March 26, 2005

Thom Mayne Wins the Pritzker

We at Bloodless Coup have been remiss in not noting the fact that Thom Mayne was recently awarded the Pritzker Prize. He is the first American to take the honor in 14 years. We don't cover architecture very often here at Bloodless Coup, so why do I say we have been remiss not to note this achievement? Because it allows us to link to the website of his firm - Morphosis. The design of the site is quite interesting, and it allows you to look at many of the firm's recent plans (like those for the proposed Olympic Village in New York - should that city win the 2012 games - or the proposed new state capitol building in Alaska). It's worth checking out.

Posted by armand at March 26, 2005 02:55 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Architecture


i'm not easily motivated to online vulgarity explosions but holy fucking shit his stuff is cool. i've been hearing about the pritzker and all, but i hadn't seen any of his work except for some elevations of the proposed olympic village a year or two ago.

i absolutely love the SF courthouse -- it's such a delightful tribute to the New Deal generation of federal courthouses that dot the country, many of which since have been renovated (the pittsburgh one rather modestly and still in progress; the scranton one rather spectacularly) by adding a great deal of glass and partially enclosing outbuildings, airshafts, etc.) -- and this variation moves that same trend a step or two further. very very cool.

oh, and the website is one of the most creative i've seen. i could sit there and just play with the letters for hours.

Posted by: joshua at March 27, 2005 01:07 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the San Francisco courthouse is outstanding. And what I find really remarkable about it (aside from the beautiful, inventive and all-around-cool-as-can-be building) is how it seems to fit reasonably well into the adjacent surroundings. The only one of the works on the site that I've seen that I have some trouble with (and it's such a fun site that I have looked around a bit) is the Cooper Union building. That, while an interesting building, doesn't appear to fit in its neighborhood at all. Still, on the whole, this is really interesting stuff. And I think the idea that there are youngsters who can live in these places (be it college students or super-fortunate elementary students) ... well, it renews my hope that creativity won't be forever destroyed just b/c we live in the cable TV and Playstation era.

Posted by: Armand at March 27, 2005 01:24 PM | PERMALINK

i didn't realize the cooper building was morphosis, but i've been aware of it, as a former student. given the horrible banality of the current engineering building, i'm prety hospitable to a new facility; it's idiosyncratic that students attending one of the most well-regarded engineering boutique schools should be stuck in a yellow brick box, especially given cooper's reputation for turning out brilliant architects.

anyway, i like the morphosis cooper union design on its own terms. i think it provides a marvelous complement / counterpoint to the foundation building (the brown building), which, 150 years ago, was state of the art, the first tower to use rolled steel bars, the first building in new york with an elevator shaft (presciently, before elevators had been invented; too bad peter cooper thought when they came they'd be round, and made his shaft accordingly, though the round elevator they finally had commissioned in the 80's provides a pretty surreal experience), etc. it's only fitting that the next major building at cooper union be out on the edge; i'm sure it's no mistake that morphosis's design calls for a building just about as tall, and with just about as big a footprint, as the foundation building.

which is not to say there isn't an abomination in the neighborhood: as much as i like the design of this tower, it dominates the neighborhood. scroll down to the second photo. the foundation building is the wedge-shaped building dwarfed to the new tower's left, and the morphosis engineering building will be built over the foundation building's left shoulder, back and left. at the same height as the foundation building, it will do far less to interfere with "ancient light" and the aesthetic of the neighborhood than the residential tower which stands where once lay the welcome visual respite of a parking lot.

Posted by: joshua at March 27, 2005 04:24 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the insights Joshua!

Posted by: Armand at March 27, 2005 07:57 PM | PERMALINK

um, the exclamation point makes me suspicious that you're mocking me . . .

Posted by: joshua at March 28, 2005 02:33 PM | PERMALINK

We're always mocking you, Joshua! ;)

Posted by: binky at March 28, 2005 02:39 PM | PERMALINK

i knew it. just remember where you live. speaking of which, have they put out all the fires yet?

Posted by: joshua at March 28, 2005 02:58 PM | PERMALINK
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