The 2023 recipient of the Philip Hanson Hiss Award was Toshiko Mori, an acclaimed architect known for her ecologically sensitive, site-responsive design philosophy and inventive use of materials. The annual award was established to honor today’s pioneers of innovative design within the built environment, and to celebrate the contributions of Philip Hanson Hiss III (1910-1988), the primary catalyst, impresario and promoter of the Sarasota School of Architecture, with the hope of inspiring others to follow his example.
Throughout her nearly four-decade long career Mori has established herself as a leader of contemporary architectural thought through a practice characterized by site-specificity and innovation, both in material and design, solving the unique sets of challenges presented by a given landscape. Born in Kobe, Japan, and educated at the Cooper Union in New York, Mori is also a distinguished educator — in 1995, she became the first woman to receive tenure at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. This facet of her career is also reflected in her architectural practice, with the buildings of many educational and public institutions — from the Fass School and Teachers’ Residence in Senegal to the Brooklyn Public Library. Having described herself as being engaged in a game of chess with the great names of American Modernism, including members of the Sarasota School, she has upheld the intellectual underpinnings of the movement. This is exemplified in the restoration projects in her portfolio, notably including the addition of two pavilions to the Rudolph-designed Burkhardt-Cohen House property, just outside of Sarasota.
Photo: Ralph Gibson
2023 Honoree: Toshiko Mori
Toshiko Mori is the Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and was chair of the Department of Architecture from 2002 to 2008. She is principal of Toshiko Mori Architect, which she established in 1981 in New York City. Mori taught at the Cooper Union School of Architecture from 1983, until joining the Harvard GSD faculty with tenure in 1995. She has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2016, and was elected to both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design in 2020. Additionally, she is an Independent Board Member of French software company Dassault Systèmes.
Her firm’s recent work includes master plans for the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch and the Buffalo Botanical Gardens; “Thread: Artists’ Residency and Cultural Center” in Sinthian, Senegal; “Fass School and Teachers’ Residence” in Fass, Senegal; and the expansion of the Brown University Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. Their projects have won awards from Architizer, The Plan, and AIA, and have been exhibited multiple times at the Venice Biennale. This year, the firm was listed on Architectural Digest’s AD100 Hall of Fame, as well as Elle Décor’s A-List Titans.
Recent publications include a 2022 monograph issue with Steven Holl for Domus titled Blurred Boundaries, a feature in The Japan Times’ Sustainable Japan publication, features in both The New Yorker and AIA NYC’s Archtober for the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch renovation, Fass School and Teachers’ Residence in Architectural Record, and an essay in the November 2020 issue of Domus titled “Architecture for Resource Stability.” In 2020, the firm published two new monographs, one for A+U magazine and another with ArchiTangle titled Toshiko Mori Architect: Observations. Toshiko will partner with Steven Holl to guest edit Domus in 2023. Toshiko Mori is also featured in a 2022 film by ArchDaily titled Women in Architecture.
Mori’s strong research-based design approach has been commended in invitations to lectures and conferences around the world, including panels held at the MoMA, Guggenheim Museum, and the G1 Summit in Japan. Nikkei Business recently listed Mori as one of 50 Japanese Changing the World; Newsweek Japan listed her as one of 100 Japanese People the World Respects; and Forbes Japan featured her as one of 100 Self Made Women. Most recently, she was the featured speaker at Pratt Institute’s 2022 Commencement, and during 2022 was invited to deliver features lectures at five graduate architecture programs.
Mori’s recent awards and honors include the 2022 MASterworks Award for Best Restoration; the 2021 Isamu Noguchi Award; the Louis Auchincloss Prize from the Museum of the City of New York in 2020; the ACSA Tau Sigma Delta National Honor Society Gold Medal in 2016; Architectural Record’s Women in Design Leader Award in 2019; and the AIA / ASCA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education in 2019. Her project “Thread: Artists’ Residency and Cultural Center” was awarded the AIA 2017 Institute Honor Award for Architecture and was one of the winners of the inaugural FIBRA Award for Contemporary Plant Fiber-based Architecture in 2019. Recently, her project “Fass School and Teachers’ Residences” won the 2021 AIA Architecture Award.
THE HISS DINNER
Saturday, March 11, 2023