Thom Mayne founded Morphosis in 1972 as an interdisciplinary and collective practice involved in experimental design and rigorous research. As the firm steadily grows, currently with more than 40 architects and designers, Mr. Mayne remains committed to the practice of architecture as a collective enterprise.
Thom Mayne was born in Connecticut in 1944. He moved with his family to Los Angeles as a teenager, and proceeded to receive his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1968. While there, he met five other students and educators with whom he would later join to create the Southern California Institute of Architecture, or SCI-Arc. In 1978 he received his Master of Architecture from Harvard University. Throughout his professional career, Mr. Mayne has remained highly involved in the academic and institutional facets of architecture. He has held teaching positions at Columbia University, Harvard University (Elliot Noyes Chair, 1998), Yale University (Eliel Saarinen Chair, 1991), the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands and the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, and he has taught as a visiting professor at many other universities around the world. His commitment to the education of young designers has not wavered over the past 30 years, and currently he holds a tenured faculty position at the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture. Each year Mr. Mayne participates in various international symposiums, lectures, and design juries at numerous institutions and universities.
His distinguished honors include Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Award (2006) Pritzker Prize Laureate (2005), Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy of Design in Rome (1987), the Alumni of the Year Award from USC (1992), Member Elect from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1992), the 2000 American Institute of Architects / Los Angeles Gold Medal in Architecture, and the Chrysler Design Award of Excellence (2001).
Thom Mayne remains committed to developing a critical practice where creative output engages the contemporary discourse of the discipline through both architectural design and writing. With his firm, Mayne has consistently sought new and different design problems to solve and has resisted becoming specialized in any particular building “type”. The solution to each individual design problem is always approached from a fresh beginning. As a result of this interest and commitment, Mr. Mayne’s work ranges from designs for watches and teapots to designs for large-scale civic buildings such as Federal Courthouses to innovative urban design and planning schemes that reshape entire cities.
With Morphosis, Thom Mayne has been the recipient of 25 Progressive Architecture Awards, 70 American Institute of Architects Awards and numerous other design recognitions. Under his direction, the firm has been the subject of various group and solo exhibitions throughout the world, including the largest ever exhibition of Morphosis’ work, Continuities of the Incomplete, which was on view at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France in 2006. Other notable exhibitions include those at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Walker Arts Institute in Minneapolis, the Ministerio de Fomento in Madrid in 1998, and a major retrospective at the Netherlands Architectural Institute (NAI) in 1999. In addition to these solo exhibitions, Morphosis has been included in prestigious group exhibitions in Tokyo, London, Vienna, Buenos Aires, at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, as part of the “End of the Century: 100 Years of Architecture” exhibition, and at the 2002, 2004 and 2006 Venice Architecture Biennales. Drawings, furniture, and models produced by Morphosis are included in the permanent collections of such institutions as the MOMA in New York, MOMA San Francisco, the MAK Vienna, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and the FRAC Center in France. Morphosis buildings and projects are published extensively in prominent architectural publications internationally. They have been the subject of 21 monographs, including four by Rizzoli, two by Korean Architect, two by El Croquis (Spain), one by G.A. Japan, and one by Phaidon, in 2003.