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Thom Mayne: The Latest Architecture and News

Who Has Won the Pritzker Prize?

The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).

The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.

Spotlight: Thom Mayne

The principal architect of LA firm Morphosis, Thom Mayne (born January 19, 1944) 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.

Emerson College Los Angeles. Image © Iwan Baan Perot Museum. Image © Iwan Baan Cooper Union Building. Image © Iwan Baan Bill & Melinda Gates Hall. Image © Roland Halbe + 16

121 Definitions of Architecture

There are at least as many definitions of architecture as there are architects or people who comment on the practice of it. While some embrace it as art, others defend architecture’s seminal social responsibility as its most definitive attribute. To begin a sentence with “Architecture is” is a bold step into treacherous territory. And yet, many of us have uttered — or at least thought— “Architecture is…” while we’ve toiled away on an important project, or reflected on why we’ve chosen this professional path.

Most days, architecture is a tough practice; on others, it is wonderfully satisfying. Perhaps, though, most importantly, architecture is accommodating and inherently open to possibility.

This collection of statements illustrates the changing breadth of architecture’s significance; we may define it differently when talking among peers, or adjust our statements for outsiders.

Thom Mayne Joins SCI-Arc as Full-time Distinguished Faculty

Pritzker laureate Thom Mayne goes back to SCI-Arc, the renowned school he cofounded back in 1972. More from their press release:

Morphosis Hits Construction Milestones Around The World

This Fall, global architecture and design firm, Morphosis has their plate full as four of their projects reach significant construction milestones. From Africa to the Middle East, Europe and the U.S., Morphosis is creating international landmarks that display their values of sustainability and future development. Read on to learn more about what Thom Mayne's team is up to.

Interview With Thom Mayne: “I Am a Pragmatic Idealist”

For many observers, Thom Mayne might easily be considered the most unpredictable personality in architecture. Once labeled the “bad boy of architecture” by critics—a moniker which he has, at times, enthusiastically adopted and even encouraged—Mayne's actions in the architecture world can range from something as responsible as designing one of the United States' most sustainable university campuses to something as outrageous as proposing one of the world's tallest towers in a revered Austrian mountain town. In this interview, the latest from Vladimir Belogolovsky's “City of Ideas” series, Mayne discusses his ideas, his past statements on architecture, and where he thinks the profession will go next. The interview was originally published by the Berlin-based SPEECH Magazine.

Diamond Ranch High School, 2000. Image © Brandon Welling The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, 2006. Image © Iwan Baan       Bill & Melinda Gates Hall, 2014. Image © Doublespace Photography  Four-Towers-in-One competition proposal for Shenzhen. Image Courtesy of Morphosis + 34

Thom Mayne, Ando, Kuma & Zumthor Contribute Rooms for "House of Architects" Hotel in Vals

Four top architects – Thom Mayne (Morphosis), Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma and Peter Zumthor – have been tapped to contribute designs for the new “House of Architects” at the 7132 Hotel in Vals Switzerland. The latest addition to the hotel, The House of Architects features a lobby and entrance also designed by Morphosis Architects, and 7 room designs centered around a single material.

Morphosis' Wood Room 1. Image © Global Image Creation – 7132 Hotel, Vals Morphosis' Wood Room 1. Image © Global Image Creation – 7132 Hotel, Vals The new entrance pavilion, designed by Morphosis Architects. Image © Global Image Creation – 7132 Hotel, Vals The 7132 Hotel, with Peter Zumthor's Therme Vals. Image © Global Image Creation – 7132 Hotel, Vals + 16

How a Retired 88-Year-Old Solar Design Pioneer Became one of 2017's "Game Changers"

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as part of their 2017 Game Changers issue. You can read about all of their 2017 Game Changers here.

I meet architect and educator Ralph Knowles on an unseasonably warm autumn day, even for Southern California. He greets me in shirtsleeves (his shirt is a tropical pattern of vines and branches) and leads me to a seat on the balcony of his condo. The building—a retirement community—is fairly new, but mature oak trees line the quiet street. As we talk about his career, the California oaks form a poignant backdrop. For more than five decades, Knowles, 88, has argued for an architecture that hews closely to nature’s forces and rhythms.

