As one of the founding principals of Studio Outside, Mike Fraze has dedicated his career to the creation of meaningful landscapes and environmental spaces. As a father to four children, Mike dedicated a large portion of his career to the creation of park and educational facilities such as nature preserves, camps, conference centers, and retreats. Drawing inspiration from his children, as well as his own childhood, Mike’s work creates both physical and cognitive bonds between people and nature.
At Studio Outside, Mike has overseen several notable environmental education/ camping projects such as the Galveston Island State Park Master Plan (Galveston, TX), Forest Preserve District of Cook County Camping Master Plan (Chicago, IL) , Bob Jones Nature Center And Preserve (Southlake, TX), Muskoseepi Park Master Plan (Grande Prairie, Alberta), Iain Nicolson Center at Rowe Sanctuary (Gibbon, NE), and a Strategic Camp Portfolio Master Plans for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas as well as the Girl Scouts Of Texas Oklahoma Central Plains. In each instance Mike worked diligently to craft a balance between people, nature, and program.
In addition to his environmental work, Mike has expanded Studio Outside’s urban living portfolio with projects such as The Whitley (Austin, TX), 2929 Wesleyan (Houston, TX), Scotch Creek at Cypress Waters (Coppel, TX), and Confluence Park (Denver, CO). Pulling from his park background, Mike developed thoughtful amenity spaces and courts for these projects that emphasized the user experience and interaction while creating a strong dialogue with interior building functions. His projects celebrate the importance of the individual and community, providing a hierarchy of scales that provide for personal reflection as well as social gatherings and events.
Prior to founding Studio Outside, Mike was a principal at MESA Design Group where he oversaw the development and expansion of their environmental education and urban living studio. Over the course of his fifteen years there, Mike was responsible for many of the firm’s hallmark projects that include Allaso Ranch (Hawkins, TX), Collin County Adventure Camp (Westminster, TX), Arbor Hills Nature Preserve (Plano, TX), Irving Veteran’s Memorial (Irving, TX), Hi-Line Towers (Dallas, TX), and Park Lane Development (Dallas, TX).