Eric Owen Moss: “I’ll See It When I Believe It”

© Photograph by Tom Bonner

Eric Owen Moss, MArch ’72, was born in Los Angeles, California. In 1973, after completing his studies at UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Harvard Graduate School of Design, he founded Eric Owen Moss Architects. Today, his firm is an award-winning 25-person office that designs and constructs projects in the United States and around the world. As documented in monographs on the firm’s work, such as Eric Owen Moss Construction Manual 1988–2008 (2009), Moss has placed a distinct emphasis on the act and process of building. His many essays on design theory and reflections on architecture as a discipline have been published in collections including Gnostic Architecture (1999) and Who Says What Architecture Is (2007). His most recent book The New City: I’ll See It When I Believe It (2016) documents his rehabilitation of more than fifty buildings in the Hayden Tract between Los Angeles and Santa Monica: that abandoned industrial district was transformed into an enclave of creative and new media companies, made possible by his close, decades-long collaboration with a developer.

Moss has lectured widely and held teaching positions at major universities around the world, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and the Royal Academy in Copenhagen. A longtime professor at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), he served as its director from 2002 to 2015. Among the many honors he has received are the AIA|LA Educator of the Year in 2006; the Most Admired Educator Award from the Design Futures Council in 2013; and the Jencks Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects, in 2011. In 2014 he was inducted into the National Academy and in 2016 he received the Austrian Decoration of Honor for Science and Art.

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