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March 21, 2005

Maverick Mayne Picks Up Prestigious Pritzker Prize

Americans gunning for the Pritzker Architecture Prize might take note: mavericks are in.

In 1979, the award’s inaugural year, the winner was the late Philip Johnson. Johnson, who died in January, is remembered as architecture’s enfant terrible, a maverick and iconoclast whose dedication to mentoring young architects endeared him to the architecture community at large.

Now, for the first time in 14 years, and only the eighth time in the 27-year history of the Prize, an American takes the helm as this year’s architect extraordinaire. It’s an unfamiliar title to Mayne, who commented in a New York Times article Sunday that he’s always felt like an outsider.
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Image: Morphosis entry for Olympic Village 2012

Mayne, whose buildings stem from his own unique vision, without many clear lines of provenance or of influence from earlier periods, is the director of Morphosis, the Santa Monica CA. firm that's been steadily gaining influence across the world. The firm started by earning commissions from private homes and local restaurants and has grown in prominence to work for much larger outfits on large-scale U.S., European and Asian public, educational and commercial projects.

Morphosis recently won a competition to design the state capitol building in Juneau, Alaska as well as the Olympic Village, to be built in New York City for the 2012 Games (whether or not they’ll actually take place there).

Mayne will accept architecture’s highest honor at a ceremony May 31 in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park, a building designed by fellow Pritzker Prize winner and award juror Frank Gehry [won 1989]. The award carries a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion.

Other past winners of the Pritzker, sponsored by the family who developed Hyatt Hotels, include I. M. Pei, Hans Hollein, Renzo Piano and Rem Koolhaas.


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