Eric Owen Moss (March 18, 2009)

Thom Mayne introduces Eric Owen Moss, and explains that to understand Moss one must explore his brain. Mayne does exactly that with a humorous diagrammatic dissection of Moss’ brain. He continues by describing Moss as “a person of words, precise and considered.” He concludes with a heartfelt characterization of his old friend: “Architecture is not what you do, architecture is who you are, the essence of your being.”

Eric Owen Moss states that he “never wanted to be a master, polished and smooth,” and describes his body of work as “uneven, inconsistent, rough, and exploratory.” Moss presents quotes from Roosevelt, Kierkegaard, and Marco Polo that he directly correlates to architectural discourse, and his own approach to architecture. He continues with his cautionary notion of discomfort with regards to affiliations or allegiance to an architectural discourse without understanding them as choices. He leads into his own work by describing a sculpture by Michelangelo that was ambiguously left in an “unsteady” state, a ballet dancer from Lyon who challenged the notion of “what you see is what you get,” and a Greek capital that was defiled by Romans.

Moss presents numerous projects that span the globe. He questions the notion of comfort or discomfort, and perceptions of what architecture could be. How do we make architecture new? The projects he presents here include What Wall?, Umbrella, Mariinsky Theater, and the Queens Museum of Art.

Moss presents the National Library for Mexico City, a building for the Vienna Business School, and a continuum of glass roof systems stemming from his project for the Smithsonian, followed by Pterodactyl, Republic Square in Kazakhstan, a project for the Tennis Channel in Los Angeles, the Hayden Tower, the Art Tower/Samitaur Tower, and the Jefferson Tower.

source