Thom Mayne Quotes

thom mayne quotes



I think my clients would tell you I'm a problem solver. I'm not there to agree with people. I'm there to articulate a point of view. Am I insistent and tenacious? Absolutely. I could not get this work done if I was not.


I think all good architecture should challenge you, make you start asking questions. You don't have to understand it. You may not like it. That's OK.


I've learned that in order to achieve what I wanted, it made more sense to negotiate than to defend the autonomy of my work by pounding my fist on the table.


But I absolutely believe that architecture is a social activity that has to do with some sort of communication or places of interaction, and that to change the environment is to change behaviour.


I'm often called an old-fashioned modernist. But the modernists had the absurd idea that architecture could heal the world. That's impossible. And today nobody expects architects to have these grand visions any more.


I've always been interested in an architecture of resistance - architecture that has some power over the way we live. Working under adversarial conditions could be seen as a plus because you're offering alternatives. Still, there are situations that make you ask the questions: 'Do I want to be a part of this?'


The aesthetic of architecture has to be rooted in a broader idea about human activities like walking, relaxing and communicating. Architecture thinks about how these activities can be given added value.


Architecture is the beginning of something because it's - if you're not involved in first principles, if you're not involved in the absolute, the beginning of that generative process, it's cake decoration.


In architecture, you arrive so late. I look at doctors, lawyers I know, and they're all buying boats and bailing out at 62. My career is just getting started.


So at a time in which the media give the public everything it wants and desires, maybe art should adopt a much more aggressive attitude towards the public. I myself am very much inclined to take this position.


I believe that artistic activities change people. You do effect change. I see architecture as a political, social and cultural act - that is its primary role.


I'm a private person by nature. I live in my brain half the time, not the world, and I'm not a natural negotiator. But I've learned to negotiate.


I enjoy working with people. I understand that as a necessity. And clearly that's something that develops as you get older. And I've grown into that.


It's too simplistic to advance the notion of the autonomy of art as a reason for turning away from the public. You can have autonomy and simultaneously have connections with the social and political world.


I don't know any architects that I respect who don't have their own voice. I think the difference between architecture and the other arts is your immersion in reality.


So we can't go backwards, we can only go where the evolutionary trajectory is taking us and attune our ideas about ourselves and our existence to that course.


We're producing spaces that accommodate human activity. And what I'm interested in is not the styling of that, but the relationship of that as it enhances that activity. And that directly connects to ideas of city-making.


Architecture is involved with the world, but at the same time it has a certain autonomy. This autonomy cannot be explained in terms of traditional logic because the most interesting parts of the work are non-verbal. They operate within the terms of the work, like any art.


So I am totally aware that when I defend the autonomy of art I'm going counter to my own development. It's more an instinctive reaction, meant to protect the private aspect of the work, the part I am most interested in and which nowadays is at risk in our culture.


Who I am as an architect and the history of my work - that's clear to anybody who hires me. But I come in literally with nothing in my brain about what the building will look like.




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