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  • Photo Michael Powers, courtesy Morphosis.

Architect Thom Mayne to Speak at PennDesign’s 2016 Commencement Exercises

PHILADELPHIA—Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Dean and Paley Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, today announced that Thom Mayne—one of the world’s most prominent living architects—has accepted her invitation to speak at PennDesign’s Commencement Exercises on Monday, May 16, 2016.

Recipient of the AIA Gold Medal, the Pritzker Prize, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, and the Rome Prize, Mayne is design director and thought leader at Morphosis, the practice he founded in 1972. The firm’s work has drawn praise around the world for its technological bravura and social optimism. Recent high-profile commissions include the first academic building for Cornell Tech, currently under construction on Roosevelt Island in New York City.

Mayne was appointed Practice Professor of Architecture and Paul Philippe Cret Professor in the Associated Faculty at PennDesign in the fall of 2015, and has been active in the training and education of architects and designers throughout his career. In 1972, he helped to found the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Since then, he has taught at Columbia, Yale, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Berlage Institute in the Netherlands, the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, and is a tenured professor at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design.

PennDesign’s Commencement Ceremony will be held Monday, May 16, at 1:30pm on Meyerson Plaza, 210 South 34th Street in Philadelphia. Dean Taylor will confer approximately 300 Master’s degrees, 50 certificates and six Doctorates. Degrees to be conferred include: Master of Architecture, Master of Science in Architecture, Master of Science in Design: Advanced Architectural Design, Master of Environmental Building Design, Master of City Planning, Master of Landscape Architecture, Master of Science in Historic Preservation, Master of Urban Spatial Analytics, Master of Fine Arts, Doctor of Philosophy—Architecture, and Doctor of Philosophy—City Planning. As seating is limited, the event is open to graduates and their guests only.

Morphosis is a dynamic and evolving practice that responds to the shifting social, cultural, political, and technological conditions of modern life. With projects worldwide, the firm’s work ranges in scale from residential, institutional, and civic buildings to large urban planning projects. With Morphosis, Thom Mayne has been the recipient of 26 Progressive Architecture Awards, over 100 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, the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, the Walker Arts Institute in Minneapolis, and a major retrospective at the Netherlands Architectural Institute in 1999. Morphosis buildings and projects have been published extensively; the firm has been the subject of over 30 monographs, including five by Rizzoli, two by Korean Architect, two by El Croquis (Spain), one by G.A. Japan, one by Phaidon, and two by Equal Books (Korea). Mayne was appointed to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 2009 and was honored with the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Gold Medal in 2000.

PennDesign is an inventive place of learning where the many fields of architecture, planning, preservation, landscape and the fine arts come together on shared ground. At PennDesign, we are dedicated to design that is creative in nature and transformative in impact. In a collaborative environment that fosters inquiry and experimentation, faculty and students seek to recast the distinction between theory and practice, expand knowledge and invention through research, and contribute works of value and beauty.

Media Contact: Michael Grant, Director of Communications,, 215.898.2539.