California College of the Arts to confer Honorary Doctorate on architect Thom Mayne

The California College of the Arts (CCA) will confer an honorary doctorate degree on the renowned architect Thom Mayne at its 101st commencement exercises, to be held on Saturday, May 10, at 2:00pm at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco. Mayne will deliver the commencement address to the 370 graduates and their families. In addition, he will be honoured at a private dinner the preceding evening and will participate in the post-commencement reception on the college’s San Francisco campus.

Mayne won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2005. The Pritzker jury’s citation remarked that his “approach . . . and philosophy are not derived from European modernism, Asian influences, or even from American precedents of the last century. He has sought throughout his career to create an original architecture. . . . Like the Eameses, Neutra, Schindler, and Gehry before him, Thom Mayne is an authentic addition to the tradition of innovative, exciting architectural talent that flourishes on the West Coast.”

Mayne is best known to Bay Area residents for the bold design of San Francisco’s new Federal Building, which opened last year. The building eliminates corner offices in favor of democratic space and city views for 90 percent of the workstations; it also features operable windows and natural lighting and ventilation. The New York Times praised Mayne for the building, calling it “his most powerful government work to date.”

In conjunction with CCA’s commencement, 3A Gallery in San Francisco will present an exhibition of photographs by Livia Corona of the famed “2-4-6-8 House” in Venice, California, which Mayne designed in 1978. The exhibition will be on view from May 8 through June 12, with a public opening reception on May 8 from 6:00pm to 9:00 pm.

Thom Mayne was a cofounder of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in 1972, and he established his Santa Monica-based architecture firm, Morphosis, that same year. He has held teaching positions at many international architectural institutions. Currently he is a tenured faculty member at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. His distinguished honours include the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award (2006); the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2005); the Chrysler Design Award (2001); the American Institute of Architects / Los Angeles Gold Medal in Architecture (2000); and the Rome Prize (1987). With Morphosis, he has been the recipient of 25 Progressive Architecture Awards, 70 American Institute of Architecture awards, and many other design recognitions.

Under Mayne’s direction, Morphosis has been featured in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout the world, including Continuities of the Incomplete (2006) at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Cut: Revealing the Section (2008) at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Morphosis’s buildings and projects have been the subject of 21 monographs, including four published by Rizzoli, two by Korean Architect, two by El Croquis (Spain), one by G. A. Japan, and one by Phaidon.

Mayne received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1968 and his Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University in 1978.

The AIA SF features Mayne and the new San Francisco Federal Building in a podcast here: