This monograph is the first to document all of the built work by Morphosis, a Los Angeles-based firm headed by Thom Mayne and one of the most influential American architecture firms of the past twenty years. The firm's non-Cartesian forms; beautifully executed, sculptural models; and complex, computer-generated drawings helped to usher in a new era of architectural experimentation in the early 1980s that was also embraced by upcoming firms such as Eric Owen Moss, Rem Koolhaas, and Coop Himmelblau. Mayne himself became a highly desirable teacher, critic, and lecturer and continues to lecture and participate in conferences and competitions in Europe, South America, Israel, and Asia. Unlike previous volumes on Morphosis, which almost exclusively focus on drawings and model photographs, this book is comprised of bold, documentary-style color photographs of completed buildings, 35 in total, with carefully chosen plans and drawings added to punctuate the photos. Over the past few years Morphosis has garnered increasing attention and praise for its completed buildings. In The New York Times in December 2001, architecture critic Herbert Muschamp called the firm's Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, California, "clearly the best American building of the year. Thom Maynes's integration of landscape, sociology, psychology and architectural form shows how to construct community out of diversity." Descriptive text and project lists are placed at the back of the book to maintain the book's emphasis on visual documentation of Morphosis's work and to dispel the misconception that the firm's theoretical work defies construction.
'This hefty volume offers full-page photographs for the most part. Smaller images and beautiful lucid drawings are pictured against fields of white or, more often, black. No fuss, no frills, no text. Explanatory remarks at the back of the book are in the form of an essay by Thom Mayne, who has single-handedly headed the office since the departure of Michael Rotondi in 1992. The title of the essay is 'Not Neutral', and finding a better description of these designs would be impossible.' (Bonnie van Breukelen, FRAME, The Netherlands (published in English)) 'This latest book, exquisitely produced by Phaidon...What can a book offer that can possibly compare with seeing the buildings for real? Here, despite the photographic glitz and artifice, is a provocative attempt to bring the buildings to life for those of us who can't be there.' (Elain Harwood, Architects' Journal) 'It's the first-ever complete collected Morphosis, a firm that has its roots in the industrial vernacular.' (Metropolitan Home) 'This handsome pictorial survey of [Morphosis's] 35 completed buildings and installations offer a thrilling ride through structures that tilt, fold, cantilever, and seem to defy gravity.' (LA Architect) 'The monumental work of Thom Mayne has long been overdue for a big coffee-table book, and Phaidon is happy to deliver.' (Dwell)