Thom Mayne Completes Research on Houston’s Urban Future

Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne has completed a three-semester–long study of Houston’s future, given its current sprawling urban conditions and rapid growth. The project, conducted alongside 21 University of Houston students and faculty members Matt Johnson, Peter Zweig, and Jason Logan, focused on ways of addressing the problems that arise from Houston’s historical lack of zoning in conjunction with the largely unregulated growth of industry and capitalism. These approaches include reinventing the current energy infrastructure, changing real estate and density, and leveraging the lack of zoning to generate new ideas.

Call for Entries: Pamphlet Architecture 36

In a world of climate change, refugees, and displaced peoples in crisis, Pamphlet Architecture asks for visions on the concept of BUOYANCY AND LIFT (FLOATING CITIES). Proposed solutions will provide housing, clinics, and other community services to 1,500 - 2,000 inhabitants with incremental additions while incorporating innovative technologies.

6 Architects Share What It’s Like to Build in New York

In the latest video from the Louisiana Channel, six architects – Bjarke Ingels, Liz Diller, Daniel Libeskind, Robert A.M. Stern, Thom Mayne, and Craig Dykers – share what it’s like to build in New York. From the High Line to the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion at Ground Zero, the architects each describe their approach to designing in the iconic city.

Southern California Institute of Architecture Announces Launch of SCI-Arc Mexico

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) has announced the launch of SCI-Arc Mexico, to begin in mid-March 2016. Located in the Barragán Foundation in Mexico City, SCI-Arc Mexico will feature international studios, exhibitions, conferences and symposia, furthering SCI-Arc’s global presence by complementing SCI-Arc Shanghai as well as bolstering further development into South America and Europe.

50 Architects Tell Us What They Are Looking Forward to in 2016

As the first month of 2016 draws to a close, we decided to tap into our network and ask an esteemed group of architects, critics, theorists and educators to tell us what they are looking forward to this year in architecture. 

What are you looking forward to in architecture this year?

Steven Holl, Tod Williams and More Reflect on the Importance of the Emerging Voices Award

Every year, the Architectural League of New York honors the rising stars of architecture with the Emerging Voices Award, a title offered only to the most promising professionals. Long known as a predictor of long-term career success, the award has been given to architects who have later become some of the best in the world, including Steven Holl, Toshiko Mori, and Tod Williams. For a recent article entitled 10 Emerging Voices Winners on the Program's Lasting Influence, Metropolis Magazine asked some of the award's most illustrious winners to discuss how their trajectories were changed by the award, and how they changed architecture.

How the Architectural League's "Emerging Voices" Award Predicted 30 Years of Architectural Development

Tarlo House, Sagaponack, NY, 1979 by Tod Williams Associates (EV 1982). Image © Norman McGrath. Courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
Tarlo House, Sagaponack, NY, 1979 by Tod Williams Associates (EV 1982). Image © Norman McGrath. Courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

For over 30 years, the Emerging Voices prize given by the Architectural League of New York has offered the architecture world a glimpse into the future, showcasing radical ideas from architects at a crucial stage in their career development. In this excerpt, the opening to her essay "Idea: Claiming Territories" in the newly-released book "Thirty Years of Emerging Voices: Idea, Form, Resonance," Ashley Schafer discusses how the prize has acted as a litmus test for architectural culture, with laureates often presaging trends and sometimes even singular projects years or decades before they occurred in the profession at large.

Lasater Ranch, Hebbronville, TX, 1986 by Lake | Flato Architects (EV 1992). Image © Lake | Flato Architects Stair, Sand Point Arts and Cultural Exchange, Seattle, WA, 2003 by Lead Pencil Studio (EV 2006). Image © Lead Pencil Studio Rubadoux Studio, Nova Scotia, Canada, 1989 by Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design (EV 2000). Image © Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design. Photo James Steeves Bridge of Houses, New York, NY, proposal, 1979 by Steven Holl (EV 1982). Image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects + 13

Archiculture Interviews: Thom Mayne

"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."

Thom Mayne, Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu among the RIBA's 2015 Fellowships

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced 13 Honorary Fellowships and 11 International Fellowships which it will award at an event on February 3rd, along with the recently announced RIBA Royal Gold Medal.

Among others, the Honorary Fellowships include Director of Architecture at the British Design Council Vicky Richardson and academic Dalibor Vesely; the International Fellowships include Pritzker Prize Winners Thom Mayne and Wang Shu and his Partner Lu Wenyu. The Honorary and International Fellowships entitle winners to use the initials 'Hon FRIBA' and 'Int FRIBA,' respectively after their names.

Read on after the break for the full Fellowship lists