Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne to speak for Architecture Lecture Series March 3

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, known for his innovative use of forms and materials, will present the 2008 Cannon Design Lecture for Excellence in Architecture & Engineering for the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

San Francisco Federal Office Building
The San Francisco Federal Office Building by architect Thom Mayne.

The lecture is free and open to the public and begins at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 3, in Steinberg Auditorium, located near the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth boulevards. A reception for Mayne will precede the lecture at 6 p.m. in Givens Hall, located immediately adjacent to Steinberg.

The talk comes as part of the Sam Fox School’s spring Architecture Lecture Series, sponsored by the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design. For more information call (314) 935-9300 or visit

Born in 1944, Mayne was educated at the University of Southern California and Harvard University. In 1972 he co-founded the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles, where he continues to teach, as well as Morphosis, now one of the most prominent design practices in the United States.

Morphosis (the name means “to be in formation”) began an informal and interdisciplinary collaborative, surviving on non-architectural projects such as graphics, furniture and interior design objects. Its first major commission — for the Sequoyah Educational Research Center in Pasadena, a school attended by Mayne’s son — evolved out of parent meetings and in 1974 won a Progressive Architecture award, which helped to establish the firm on the national stage and led to a number of subsequent commissions.

Thom Mayne
Thom Mayne

Today Morphosis employs some 40 architects and designers and has completed buildings throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Major projects include the Dr. Theodore T. Alexander, Jr., Science Center School, a public elementary school and teacher training program located within an historic armory (2004); and the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters (2004), a 1.2 million-square-foot government center in downtown Los Angeles. The latter, wrapped in a constantly changing mechanical sheathing, responds to outside conditions such as sunlight and temperature, appearing windowless in the day and nearly transparent at night.

“Mayne’s approach toward architecture and his philosophy is not derived from European modernism, Asian influences, or even from American precedents of the last century,” notes the Pritzker jury citation.

“He has sought throughout his career to create an original architecture, one that is truly representative of the unique, somewhat rootless, culture of Southern California, especially the architecturally rich city of Los Angeles. Like the Eameses, Neutra, Schindler, and Gehry before him, Thom Mayne is an authentic addition to the tradition of innovative, exciting architectural talent that flourishes on the West Coast.”

Other major projects include the Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, Calif. (1999); the University of Toronto Graduate Student Housing (2000); the multi-purpose Student Recreation Center at the University of Cincinnati (2005); the San Francisco Federal Office Building (2006);and The Palenque at JVC (2007), a 6250-seat open-air arena in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Lighthouse
The Lighthouse, a “green” wind-powered office building in Paris, scheduled for completion in 2012.

Current projects include a new building for The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York; a wind-powered office building in Paris; and the Dallas Museum of Nature & Science.

The Pritzker Prize, which Mayne received in 2005, is generally considered architecture’s highest honor, equivalent to the Nobel Prize. In addition, Mayne and Morphosis have won more than 50 awards from the American Institute of Architects and have been the subject of group and solo exhibitions throughout the world, including a major retrospective at the Netherlands Architectural Institute in 1999. Their work has been collected in more than two dozen monographs, including the four-volume series Morphosis: Buildings and Projects, published by Rizzoli.

In addition to his work with Morphosis and the Institute of Architecture, Mayne currently holds a tenured professorship at the University of California in Los Angeles.


WHO: Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne

WHAT: Speaking about his work

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 3

WHERE: Steinberg Hall Auditorium, located near the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth boulevards.

COST: Free and open to the public

SPONSOR: Architecture Lecture Series, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

INFORMATION: (314) 935-9300 or