AskDefine | Define morphosis

Extensive Definition

Thom Mayne (b. January 19, 1944 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, Mayne helped found the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC) in 1972. Since then he has held teaching positions at both SCI-ARC and UCLA. He is principal of Morphosis, a renowned architectural office located in Santa Monica, California. Mayne 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.
Since then, Morphosis has grown into one of the most prominent design practices in the United States, with completed projects worldwide. Recent projects include: graduate housing at the University of Toronto; the San Francisco Federal Building; the University of Cincinnati Student Recreation Center; the Science Center School in Los Angeles, Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, California; and the Wayne L. Morse United States Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon.

Design Philosophy

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. This is in opposition to typical architectural philosophies which overlay meaning from outside influences and are distant from the question at hand.
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 work of Morphosis has a layered quality. The designs often include multiple organizational systems which find unique expression while contributing to a coherent whole. Visually, the firm’s architecture includes 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.

Awards and honors

  • Top Ten Green Project Award, American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment / 2007
  • Pritzker Prize, 2005
  • Chrysler Design Award of Excellence / 2001
  • Los Angeles Gold Medal, American Institute of Architects / 2000
  • Alumni of the Year, University of Southern California / 1995
  • Brunner Prize or Award in Architecture, American Academy of Arts and Letters / 1992
  • Member Elect, American Academy of Design / 1992
  • Eliel Saarinen Chair, Yale School of Architecture, Yale University / 1991
  • Elliot Noyes Chair, Harvard University Graduate School of Design / 1988
  • Rome Prize Fellowship, American Academy in Rome, Italy / 1987

Major Projects


In Progress

  • Museum of Nature & Science Building, Victory Parkdevelopment, Dallas, Texas, 2013


External links

morphosis in Arabic: توم ماين
morphosis in Asturian: Thom Mayne
morphosis in German: Thom Mayne
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morphosis in Basque: Thom Mayne
morphosis in French: Thom Mayne
morphosis in Galician: Thom Mayne
morphosis in Indonesian: Morphosis
morphosis in Japanese: トム・メイン
morphosis in Polish: Thom Mayne
morphosis in Portuguese: Thom Mayne
morphosis in Finnish: Thom Mayne
morphosis in Swedish: Morphosis
morphosis in Vietnamese: Thom Mayne
morphosis in Chinese: 汤姆·梅恩
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