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Malibu House, Los Angeles

©Olivier Martin-Gambier

Malibu House, Los Angeles, 1987

Morphosis
(Thom Mayne)
  • Architects
www.morphosis.com

Destabilization, fractured or lacerated spaces, oblique walls and hanging architectonic elements are among the many manipulations of form that place the Morphosis firm within what has come to be known in architecture as the deconstruction movement. “Morphosis manages to anchor its projects at the same time as it splinters them” (Peter Cook). In fact, metamorphosizing or modifying architectural forms through the exertion of the forces of twisting, constraining and movement, and creating gaps and ruptures to produce instability and architecture that fights against gravity rather than submits to it, has been the approach forged by Thom Mayne for Morphosis since its inception. In its early period the firm designed buildings involving the construction and extension of individual houses for private clients in Los Angeles. Several restaurant commissions followed and the 6th House received intense media attention. In 1985, one of the first issues of the Japanese magazine GA Houses ensured them international recognition. Morphosis received increasingly important commissions while continuing to pursue their architectonic research.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1972 by Thom Mayne (1944) and Michael Rotondi (1949), the Morphosis firm has been under Thom Mayne’s sole direction since 1992. He has built many projects in the United States (Diamond Ranch High School, Pomona, 1999; Cooper Union Cultural Center in New York, 2009) as well as in Mexico, Japan, Korea and Europe (the Hypobank in Austria, 2002; housing in Madrid, 2006; the Tour Phare in the La Défense business district in Paris, completion planned for 2012). Present in the permanent collections of the MoMA in New York, the work of Thom Mayne and the Morphosis firm has been the subject of numerous publications and exhibitions, among which the ones held at the NAI in Rotterdam in 1999 and at the Centre Pompidou in 2006. Thom Mayne has taught in prestigious institutions around the world (UCLA, Harvard, Berlage Institute…) and has been awarded numerous prizes and honors, including the Pritzker Prize in 2005.