architects, not architecture (AnA), the platform that invites well-known architects to talk about themselves, rather than their work, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a ‘virtual world tour’. with this series, AnA brings the architectural community closer together by taking participants on a tour around the globe to visit selected cities and virtually meet some of their most relevant architects.

 after hosting talks with kerstin thompson, john wardle, thomas heatherwick, and ma yansong, AnA now heads to the west coast to check in with two of LA’s leading architects: michael maltzan and thom mayne.


as a media partner of the event, designboom brings you the talk, which can be seen in full in the video at the top of this page. watch each architect’s segment below and register for the next talk — with new york-based architects steven holl and elizabeth diller on march 4, 2021 — here.



michael maltzan — talk and interview



michael maltzan, the founder of michael maltzan architecture, took the audience on an exciting journey through his past and shared his unique relationship with architecture as he connected the dots that make up his personal and professional path. maltzan remembers his childhood in the suburbs of new york city which, though characterized by their repetitiveness, ‘forced (him) to see things in a more experiential, subtle way, to look for important differences and distinctions in the built landscape and the semi natural environment.’


this way of seeing the world around him would later, influenced by his education, evolve in a way that allowed him ‘a more physical connection’ to his environment. furthermore, he explores the conflicting influences of both conservative religion as well as the us’ technological advances and the space program he was exposed as a child growing up during that time. maltzan discusses the political and societal changes he observed in his first years in los angeles, a city that reminded him of his childhood and whose daring architects he found to be deeply inspiring. watch michael maltzan’s talk and interview above.



thom mayne — talk and interview



thom mayne is the founding partner of morphosis architects, with offices in los angeles, new york, and shanghai. apart from his renowned projects realized at a wide range of scales and typologies, mayne also engages actively in architectural education as a co-founder of SCI-arc, a university in LA. mayne, who received the pritzker architecture prize in 2005, dives into the societal and political landscape of the 60s and mid-70s, a period that would deeply influence him and his work.


mayne mentions many of the architects he admires most and explains that he was particularly inspired by their way of seeing architecture as an art form. while studying architecture, mayne found architectural thinking to be conservative and ‘definitely not risk taking’. that is why, during his first 20 years of practice, he ‘fought for the autonomy of architecture as it is an autonomous art form’ which he says, despite having found his voice and gained creative freedom, he will never give up doing. watch thom mayne’s talk and interview above.



watch both michael maltzan and thom mayne in discussion with AnA host fermín tribaldos



watch michael maltzan and thom mayne in discussion with AnA host fermín tribaldos above, and stay tuned as architects, not architecture continues with its ‘virtual world tour’.