Eric Owen Moss

Architect (1943)

In an almost 40-year career, Eric Owen Moss has been involved in the most diverse of programmes. His early works, essentially houses, experimented with the interpenetration of pure geometric entities such as circles, cubes and cones, and its effects on the density of interior spaces henceforth defined by a whole series of distortions. From the Petal House (1982-84) to the Mills House (1998) by way of Metafor (1991-95), the Lawson-Westen house (1988) and the P&D Guest House (1991), Moss focused on a complex and flexible space, doing away with any break between exterior and interior. Constructing the unstable, awakening the emotive power of space, and leaving traces of the process in apparently fragile structures all represent the architect’s major lines of thinking. It was at the heart of one of the cradles of the film industry, then abandoned, Culver City in Los Angeles, that Moss undertook the rehabilitation of old depots and warehouses. With great freedom, he transformed a number of hangars into office premises, cultural institutions, theatres, galleries, restaurants, collective housing, and individual homes. The architect proceeds by adding a sculptural form taken from the nature of each place and each programme. The Box (1994) is altogether symbolic of his work: here he played with contrasts of scales and materials as well light effects, which are found in exaggerated forms in Umbrella, Conjunctive Points Theater Complex, Beehive, Slash & Backslash, 3555, Glass Tower, and Gateway Art Tower, all projects produced in the 2000s, with their vaunted complexity, which invariably give material form to that recurrent quest for spatial unfinishedness that we find in the architect’s production.

Born in Los Angeles in 1943, Eric Owen Moss graduated in 1968 from UC Berkeley and in 1972 from Harvard University. He founded his agency, Eric Owen Moss Architects, in 1973. In no time his works were recognized, and started winning prizes, in particular the New Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, and Beehive. He was awarded the Arnold Brunner prize of the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2007, for his contribution to architecture and art. Moss’s activity also involves teaching, in particular at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC), where he is the dean, and a member of the board, as well as at Rice University, and Harvard. Most of his projects have been built in Culver City, Los Angeles.

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