Industry Architectural firm
Founded 1972; 48 years ago
Founders Michael Brickler, Thom Mayne, Livio Santini, James Stafford
Headquarters Los Angeles, California
New York City
Number of employees
Morphosis Architects is an interdisciplinary architectural and design practice based in Los Angeles and New York City.
The firm was informally founded in 1972 by Michael Brickler, Thom Mayne, Livio Santini and James Stafford. Michael Rotondi joined the practice in 1975 and remained a principal until 1991. Writing in 1989, Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell called Morphosis “one of the country’s most interesting” architecture firms, and described its very physical, materials-focused design style as “look[ing] as if it might hurt you.”
Bill & Melinda Gates Hall at Cornell University (2014)
Born in Connecticut, Thom Mayne (b. 1944) studied architecture at the University of Southern California and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was a founding member of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in 1972, and has held faculty positions at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, and the University of California, Los Angeles. Mayne was the recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2005.
Michael Rotondi (b. 1949) was also a founding member of SCI-Arc in 1972. He became the director of the school in 1987, and held that position until 1997. Rotondi’s career awards include the 2009 AIA/LA Gold Medal and the 2014 Richard J. Neutra Medal from Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design.
Landmark/latest works by the firm include:
Emerson College LA Center (2014)
• The Lawrence Residence, 1981–1984, in Hermosa Beach, California. The home has been described as “two stylistically different structures that collide at a slight angle on their narrow lot…”.
• The Bill & Melinda Gates Hall at Cornell University, 2014. The $60 million building houses Cornell’s Computing and Information Science (CIS) program.
• Bloomberg Center at Cornell Tech, Sep. 13, 2017, on Roosevelt Island, New York. The $115 million, five-story, “net-zero energy” building uses the power it creates on its own.
• Korean American National Museum, 2020-, in Los Angeles, California
Mayne and Rotondi received numerous awards for their work in Morphosis, including 11 American Institute of Architects awards and 12 from Progressive Architecture. In 1992, the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters awarded them the Academy-Institute Award in Architecture.
Morphosis has been recognized with more than 190 local, national and international awards, including nine for the design of the Emerson College Los Angeles campus and 16 for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. These include the 2014 Los Angeles Architecture Awards Grand Prize, presented by the Los Angeles Business Council[permanent dead link], for designing the campus of Emerson College in Hollywood.