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Martha Thorne

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Martha Thorne
Thorne in 2019
Born (1953-03-06) March 6, 1953 (age 71)
Alma materState University of New York at Buffalo
University of Pennsylvania
PracticePritzker Architecture Prize
The Art Institute of Chicago

Martha Thorne is an American architectural academic, curator, editor, and author. She is the Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and Dean in the architecture school at IE University in Madrid. Formerly, she was a curator in architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago.


Martha Thorne was born on March 6, 1953, in the United States. Her focus is international contemporary architecture.

Thorne holds degrees from State University of New York at Buffalo (Bachelor of Arts, Urban Affairs) and University of Pennsylvania (Master's degree, City Planning).[1] She continued her education at the London School of Economics.[2]

Since 2005, she has served as the Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. From 1996 until 2005, she was Associate Curator for the Department of Architecture at The Art Institute of Chicago. Her duties at The Art Institute of Chicago included publication development, study participating, and collection curation.[3] She also was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and served on the International Archive of Women in Architecture's Board of Advisors.[2] She currently serves on an international jury for the award, ArcVision: Women and Architecture, a prize honouring outstanding women architects. She also lectures and assists with international architectural competitions.[4] Prior to her appointment as dean of IE University's Madrid and Segovia School of Architecture and Design in 2015, Thorne served as Associate Dean for External Relations at IE School of Architecture.[5]

When there is globalization in any field there's the danger that every place becomes similar, or in this case the danger that schools can become similar or standardized, all trying to approach architecture and the academics of architecture in the same way ... I think what's really interesting is to try to look at schools and see how they try to differentiate themselves.

-Martha Thorne[6]

Style and work[edit]

Her main inspiration themes are the contemporary city and how architecture, design, and urbanism can contribute to sustainability and resilience; and how architecture and design education can evolve in both content and pedagogy to be more relevant for today’s challenges. From 1995 to 2005, she worked as curator in Department of Architecture at The Art Institute of Chicago. She has written numerous articles for books and journals on contemporary architecture and the city.[7]

Selected works[edit]

  • 1992, Visiones para Madrid: cinco ideas arquitectónicas, Zaha Hadid, Mikko Heikkinen & Markku Komonen, Hans Hollein, Alvaro Siza, Stanley Tigerman: [exposition], Centro Cultural Conde Duque, 16 noviembre-10 enero 1993
  • 1994, Museos y arquitectura : nuevas perspectivas [Exposición del 10.05 al 12.06.1994 en la sala de exposiciones del Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid / comisaria Martha Thorne]
  • 1999, The Pritzker Architecture Prize : the first twenty years (with Colin Amery; et al.)
  • 2000, Rafael Moneo, Audrey Jones Beck Building, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (with Joe C Aker; Gary Zvonkovic; José Rafael Moneo)
  • 2001, Modern trains and splendid stations: Architecture, design and rail travel for the twenty-first century
  • 2002, David Adler, architect : the elements of style (with Richard Guy Wilson; Pauline C Metcalf)
  • 2004, Unbuilt Chicago (with Art Institute of Chicago)
  • 2006, Informe sobre el fomento de la arquitectura. Anexo (with Fundación Arquitectura Contemporánea)


  1. ^ "2015 Jury Members". The Pritzker Architecture Prize. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Martha Thorne Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury". Arquideas. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Martha Thorne". Archipreneur. 28 June 2019. Retrieved 2022-10-13.
  4. ^ Martha Thorne IE School of Architecture and Design
  5. ^ Massie, Caroline (8 September 2015). "Martha Thorne Appointed Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design". The Journal of the American Institute of Architects.
  6. ^ Watkins, Katie (11 June 2015). "AD Interviews: Martha Thorne / IE School of Architecture and Design". ArchDaily. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  7. ^ Thorne, Martha. "MARTHA THORNE Dean IE School of Architecture and Design". share architects.com.