Thom Mayne (November 13, 2002)



Thom Mayne presents a timeline of projects in order to clarify the connections and progression of ideas. He sees architecture as the field that integrates a vast amount of complexity, multiplicity, collaboration and discussion. Drawing has been an essential method of investigation, and is necessary to produce growth. This also includes alternative representational modes that question conventional drawing methodologies. It also serves as a rich archive for reinterpreting the work.

Morphosis’s early house designs came from a desire to maintain control of the process and the work. The early houses involved the integration of objects and their manufacturing process, along with methods of subverting the conventional construction methodologies. The landscape and site became more important, as is in the Chiba Golf Club, Museo del Prado Competition, and Artspark Performing Arts Pavilion Competition.

Diamond Ranch demonstrated that schools can be architecturally inspiring. In the Hypo Alpe-Adria Center, Morphosis explored the idea of the building emerging from the ground. The Sun Tower in Seoul exhibits a translucent skin that is doing something different than the building – a characteristic of later Morphosis buildings. The Toronto grad housing project was one of the first buildings to have elements stretching into the public space.

Mayne uses computer models as an alternative to physical modeling, which can be delivered to the contractor, disrupting the conventional design and building process. The Wayne Lyman Morse courthouse involved a significant amount of negotiations with the client, resulting in a Cartesian plinth with highly articulated courtrooms. The San Francisco federal building sets the standard for energy usage, and integrates a number of innovative features such as skip stop elevators. Mayne thinks a tower would be inappropriate for the World Trade Center site, and the current political and economic conditions demand a re-evaluation of the architectural response.

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