The American Institute of Architects today selected Thom Mayne to be honored with the 2013 AIA Gold Medal, the organization’s highest honor that an individual can receive.
Voted on annually, the Gold Medal honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Mayne will be honored at a special event in March in Washington, D.C. as well as at the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver.
Mayne’s commitment to architecture as a journey and not as a destination is evidenced through the forms and materials of his buildings, his personal and professional life, and the name of his firm, Morphosis, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1972. In his own life, he’s evolved from a rugged iconoclast to a collaborative government works mainstay.
In the same year he formed Morphosis, Mayne and several colleagues founded the Southern California Institute of Architecture, or SCI-Arc. Since then, Mayne has had a long record of academic involvement, which has helped to spread his enthusiasm for experimentally pushing architecture’s role in society further into the cultural forefront among decades of students.
An unexpected champion of the federal government’s General Service Administration’s (GSA) Design Excellence program, Mayne’s palette of bold, angular forms, exposed structural elements, and double-skin veils that play on notions of dynamic transparency have become trendsetting motifs in a growing number of governmental and institutional projects.
“He is one of the few architects able to head a large-scale, successful practice while influentially designing theoretical premises,” wrote former AIA Gold Medal Winner Antoine Predock, FAIA, in a letter of recommendation. “The result has been a 40-year body of work that is intellectually rigorous and consistently searching.”
In 2009, Mayne was appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2009 was the recipient of the Centennial Medal of the American Academy in Rome.
Mayne is the 69th AIA Gold Medalist. Past recipients of the AIA Gold Medal include: Frank Lloyd Wright (1949), Louis Sullivan (1944), LeCorbusier (1961), Louis Kahn (1971), I.M. Pei (1979), Santiago Calatrava (2005), Renzo Piano (2008), Peter Bohlin (2010), Fumihiko Maki (2011), and Steven Holl (2012, previously on Bustler). In recognition of his legacy to architecture, his name will be chiseled into the granite Wall of Honor in the lobby of the AIA National component in Washington, D.C.