“It is impossible, by examining his work chronologically, to find an evolutionary logic to it…Moss proposes an architecture that is free of consolidated points of reference and featuring strong elements of indeterminateness, ambiguity and apparent casualness.” (1)
On 6 December the RIBA headquarters will be the venue for a public lecture by Eric Owen Moss and where he will receive this year’s Jencks Award. The annual award is given to an individual or practice that has made a major contribution to both the theory and the practice of architecture. With a career in architecture spanning 30 years which also covers teaching and writing, Moss is a worthy recipient of the award and he joins a list of winners that last year included Steven Holl and Charles Correa in 2009. The 2011 Jencks Award lecture will be chaired by writer Charles Jencks .
The event will also be a chance to discover from Moss himself some of the thinking behind his work. In his book Gnostic Architecture, Moss stresses the unique and personal responses architects must make when designing, free from any orthodoxy (2). In one chapter, he brings together briefly some of the disparate objects and ideas that have influenced him in some intangible way, including: Paris, the Nazca lines and the work of Rothko and Henry Moore.
In Culver City, where his firm is based, Moss has over many years created a series of careful interventions and experimental designs which have been influential in revitalising the area. The Samitaur Tower is the latest of his buildings in the city; with viewing platforms, changing displays and amphitheatres, this 72ft-high tower is part of a way to reimagine Los Angeles as a denser, more vertical place (3). No doubt, next month his achievements in Culver City where he ” turned a ‘nowhere’ into a ‘somewhere’ “ (4), as well as his international work, will be discussed by the architect himself and Jencks.
References (British Architectural Library)
1. G. Paola, Eric Owen Moss: The Uncertainty of Doing, Skira: Milan 2006, p.7
2. E. O. Moss, Gnostic Architecture, Monacelli: New York 1999
2. Icon, 2011 January p.41
3. G. Paola, Eric Owen Moss: The Uncertainty of Doing, Skira: Milan 2006, p.22