The AIA announced today that it has awarded the 2013 Gold Medal to Thom Mayne, FAIA. Mayne is the 69th recipient of one of the profession’s highest honors, awarded in previous years to LeCorbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Renzo Piano, Hon. FAIA, and Steven Holl, FAIA, who was last year’s recipient.
Mayne founded his Los Angeles-based practice, Morphosis, in 1972. Calling architecture "one of the most esoteric art forms of all the forms," he has been celebrated for projects such as the California Department of Transportation District 7 Headquarters in Los Angeles (2004); The Wayne L. Morse United States Courthouse in Eugene, Ore. (2006); The San Francisco Federal Building (2007); and 41 Cooper Square in New York (2009). Mayne has used his portfolio of projects as a laboratory for material investigation, pushing the bounds of form and structure.
Mayne described his design philosophy to ARCHITECT at the November preview of his new Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas: “I like provoking people. It’s what you’re supposed to do.” Indeed, Mayne's iconoclastic approach to design, as well as his reputation as “the bad boy and angry young man of Los Angeles architecture,” The New York Times’ Robin Pogrebin once described him, have become legendary. But the architect has also become a supporter, and beneficiary of, the U.S. General Services Administration’s Design Excellence Program, noting that after years of being branded as a "bad boy," it’s “kind of curious that I’m the one who ends up doing schools and public buildings.”
Also an educator, Mayne co-founded the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles in the same year that he founded his firm. He is a Pritzker Prize Laureate, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (an appointment he received in 2009), and a recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship.
Another AIA Gold Medal Winner, Antoine Predock, FAIA, wrote a letter of recommendation for Mayne for the Gold Medal. “He is one of the few architects able to head a large-scale, successful practice while influentially designing theoretical premises,” Predock wrote. “The result has been a 40-year body of work that is intellectually rigorous and consistently searching.”
Mayne will be honored at an event in March 2013 in Washington, D.C., and at the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver next June.