Michael (Mike) W. Donkle, RA

From the initial sketches through construction, visiting sites, seeing the building completed and the owners move in, I like the whole process. Developing and participating in a project from beginning to end gives me a real sense of accomplishment.

Master of Architecture
Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina

Bachelor of Arts, design
Clemson University
Clemson, South Carolina

Professional Affiliations
American Institute of Architects (AIA)
701 Center for Contemporary Art

South Carolina

Mike Donkle discovered architecture in the pages of the encyclopedia. For an artistically inclined twelve-year-old in Newberry, South Carolina, it was a revelation and a clear view into his future. He pored over architectural how-to books, studied building styles, and even earned his first Boy Scout merit badge for architecture, for a scale drawing of his troop’s Scout Hut and an elevation of an historic building he admired, St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

He set his sights on Clemson University’s College of Architecture, where he excelled at studio work and learned to collaborate as part of a design team as an undergraduate. He practiced in Columbia for a year before returning for graduate studies, including a 15-week off-campus program at the Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies in Genoa, Italy.

From a home base at the University’s villa, Mike and a small group of other resident graduate students studied Italian architectural history, contemporary design, urban planning, culture, and field sketching, as well as traveled freely throughout Europe, an experience Mike still considers one of the high points of his life.

Mike has extensive experience in large- and small-scale construction and renovation projects in the commercial, educational, airport and public safety fields. His portfolio includes offices, financial institutions, churches, schools and classroom buildings, law enforcement facilities, emergency communications centers, and two award-winning fire stations. He joined Carlisle Associates in 2015.

A talented oil and watercolor artist, Mike designed a backyard studio with a cathedral ceiling and sleeping loft and sourced reclaimed stained glass windows, antique doors and other building materials locally for its construction. He tracked down an old-school carpenter to build it using traditional techniques and surrounded it with new landscaping, a stone patio and a goldfish pond. The finished space was featured in The State newspaper and is open during Columbia Open Studios, a weekend-long tour of working artists’ studios held each spring.