Thom Mayne (born January 19th, 1942 in Waterbury, Connecticut) is a widely recognized Los Angeles based architect. Educated at University of Southern California (1969) and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1987, Mayne helped found the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC) in 1972. Mayne is a principal of Morphosis, a renowned architectural office located in Santa Monica, California. He received the Pritzker Prize in March 2005.
Thom Mayne, with Michael Rotondi, founded Morphosis in 1972 to develop an architecture that would eschew the normal bounds of traditional forms. Beginning as an informal collaboration of designers that survived on non-architectural projects, its first official commission was a school in Pasadena, attended by Mayne's son. Publicity resulting from the publication of this project led to a number of residential commissions, including the Lawrence Residence. Morphosis’s design philosophy arises from an interest in producing work with a meaning that can be understood by absorbing the culture for which it was made. The word “metamorphosis” (from which the name Morphosis is derived) means a “change in form or transformation.”
For Morphosis this reflects a design process intuitively embedded within an increasingly groundless modern society that is exemplified by the shifting landscape of Los Angeles (the firm’s home). Their working method values contradiction, conflict, and change, and understands each project as a dynamic entity. The designs often include multiple organizational systems which find unique expression while contributing to a coherent whole. visualised in sculptural forms which often appear to arise effortlessly from the landscape. In recent years this has been increasingly made possible through the use of computational design techniques which simplify the construction of complex forms.
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