Architecture People & Places


2013 AIA Gold Medal to Thom Mayne

Thom Mayne, founder of Morphosis, is the 2013 AIA Gold Medal recipient. Photo: Mark Hanauer
Santa Monica, California-based architect Thom Mayne will receive the AIA Gold Medal award for 2013.

Mayne's work, through his firm Morphosis, deliberately seems to eschew the trappings of conventional architectural styles and forms. However, a consistent industrial material palette connects most of his buildings to each other.

Virtually all of Mayne's buildings present angular metal surfaces — often steel, either in the form of cladding or a screen — as their chief public-facing surface. Glass and concrete are also used extensively in Mayne's buildings.
Perforated metal screens shade the western facade of 41 Cooper Square, in New York City. Photo: Iwan Baan
And while his designs are undeniably attention-grabbing spectacles — Christopher Haworth of the Los Angeles Times described one building as "aggressive" — some of Mayne's work has seemed to suffer from technical shortcomings including a spectacularly failed attempt at LEED Platinum certification.
The AIA identified several projects as exemplifying the architect's work:
Diamond Ranch High School, in Pomona, California. Photo: John Enright

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 7 Headquarters, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Roland Halbe
Wayne L. Morse U.S. Courthouse, in Eugene, Oregon. Photo: Kevin Matthews/ Artifice Images
The San Francisco Federal Building, in San Francisco, California. Photo: Sally Kuchar

41 Cooper Square, in New York City. Photo: David Owen/ Artifice Images
Giant Group Campus, in Shanghai, China

In its announcement of the award, the AIA said:
"Mayne's commitment to architecture as a journey and not as a destination is evidenced through the forms and materials of his buildings, his personal and professional life, and the name of his firm, Morphosis, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1972. In his own life, he's evolved from a rugged iconoclast to a collaborative government works mainstay."
Mayne's other awards include the 2005 Priztker Prize. He is the 69th recipient of the AIA Gold Medal, joining past recipients including such recent winners as Steven Holl (2012), Fumihiko Maki (2011), Glen Murcutt (2009), and Peter Bohlin (2010).

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