Martha Thorne

Martha Thorne

Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design

Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize


Martha Thorne is Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design. Since 2005, she has served as the Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, popularly known as the “Nobel Prize for Architecture.” Her interests have always focused on international contemporary architecture, cities in evolution and changes in the role of the architect.

Prior to joining IE University, she was Associate Curator of the Department of Architecture at The Art Institute of Chicago. Her responsibilities involved curating exhibitions, developing publications, and participating in a ground-breaking study on collecting, archiving and exhibiting digitally created design materials. She is the co-author of the books Masterpieces of Chicago Architecture and Skyscrapers: The New Millennium, editor and author for The Pritzker Architecture Prize: The First Twenty Years, and author of numerous articles for architectural journals and encyclopedias.

Martha Thorne received a Master’s in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Affairs from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She undertook additional studies at the London School of Economics. She currently serves on an international jury for the award, ArcVision: Women and Architecture, a prize honoring outstanding women architects. She also lectures and assists with international architectural competitions.

The IE School of Architecture and Design’s architecture program uses a more practice-led approach which prioritizes group work, multi-disciplinary learning and an exploration of entrepreneurialism and “alternative practices”, looking at new areas into which architects may want to move including Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. This evolution from the traditional architectural hierarchy and a narrow definition of architectural practice to new areas, technologies and ways of working is an exciting opportunity to for architects to have a broader impact. Martha believes architects need to think beyond building design and instead foster an entrepreneurial spirit to innovate in the built environment.

Articles featuring Martha Thorne

Urban Placemaking: RENAZCA Initiates Transformation Azca Financial District in Madrid

RENAZCA has selected a design team to lead the transformation of Madrid’s AZCA district, poised to foster the area’s urban, economic and social revitalization. The team was chosen after a two-stage competition as part of a larger initiative to reactivate public space with the support of the private sector.

The Future of Architectural Education & The Pritzker Prize in a Globalized World

Martha Thorne, Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design and Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize, shares her thoughts on the future of architectural education and the role of architects in a world of rapid urbanization. The fields of architecture and design are undergoing great changes due to globalization, new technology and their expansion from traditional practice to new areas and ways of working.

Disruptive Branding and the Power of Design with Jacob Benbunan

This week’s interview is with Jacob Benbunan, co-author of the book “Disruptive Branding” and founder and CEO of independent global consultancy Saffron, an agency specializing in brand, experience and innovation strategy and design. He founded the company in 2001 together with late mentor and friend, Wally Olins, who passed away in 2014 and is widely […]

The Archipreneur Insights Report 03 is out now

The Archipreneur Insights Report 03 covers key aspects, tools, people and companies which drive innovation within architecture and the built environment. In the Archipreneur Insights Report 03 we explore 3D printing in architecture with features about the design-driven tech companies Aectual from Amsterdam and 3F Studio from Munich. Both focus on digitally printed architectural products. […]

BIM lets us Design Buildings that were never before possible

Architects have reaped the benefits of computer-aided design (CAD) software for some time now. Not having to draw everything by hand has certainly saved time, but it never really changed the game. That is, until recently; now the software has become so smart that it not only makes designing buildings simpler, it teaches you about […]

Products featuring Martha Thorne

Report #03

3D Printing Architecture,
Future of Education &
Pritzker Prize and more…

In the third edition of Archipreneur Insights we explore 3D Printing in Architecture, Future of Architectural Education and the Pritzker Prize, Architect and Developer, Websites for Architects, Business Skills for Architects and much more…

Quotes from Martha Thorne

  • "We’re at a frontier in architecture, where the profession is changing or must change."
  • "This ­[architectural] hierarchy has evolved into a much more collaborative process. For this, architects need new skills"
  • "Students need an entrepreneurial mindset because traditional architecture offices may not exist exactly the way we’ve envisioned them."
  • "We need to get away from the idea that the architectural profession is twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to one where it is intensive but team-centric."
Join the Archipreneur Newsletter
Get Our Best Content on Architecture, Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Weekly Delivered to Your Inbox for FREE.