John Edwards Lecture, Event Building, Project, Photo, News, Design, Property, Image

Event by The Architecture Foundation in London, UK

Thom Mayne and Frédéric Flamand

3 Nov 2009

Architecture Foundation Event

The Architecture Foundation presents Thom Mayne and Frédéric Flamand for the inaugural John Edwards Lecture

10 Nov 2009

The Architecture Foundation is pleased to announce the participants in the inaugural annual John Edwards Lecture are founder of Morphosis Architects, Pritzker Prize Winner and newly appointed Member of President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Thom Mayne, and Director of the National Ballet of Marseille and renowned choreographer Frédéric Flamand. The lecture takes place at 7.00pm, on Monday 7 December 2009 at Tate Modern.

Thom Mayne
photo : Bill O’Connor

The John Edwards Lecture is a new annual dialogue, curated by The Architecture Foundation, which presents leading international architects in conversation with influential figures from other disciplines, from artists and filmmakers to writers and philosophers.

Thom Mayne is an architectural provocateur, fearlessly devoted to the present and the future and the negotiation between concept and reality. His architecture appears as futuristic constructivism; its jagged forms are loaded with rigorous ecological and social considerations.

As founder and design director of Morphosis, Mayne speaks for a practice dedicated to interdisciplinary research and design, and architecture as a collaborative enterprise. Morphosis’ work has been the subject of major solo exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou and the Netherlands Architecture Institute and has been featured in the past four Venice Architectural Biennales.

This year, their new building for Cooper Union in New York opened to widespread international acclaim; major projects for Shanghai, Dallas and Paris are currently underway. In 2003 Mayne completed a 2,400 square foot stage set for Frédéric Flamand’s production of Silent Collisions.

Frédéric Flamand has staged dance performances in empty swimming pools, abandoned churches and steel mills: anywhere that allows him to investigate the point of intersection between the body and built form. This interest has led him into a number of fruitful and acclaimed collaborations with some of the most important figures in contemporary architecture, including Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel and Elizabeth Diller & Ricardo Scofidio.

His choreography freely mixes the traditions of ballet with his own formative grounding in avant-garde theatre and contemporary dance. It never seeks a signature style, but rather allows the changing environments of his work’s setting to evolve an ever-translating physical language in constant dialogue with technology, the city, and other art forms. For his next collaboration in 2010, Flamand will work with Chinese artist and architect, Ai Weiwei.

In 2003 Mayne and Flamand’s Silent Collisions inaugurated Body ? City, the first International Festival of Contemporary Dance at the Venice Biennale, programmed by Flamand as Artistic Director. Freely inspired by Italo Calvino’s book Invisible Cities, they collaboratively developed an approach to the city that emphasized urbanity as a place of exchanged words, desires and memories through the medium of the human body. Choreographed as a dynamic system of tensions, ruptures and conflicts, these were in turn framed and influenced by a moveable, jointed set design.

The first John Edwards Lecture, a conversation between Mayne and Flamand, supported by the Estate of Francis Bacon, will investigate the rhythms of urban life, the structuring of space through the built environment and the body, and architecture as a form of urban choreography.

The John Edwards Lecture is supported by the Estate of Francis Bacon

John Edwards Lecture – Event Details

Date: 7.00pm, 7 Dec 2009.
Venue: Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG
Tickets: Standard: £11, Architecture Foundation Members: £8, Concessions: £8.
020 7887 8888 /

Thom Mayne is co-founder of the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and Distinguished Professor at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, where he extensively researches and publishes on contemporary urbanism. Mayne founded Morphosis in 1972 as an interdisciplinary and collective practice involved in experimental design and research.

Under Mayne’s direction, the firm has been the subject of numerous exhibitions throughout the world, including large solo exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati, the Walker Arts Institute in Minneapolis, and the Netherlands Architectural Institute. Morphosis holds permanent offices in Los Angeles and New York. Recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Thom Mayne’s architectural projects include the San Francisco Federal Building, the Cooper Union academic building in Manhattan, Phare Tower in Paris, and the FLOAT House – an affordable, sustainable, and pre-fabricated housing prototype in New Orleans.

Frédéric Flamand has been General Director of Le Ballet National de Marseille and the city’s École Nationale Supérieure de Danse since 2004. He set up the experimental dance group Plan K in 1973, creating and operating the multi-arts centre in Brussels to which it moved; a 4,000 metre squared former sugar refinery which attracted many artists from different disciplines, including William Burroughs, Charlemagne Palestine, Thomas Schütte, and Joy Division.

In 1991 Frédéric Flamand was appointed Artistic Director of the Ballet Royal de Wallonie, a neo-classical company which he renamed Charleroi/Danses, Centre chorégraphique de la Communauté française de Belgique to emphasise the company’s precise location in an industrial city under redevelopment and the different missions it had. Frédéric Flamand’s interest in establishing a dialogue between dance and other artistic disciplines led to him being offered the post of Artistic Director of the Venice Biennale’s first International Contemporary Dance Festival in 2003. Frédéric Flamand has been teaching at the University of Architecture in Venice since April 2004, running interdisciplinary creative workshops centred on dance.

The Architecture Foundation is a non-profit agency for contemporary architecture, urbanism and culture. We cultivate new talent and new ideas. Through our diverse programmes we facilitate international and interdisciplinary exchange, stimulate critical engagement amongst professionals, policy makers and a broad public, and shape the quality of the built environment. We are independent, agile, inclusive and influential. Central to our activities is the belief that architecture enriches lives.

Location: London SE1 9TG, UK

Thom Mayne co-founded Morphosis

Thom Mayne
photo : Richard Schulman

Tate Modern Building, London
Herzog & de Meuron Architects
Tate Modern
photo © Adrian Welch

Morphosis Architects : background on the studio and alphabetical list of buildings

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