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Sert Council Tours Eric Owen Moss Architects

While GSD students in Cambridge were enduring record snowfall, Josep Lluís Sert Council members were in sunny California touring the work of Eric Owen Moss MArch '72. On February 24th, a group of nearly twenty alumni and friends gathered at the studio of Eric Owen Moss Architects (EOMA) in Culver City for a first-hand look at Moss’s work and vision. This exceptional event was part of series held exclusively for Sert Council members in appreciation of their support for the GSD.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Moss returned to the city in 1973 to start his eponymous firm immediately after graduating from the GSD. In addition to his practice, Moss has served as Director of SCI-Arc since 2002 (and recently gave his final address at the institution). Like many of his peers, the seventy-two-year-old architect continues to design, build, teach, lecture, and exhibit. His firm has accrued over 100 design awards to date, including multiple ones for projects Sert Council members toured.

Alumni Council Chair Michael Lehrer MArch '78 welcomed guests to the event with inspired words about the GSD and its talented community. Moss then presented his design approach, insights into his practice, and a brief history of his Culver City projects to the Sert Council members. A guided walking tour around Culver City followed—including EOMA-designed sites with colorful names like The Waffle, Samitaur Tower, The Umbrella, and The Pterodactyl.

While each project has its own program and aesthetic, they all share a common thread: the conversion of abandoned industrial buildings into avant-garde office space for creative professionals. One example is Samitaur Tower, completed in 2010, which anchors the neighborhood and projects a variety of visual information for passersby, whether they’re traveling by foot, in cars, or on a new light rail line. Another project, The Pterodactyl, offers glass-enclosed office space on top of a parking podium. The structure rises out of the garage’s steel column grid, and mimics the building’s materiality with an attractive roofline of asphalt-like, tilted plates. Each of the visited EOMA projects seem to question the conventions of traditional building, pushing boundaries to create new, hybridized typologies, and it was remarkable to experience a large body of a single architect’s work in such a concentrated geographic area—no car required.

Jason Ro MArch ’06 of Ro|Rockett Design felt the tour provided a unique opportunity to engage, saying, “As a newcomer to Los Angeles, and a relatively young alumnus, the event was a wonderful way to connect with parts of the city that I haven’t explored, as well as to connect with the larger GSD community. We are a new practice and are constantly encouraged and educated by the examples of alumni that we see ahead of us.”

Following the tour, guests returned to the EOMA studio for a reception which lasted late into the evening. Moss invited the Sert Council members to SCI-Arc a week later, this time for a conversation between Moss and fellow GSD alumnus and collaborator Frank Gehry MArch ’57.

The Josep Lluís Sert Council hosts member events around the world on an annual basis. These exclusive events build community and acknowledge the phenomenal work of our alumni. Sert Council members contribute a $1,000 annually to any fund at the GSD. Special membership levels are available for alumni who have graduated less than 10 years ago.

For more information on joining the Sert Council, please contact Nicole Freeman at nfreeman@gsd.harvard.edu or 617-496-1400.