CACP Speaker Series features founder and principal of Toshiko Mori Architect on Sept. 9

By Nicole Chavez
Communications & Development Coordinator

(August 26, 2015) -- The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning’s 2015-16 Speaker Series begins with Toshiko Mori, the Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and principal of Manhattan-based Toshiko Mori Architect. She is also the founder of VisionArc, a think-tank which connects local and global issues to mobilize design initiatives for a more sustainable future. Her talk, “Architecture Connects,” will be presented free and open to the public at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 9 in the Buena Vista Building’s Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BV 1.328) on the UTSA Downtown Campus.

Mori is a socially engaged, environmentally responsive architect whose work is driven by concept rather than style. Her intelligent approach to sensitive siting strategies and innovative use of materials reflects a creative integration of design and technology. She is often noted for her manipulation of natural light and thoughtful sequencing of rooms. Mori’s application of research-based design has resulted in numerous invitations to lectures and conferences around the world. She frequently speaks about topics such as scarcity-driven design, the future of urban environments, and the role of the arts in improving communities. 

Established in 1981, Toshiko Mori Architect is known for a diverse body of projects that have received numerous design awards. The firm highly values material exploration, technological invention, and theoretical provocation. Recent work includes theater, library, and museum projects in New York City, the Hudson Yard Park and Boulevard, institutional projects for Brown University and Syracuse University, and a lab facility for the Novartis Cambridge Campus. TMA is also engaged in master plans for NYU, the Buffalo Botanical Gardens, and the Brooklyn Public Library.

In March of 2015, Mori and her team completed work on Thread, a cultural center and artist residency in the tiny Senegalese village of Sinthian. The project began as a class assignment at Harvard GSD and became a reality when Mori offered her firm’s services pro bono and hired a former student as an associate to adapt the structure he had designed for the class. One of the first community centers of its kind in the region, Thread was built over nine months by local laborers and craftsmen employing traditional techniques and modern construction methods. The pitched roof siphons rainwater and channels it into a reservoir, collecting around 200,000 gallons of water a year. The design was honored with an AIA New York chapter award and was selected for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Mori taught at the Cooper Union School of Architecture from 1983 until 1995, when she joined the Harvard GSD faculty with tenure. She has also been a visiting faculty member at Columbia University and Yale University. Mori has received numerous awards and her work has been exhibited and published internationally. She received the Academy Award in Architecture, from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Medal of Honor from the AIA New York Chapter. In 2014, Mori was named to Architectural Digest’s AD100 list, which honors the world’s top talents in architecture and design.

UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning Speaker Series
Sept. 9 – Toshiko Mori of Harvard GSD, Toshiko Mori Architect, and VisionArc
Sept. 23 – James McClintock, Endowed Professor of Polar & Marine Biology at UAB
Oct. 14 – Andres Jaque, Founder and Director of Andres Jaque Architects/Office for Political Innovation

The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning Speaker Series brings design professionals from around the world to UTSA to share their expertise on a variety of topics with the local community. For this event, free parking is available in UTSA parking lot D-3 under I-35. For more information, contact Nicole Chavez at nicole.chavez@utsa.edu or 210.458.3121.