“It’s amazing how resilient our society is, and that resiliency includes architecture. It’s resilient in terms of the society, it’s resilient economically, and that’s a really good thing.”
In this installment of Arbuckle Industries’ Archiculture interviews, architect, educator, and Morphosis Architects founder Thom Mayne discusses the underpinnings of the architecture world. Starting from what he sees as architecture’s under-representation in the public consciousness, he touches on the cycle of planned obsolescence in the built environment and its consequential dynamics, provides his perspective on architects’ responsibilities, and explains where he believes the future of architecture is headed thanks to a new generation of politically engaged students. Mayne also argues that clarifying the role of cultural forces on architecture could broaden the public’s acceptance of designs: “look at the Lunar landing module, is that a beautiful thing or an ugly thing?” Mayne asks. “If you really admire what it did… you find it interesting, you find it beautiful because you understand it in context.”
Construction is underway on a striking new tower by Morphosis Architects in Shenzhen. “A departure from conventional towers,” as the practice describes, the “Hanking Center Tower” merges commercial retail with private office space through the folding of its steel structure. Beyond that, tenants are connected via a series communal sky gardens and a massive sun-lit atrium that occupies the building’s core.
Morphosis Architects’ highly anticipated plans for a new luxury hotel in Vals has been unveiled. The proposal, selected by 7132 Ltd (and denounced by the jury) following an international competition, was lauded by the client for its “minimalist approach” that will “help the hotel blend with the mountain landscape at the existing resort campus.”
The ultra-thin, 381-meter-tall tower will be one of three Pritzker laureate-designed projects at the 7132 resort, joining Peter Zumthor’s Therme Vals Spa and Tadao Ando’s Valser Path, which is slated for completion in 2017.
More images and a response from Tadao Ando, after the break.
A group of five high-profile jurors, lead by Louisa Hutton of Berlin-based Sauerbruch Hutton, have issued a statement through the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA) denying any support of Morphosis’ appointment to design the 7132 Hotel in Vals, Switzerland. According to reports, the jury had “significant question marks” regarding the chosen design, ultimately leading to the high-profile competition’s termination when the jury failed to recommend a winner. This seems to be a result of the client and jury’s inability to find common ground.
Morphosis Architects has been chosen ahead of Steven Holl, 6a Architects and four others in an international competition to design a new “7132 Hotel” in Vals, Switzerland. The 100-suite luxury hotel, planned to be built adjacent to Peter Zumthor’s Therme Vals spa, is expected to be unveiled this Spring.
Commenting on their selection, Thom Mayne, Pritzker-prize laureate and founder of Morphosis said, “We are thrilled about the jury’s decision and look forward to working with a visionary client to create a unique design that resonates with this incredible destination in the Alps.”
The principal architect of LA firm Morphosis, Thom Mayne was the recipient of the 2005 Pritzker Prize and the 2013 AIA Gold Medal, and is known for his experimental architectural forms, often applying them to significant institutional buildings such as the New York’s Cooper Union building, the Emerson College in Los Angeles and the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters.
The October issue of a+u introduces 14 recent works from around the globe. In particular, the issue is focused on architecture that emerged from the relationship with the urban structures or the developmental history of the site. Over time, they influence and transform the surrounding environment. Architects employ diverse “tactics” in order to create such architecture: collaborating with the residents, relating to the neighboring buildings and open spaces, diversifying the building’s programs, and employing intricate construction details. In this issue, we focus our attention on the process of conceiving the projects driven by various tactics. We invite our readers to look beyond a single building and examine the works’ possibilities to be used in a long span of time.
In this 1996 lecture Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne describes his views of architectural theory and his unique approach to the architectural process at a time when firms had begun the transition to 3D digital models. As one of the founders of Santa Monica based firm Morphosis, Mayne speaks about the evolution of their built and unbuilt projects in the late 70s and early 80s by giving insights into three general topics including objects, context, and the role of nature in architecture. His discussion touches on everything from music and art, to philosophical questions regarding the process of architecture and its role in society.
In the development of his first projects, Mayne reveals a preoccupation with objects, their materials, and their relationship to the craft of architecture. He also describes how context shapes his designs, using the example of his Sixth Street House of 1983. For him, the project’s site in Los Angeles was particularly influential to his work in the way that it is a “prototype of the modern metropolis” in which “…there’s no inside, there’s no outside, there’s no way of perceiving it, its growing, its moving, its changing, quicker than one can absorb it.” These notions of context were reflected in many later works, and tied into his interest in “the space between randomness and order.”
In honor of Thom Mayne’s birthday today, we’re sharing this video interview from Danish Website Louisiana. In it Thom Mayne introduces his building at 41 Cooper Square by saying “I wanted to produce something that was off, and was not at all systematic in any normal architectural sense.” Ultimately, the form of the building is, he says, an attempt to engage with New York City, understanding Cooper Union as a key part of the city’s incredible intensity of intellectual creative capital. He also discusses how the building – despite its avant garde form - won over the local community. Enjoy!
New information has been released — along with a series of renders — seven months after the New York City Council approved Cornell University’s two million square foot technology campus in Roosevelt Island. Envisioned as “a campus built for the next century,” Cornell Tech’s first set of buildings has tapped into the talent of some of the most respected architecture firms in the city: Morphosis‘ Pritzker Prize-winning Thom Mayne, Weiss/Manfredi Architecture, Handel Architects, and Skidmore Owings & Merrill.
New images of the buildings, after the break…
Morphosis Architects has been selected from a shortlist of three to design the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) chose Morphosis over Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Mack Scogin Merrill Elam with AECOM after conducting a series of presentations and interviews in the third round of the international competition.
“Morphosis presented a strong, cohesive team with over 50 years of collaborative experience. Their presentation demonstrated the management and design approach required to successfully execute this project, as well as a thorough understanding of the importance and impact of an American Embassy in Beirut.
The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has shortlisted three design teams for the new U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon for Stage 3 evaluation. The project is part of OBO’s Excellence in Diplomatic Facilities initiative in which seeks to provide safe and functional facilities that represent the best in American architecture. The shortlisted teams are:
To celebrate the start of a seven-month land use review process, Cornell has released preliminary renderings of the first academic building planned for Cornell Tech – the new world-class technology and entrepreneurship campus in New York City that was masterplanned by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM).
The modern campus strives to rethink academic workspace, prioritize environmental performance, and exploit the unique urban condition of Roosevelt Island. In May, Pritzker Prize laureate Thom Mayne, founder of Morphosis, was appointed as architect of the first landmark building, which will set the stage for the carbon positive campus.
Continue after the break to learn more.
Today, Cornell University has announced their selection of Thom Mayne and Morphosis to design the first academic building for the CornellNYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island. Mayor Michael Bloomberg awarded the Roosevelt Island campus project to Cornell mid-December of last year. With plans to achieve net-zero, the campus is striving to become the new modern prototype for learning spaces worldwide.
“This project represents an extraordinary opportunity to explore the intersection of three territories: environmental performance, rethinking the academic workspace and the unique urban condition of Roosevelt Island,” Mayne said, as reported by Cornell University. “This nexus offers tremendous opportunities not only for CornellNYC Tech, but also for New York City.”
Continue reading for more.