Thom Moran | Lecture Video

The Architectural League Prize 2015
Thom Moran

Ann Arbor, MI-based designer Thom Moran uses “humor to investigate the relationships between architecture, environments and objects.” He employs visual irony, incongruity, and “cognitive slapstick” to find “where space can be funny.”

In his League Prize lecture, titled “Funny Thing,” Moran offers an overview of aspects of humor theory — with references to David Byrne, Sesame Street, and Andy Kaufman, among others — to explain his interest in comical work and the latent potential for humor in architectural practice. Between You & Me is a series of aluminum foil sculptural forms that act as updated caryatids, neither columns nor human figures, “with hilarious and disturbing results.” That exploration, between an inanimate object and the human body, was the basis for A Few Requests, Moran’s installation in the League Prize exhibition. In all his work, Moran seeks to “mess up that clear relationship between fantasy and reality.”


Thom Moran received his B.S. in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001 and his M.Arch from Yale University in 2007. His exhibitions include Grounds for Detroit at the Venice Biennale in 2012; We Are Here at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2011; and Some True Stories at Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2008. Moran is an assistant professor of architecture at Taubman College at the University of Michigan.

The Architectural League Prize, established in 1981, recognizes exemplary and provocative work by young practitioners and provides a public forum for the exchange of their ideas.

Visit the 2015 League Prize feature for more information about this year’s winners and the theme of Authenticity. See the complete list of past winners here.