For Thom Mayne, who founded the Los Angeles-based architecture firm, Morphosis, in 1972, design begins with a series of questions about the relationship between aesthetics, use, and context.
Whether in the form of a city plan, building, or art object, the end product represents Mayne's process of inquiry, rather than a preconceived desire to adhere to the tenets of any particular style.
It is this critical approach, developed amid Southern California's experimental design culture, which has fueled Mayne's wider reputation as the profession's unrelenting provocateur. Accordingly, critics have named him "the bad boy of architecture."
Several of Mayne's seminal projects are located in California; these include the Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, Cal Trans District 7 Headquarters in Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Federal Building.
In 2005, Mayne was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the profession's top honor.
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