Mack Scogin Merrill Elam

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Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects is an American architecture firm based at Atlanta, Georgia. The two principal architects are husband and wife Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam. The firm was first founded in 1984 as Parker and Scogin, and later, from 1984 to 2000, as Scogin Elam and Bray, and from 2000 as Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects. The architects are well known for their modernist buildings, often playing on polemical themes. The architects have received numerous architectural prizes and awards for their works.


Mack Scogin studied architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology, completing a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1966. He is the Kajima Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he was chairman of the Department of Architecture from 1990 to 1995. He also taught at the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University in 2003–2004.

Merrill Elam first studied architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology, completing a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1971, before completing a master's degree in business administration at Georgia State University in 1982. She has also studied briefly at Harvard Graduate School of Design. She has held several positions in schools of architecture in the USA and Canada, including the Harry S. Shure Visiting Professorship at the University of Virginia in 2010, Visiting Chair in Architectural Design at the University of Toronto in 2005, Visiting Professor at Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University, 2003–2004, Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at The University of Texas at Austin in 2003, Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at Yale University in 1996, and Research Professor of Architecture at University of Illinois at Chicago in 1994.

Critical response[edit]

The buildings of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects have received much critical interpretation in architectural journals. But they have also attracted clients with avant-gardist aspirations. "Unusually extroverted" was what magistrates asked Mack Scogin Merrill Elam to deliver for the design of a $63 million federal courthouse in Austin, Texas.[1] New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote that the building exhibited a tension "between the desire to uphold core democratic values and a growing sense of instability".[2] The building is conceived as an eight-story cube, its interlocking forms resting on a concrete base. Deep recesses set into the building create a play of light and shadow. The visual game continues inside, where the walls and walkways enclosing a lobby atrium dissolve into a cubist composition of intersecting planes. The lightness of the forms recalls the theoretical structures of Frederick Kiesler, the utopian who imagined weightless buildings suspended in air. But if you circle around to the back of the model, the upper floors begin to shift, setting the entire structure off balance.

Notable works[edit]

  • Yale University Health Services Center, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (2006)
  • Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center and Davis Garage, Wellesley College (2006)
  • New Student Housing Project — Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (2005)
  • Harvard University Allston Campus and First Science Buildings — Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2005)
  • Gates Center for Computer Science — Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2005)
  • Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center — Clemson University, Greenville, South Carolina (2004)
  • Zhongkai Sheshan Villas, Shanghai, China (2004)
  • Jean Grae Hargrove Music Library, University of California, Berkeley (2004)
  • Knowlton Hall, Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, Ohio State University (2004)
  • Bailey HouseStudio (2003)
  • Mountain Tree House (2003)
  • Willow Street Residence Hall, Tulane University (2003)
  • Lee B. Philmon Branch Library (2003)
  • Nomentana Residence (1999)
  • Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries (1996)
  • Don and Sylvia Shaw Salon and Spa (1996)
  • John J. Ross – William C. Blakley Law Library, Arizona State University (1994)
  • Buckhead Branch Library (1993)
  • Turner Village at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University (1992)
  • House Chmar (1992)
  • Carol Cobb Turner Branch Library (1992)
  • Clayton County Headquarters Library (1989)
  • High Museum at Georgia-Pacific Center (1988)


  • Mark Linder, Scogin Elam & Bray. Rizzoli, New York, 1992.
  • Jason Smart (ed.), Mack & Merrill: The Work of Scogin Elam and Bray Architects, Michigan Architecture Papers, no.7, University of Michigan College of Architecture + Urban Planning, 1999.
  • Todd Gannon, Teresa Ball (eds), Mack Scogin/Merrill Elam: Knowlton Hall, Chronicle Books, 2005.


External links[edit]

  • Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects website