Page N1.2 . 30 March 2005                     
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  • Thom Mayne Pritzker Prize
     
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    Thom Mayne Pritzker Prize

    continued

    Frank Gehry, in his capacity as Pritzker juror, says, "I was thrilled that our new laureate hails from my part of the world. I've known him for a long time, watched him grow into a mature and, I like to say, 'authentic' architect. He continues to explore and search for new ways to make buildings useable and exciting."

    Juror Karen Stein commented: "Thom Mayne sees architecture as a contact sport — a group activity that pushes physical limits, in this case of form making. From his earliest complex, multilayered drawings to his more recent completed buildings, he has used the latest technologies as both theme and apparatus of his designs, creating a body of work that has consistently explored and expressed architecture as a risk-taking, visceral experience."

    Recent Works

    The Dr. Theodore T. Alexander, Jr. Science Center School in Los Angeles is a public elementary school combined with a teacher training program with the resources of a major museum, the California Science Center. Completed in 2004, this hybrid campus began with the preservation and seismic upgrading of a historic armory and was sculpted, according to the architect, to test "the boundaries between the land and the tectonic, [with the] program slipped between layers of a lifted landscape."

    The Caltrans District 7 Headquarters in Los Angeles is a civic office building intended to blend with the fabric of the city. Prosaic materials, outsized structural forms, and exposed structural elements are a reference to California transportation systems and are designed to evoke a feeling of being in and under the freeways themselves. The building's south facade is entirely surfaced with photovoltaic cells which are expected to generate approximately 5 percent of the building's energy.

    Hypo Alpe-Adria Center in Klagenfurt, Austria is a combination suburban office building, retail space, and kindergarten. The architectural concept aims to integrate the inherent qualities of both rural and urban typologies. In the architect's words: "The large domed roof vaults over most of the structure, creating a conceptual landscape that evokes the plowed fields surrounding it. Stretching from east to west across the site, the structure integrates itself into its surroundings and emerges from the ground as 'reconfigured earth.' Like the seismic shifting of tectonic plates, the bank headquarters itself erupts out of this pregnant, expectant form clad in sheet metal, declaring its status as a major cultural and civic institution and connecting the public forum with the street."

    University of Toronto Graduate Student Housing, completed in 2000 in association with Stephen Teeple Architects, borders a bustling urban portion of the city. The site is configured as a perimeter block, surrounding a large open courtyard one floor below street level. Each of the four building orientations corresponds to the scale of adjacent buildings.

    A large retail space and cafe at street level of the complex's southwest corner form an active urban node, connecting this entry point to the campus with its urban surroundings. Along the sixth and seventh floors of the western wing, a glazed corridor extends south beyond the building's edge. The cantilevered cornice bears monumental signage of the university's name, intended to inspire the public imagination.

    The Pritzker

    The Pritzker Architecture Prize was established by The Hyatt Foundation in 1979 to honor annually a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.

    In the 27 years that the Pritzker Prize has been honoring architects with what is sometimes called "architecture's Nobel," the jury has a mixed record of selecting both the truly great and the merely fashionable. Although today's observers can easily confuse the two, future architectural observers may clarify which is which with perspectives tempered by time. Considering recent selections like Mayne and Koolhaas, in contrast to Utzon and Murcutt, perhaps the organizers intentionally award some riskier recipients, in addition to acknowledging masters.

    Among the previous laureates are Luis Barragán of Mexico, Richard Meier of the United States, Tadao Ando of Japan, and Norman Foster of the United Kingdom. Previously featured in ArchitectureWeek have been Rem Koolhaas of The Netherlands, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of Switzerland, Glenn Murcutt of Australia, Jřrn Utzon of Denmark, and Zaha Hadid of the United Kingdom.

    The jury that selected Mayne as the 2005 Laureate consists of its chairman, Lord Palumbo, chairman of the Serpentine Gallery Trustees; Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, architect, planner and professor of architecture; Rolf Fehlbaum, chairman of the board of Vitra of Weil am Rhein; Frank Gehry, architect and 1989 Pritzker Laureate; Ada Louise Huxtable, author and architectural critic; Carlos Jimenez, professor at Rice University School of Architecture, and principal of Carlos Jimenez Studio; Victoria Newhouse, architectural historian and founder of the Architectural History Foundation; and Karen Stein, editorial director of Phaidon Press.

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    The Caltrans District 7 Headquarters in Los Angeles was designed by Morphosis principal Thom Mayne, recipient of this year's Pritzker Prize.
    Photo: Roland Halbe

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    The Caltrans District 7 Headquarters.
    Photo: Roland Halbe

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    Hypo Alpe-Adria Center in Klagenfurt, Austria.
    Photo: Christian Richters

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    University of Toronto Graduate Student Housing.
    Photo: Tom Arban

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    The ASE Design Center in Taipei, Taiwan.
    Photo: Yu Tsien Chou

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    The Tsunami Asian Grill in Las Vegas is a collage of elements of Asian culture expressed through architectural bends, folds and wraps, creating what the architect describes as "a wholly hyper-spatial arena."
    Photo: Farshid Assassi

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    Diamond Ranch High School, by Morphosis.
    Photo: John Enright

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    Clusters of roof forms at Diamond Ranch High School seem to lean across the pedestrian spine towards each other.
    Photo: Brandon Welling

     

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