15. Thom Mayne

Design Director of Morphosis

You have to admire a guy gutsy enough to build an office building in Paris taller than the Eiffel Tower. By 2012, Thom Mayne's 68-story La Phare ("the Lighthouse") will rise over the La Defense district. The 2005 Pritzker Prize winner is famous for audacious buildings: the bunkerlike Caltrans District 7 Headquarters in Los Angeles that locals call the "Death Star"; the disjointed Cahill Center at Caltech; the mesh-covered science and art center at New York's Cooper Union. The Pritzker jury called him a "product of the turbulent '60s who has carried that rebellious attitude and fervent desire for change into his practice." Mayne, 67, is unabashed. "The age of recalcitrance is over," he said this spring. "The best solution is no longer just to regurgitate a 19th-century design." As if he ever did. -- by Linda Tischler

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