Michael Bryce was born in Brisbane. His schooling was at Gordonvale State School in north Queensland, and Brisbane State High School. He gained a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Queensland in 1962 and then worked in London for some time. He returned to Australia and started his own architecture practice in 1968, which did work for a number of important Australian institutions such as the National Trust of Australia and the Australian War Memorial.
His practice won awards for graphic and environmental design, including the Civic Design Award, the Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) House of the Year Award, and the RAIA President’s Award. The practice also received citations in the RAIA, DIA and AGDA awards, as well as the Honor Award of the United States Society of Environmental Graphic Design.
In 1988, Bryce joined his practice with those of Marcello Minale and Brian Tattersfield in London to form Minale Tattersfield Bryce and Partners. In 1998 he was a member of the judging panel for a design competition for an alternative National Australian Flag, run by Ausflag. He was principal design adviser to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, personally designing the stylised “Opera House” Olympic bid logo and advising on the application of the corporate branding.
In 1977 he was elected inaugural Queensland President of the Industrial Design Institute of Australia and Federal President in 1980. He is now a Life Fellow of the Institute. He is also a Life Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
He was appointed an Adjunct Professor of Design at the Queensland College of Art (Griffith University), the School of Design and Architecture at the University of Canberra and the College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales. In 2003, he was conferred with the degree of Doctor of the University honoris causa by the University of Canberra.
In 2006, he was inducted into the DIA Hall of Fame and was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services as an architect to the development of industrial, graphic and commercial design, reflecting Australian heritage and the environment, to education, and to the community.
He retired from Minale Bryce in September 2008, following his wife’s appointment as Governor-General of Australia. The day after her swearing-in, he announced he would be selling his design practice in order to avoid “any breath of conflict of interests”.
In 2010 Bryce became Patron of the Australian Institute of Architects.