It is awards season, the time of year for top lists, best-ofs, and nominations for prizes not yet won. The American Institute of Architects announced its own version of the Oscars, and we want to offer a shout-out to Thom Mayne, the 2013 AIA Gold Medalist, and to Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, for winning the 2013 AIA Architecture Firm Award. These designers have produced exemplary work that we've been proud to publish in the pages of this magazine for many years.
In fact, as you've already noticed, we're featuring in this issue the latest project from Mayne's firm, Morphosis: the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. Mayne once told me that he suffered from anxiety dreams about figures of authority–clearly the nightmare of a California rebel designer, whose innovative and aggressive aesthetic only gradually won the hearts of major patrons. The General Services Administration and other key government and institutional clients caught up with his edgy ideas–and maybe Mayne has mellowed a bit, too. The architect of such iconic civic buildings as the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters in Los Angeles (RECORD, January 2005) and the San Francisco Federal Building (RECORD, August 2007), he found himself revising his initial sprawling, angular design for the Perot Museum into a cube, in response to the client's wishes for stackable, more conventional galleries. Still, the building is full of elements that are, blessedly, way out there, including an angled glass box that carries an escalator, and an exterior wrapped in tissue-like shirred concrete–think Issey Miyake on speed.