order of importance regarding optimal design consideration of all the aspects encountered in Building Constructions… Thus, the launching of Mike Till’s Sui Generis career.

Mike Till has gained a sound knowledge of Structure and that of Building Science and understands how to clearly approach any and all design matters leading to economically efficient, non-cookie cutter, aesthetically creative, successful and useful solutions in the building of all physical constructions… A concept that continues to be his mantra, thus allowing him to think “outside the box”, especially when designing and consulting in now decades of Green Sustainability regarding Residential and Commercial Builds going all the way back from the time of Wisconsin Environmentalist, Gaylord Nelson’s introduction of Earth Day…

In his now adopted “Hometown” of Door County of which, by the way, is not just a coincidence as to why he settled here decades ago, it is mostly because Door County happens to be a beautiful Mid-West land-mass resembling the Italian Peninsula, where his maternal grandfather grew olives and walnuts and in “la mia famiglia” tradition, for over twenty years, Mike and his wife grew 20 acres of cherries on their earthy 80 acre Grain and Veggie Farm in Northern Door”… It should be noted that Mike Till also came from a Construction Contracting family, whereas his paternal Grandfather, Father, Brother, Uncles and Cousins were all in the Construction Field in and around the Chicagoland area.

In bucolic Door County and throughout the most impressive State of Wisconsin, Mr. Till, for decades, has specialized in all aspects of Residential and Commercial Building Design as a Wisconsin Registered Design Professional by way of satisfying all the requirements of the Wisconsin Examining Board of Architects and Professional Engineers… He is also a Member of the Structural Engineers Association of Wisconsin.

The above mentioned credentials legally grant Mr. Till authorization by the State of Wisconsin Department of Regulations and Licensing to Design, Plan and Engineer any and all works in Residential and Commercial Buildings, as well as to consult on innovative Green Engineering Science.

In addition to his main design services regarding comprehensive Residential and Commercial Builds as mentioned above, he also performs Forensic Investigations of defective construction and renders Expert Witness Testimony to Attorneys and/or Home Owners.

Throughout his career, Mike has enjoyed the honor to serve as mentor to numerous “Architectural Intern” employees … Such apprentices included women and other minority employees. He has always been willing to share his “Chicago School” experiences with those not so fortunate enough to have interned in Chicago’s inner-sanctum of special esoteric creativity that many professionals recognize as the ultimate methodology in approaching Building Design, whether in Residential or Commercial Builds…

NOTA BENE: Mike Till welcomes those Home Owners who wish to plan their own home and who want to be totally interiorinvolved with their own design ideas, but might seek consultation from a Wisconsin Licensed Design Professional plus Structural Engineer for either complete or partial guidance regarding “ALL THINGS RESIDENTIAL” throughout Door County and Northeastern Wisconsin.

Mike Till, of Michael J. Associates, is the firm’s owner and its Licensed Design Professional while his “Associates” are all of his hand-picked independent craftsmen including tradesmen such as Carpenters, Plumbers, Electricians, Photo Voltaic (solar) Installers, Landscapers, Decorators and Material Suppliers including cabinet makers of Kitchens, Bathrooms and that of Special Interior Detailing resulting in a professionally orchestrated building program, all under the direction and supervision of Mr. Till…

Kindly continue visiting our extensive website for a sampling of our unique Door County design works beyond the ordinary.

For more information about our range of home planning and structural engineering services for residential or commercial design assistance, in Sturgeon Bay and throughout Door County, WI please give us a call at 920-421-0375.