LA architect Thom Mayne to present the inaugural lecture at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design

Seeking to engage Calgarians in a series of presentations about design, the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Envi­ronmental Design (EVDS) is bringing Thom Mayne, a widely recognized Los Angeles-based architect, to kick off the EVDS Design Matters lecture series. The inaugural lecture and reception will be held on Friday, September 25 at 7:00pm at the Metropolitan Conference Centre located at 333 4th Ave SW.


“Design Matters will engage the Calgary community in thoughtful discussions on how the design of our material cul­ture impacts our daily lives and the well-being of the environment we inhabit,” says Interim Dean Loraine Fowlow. “The public and the U of C community will be challenged to expand their thinking on a myriad of issues relating to design; topics will range from science and art, urbanization, environmental and ecological designs, to sustainable architecture and livable cities.”

According to EVDS Architecture Professor Josh Taron, Mayne was selected as the inaugural speaker for the series due to the fundamental qualities that he and his work bring to the larger context of Calgary’s future as a city.


“Principles of integrative design, ecological and social awareness, attention to aesthetics, and a willingness to engage in an open discourse about what architecture is and could be, all position Thom as an ideal speaker to initiate such an ongoing discussion facilitated by the Design Matters series,” says Taron.


Founder of Morphosis Architects, Mayne is interested in cities and people, but particularly in having a hand in making and shaping our environments. Taron says Mayne’s work, both in practice as well as in teaching, has been astounding both in its scope and its scale.


“The record of his accomplishments, including the 2005 Pritzker Prize, is quite literally too long to list,” says Taron. “While developing the work of Morphosis Architects, he has also found time to foster and develop the emerging minds within the discipline of architecture through teaching. This is not insignificant as the effect of his thinking goes far beyond the limits of any single built project. These are all things that EVDS and the larger Calgary community are interested in,” said Taron. “We look forward to bringing in a multitude of fascinating thinkers and designers like Mayne to Calgary as the city continues to discover and develop its own identity.”


Other speakers for the Design Matters series will include Adrian Parr on October 15, Hernan Diaz Alonso on No­vember 5, Smout Allen on January 7 and Francis Westley on February 25. With the exception of Thom Mayne’s inaugural lecture, which will be held at the Metropolitan Conference Centre, all other lectures will take place at The Uptown located at 610 8th Ave SW.


The EVDS Design Matters lecture series is sponsored by: HOK, Marshall Tittemore Architects, Nexen, Calgary Airport Authority, the City of Calgary, RGO Flooring, RGO Office Products, Section 23 Group, Shaw Contract Group, Simp­son Roberts Architecture, Steelcase, and Steel Structures Education Foundation.


Thom Mayne founded Morphosis in 1972. As design director and thought leader of Morphosis, Mayne provides overall vision, project leadership and direction to the firm. With Morphosis, Mayne has been the recipient of the 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize, 25 Progressive Architecture Awards, 75 American Institute of Architecture Awards and numerous other design recognitions. Under Mayne’s direction, the firm has been the subject of various group and solo exhibitions throughout the world, including a large solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2006. Other notable exhibitions include those at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Walker Arts Institute in Minneapolis, the Ministerio de Fomento in Madrid in 1998, and a major retrospective at the Netherlands Architec­tural Institute (NAI) in 1999. In addition to these solo exhibitions, Morphosis has been included in prestigious group exhibitions in Tokyo, London, Vienna, Buenos Aires, at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, as part of the End of the Century: 100 Years of Architecture exhibition, and at the 2002, 2004 and 2006, and 2008 Venice Archi­tecture Biennales. Drawings, furniture, and models produced by Morphosis are included in the permanent collec­tions of such institutions as the MOMA in New York, San Francisco MOMA, the MAK in Vienna, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and the FRAC Center in France. Morphosis buildings and projects have been published extensively; the firm has been the subject of 25 monographs, including five by Rizzoli, two by Korean Architect, two by El Croquis (Spain), two by G.A. Japan, and one by Phaidon.


Throughout his career, Mayne has remained active in the academic world. In 1972, he helped to found the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Since then, he has held teaching positions at Columbia, Yale (the Eliel Saarinen Chair in 1991), the Harvard Graduate School of Design (Eliot Noyes Chair in 1998), the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands, the Bartlett Schoo
l of Architecture in London, and many other institutions around the world. His com­mitment to the education of young designers has not wavered. Currently, he holds a tenured faculty position at the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture.