Ann Arbor, MI
Neil Denari was born in Fort Worth, Texas and studied at the University of Houston (B.Arch. 1980) and Harvard University (M.Arch. 1982). After graduate school, Denari worked as a technical intern in Paris (La Courneuve) for Aerospatiale Helicoptres (now Airbus). In 1983, Denari moved to New York where his work explored the technical and formal impact of technology on architecture. While there, he worked as a senior designer at James Stewart Polshek and Partners, exhibited his speculative work at numerous museums and galleries, and in1986, at 29, was the youngest member of 40 Architects under age 40. Also in 1986, the Cooper Hewitt Museum purchased a drawing by Neil Denari, the first of seven major museums to have his work in their collection. The others include the Museum of Modern Art New York, MOMA San Francisco, the Denver Art Museum, the Heinz-Carnegie Collection in Pittsburgh, the FRAC Center in Orleans, France, and the Museum of Modern Art in Sydney, Australia.
Denari shifted his practice to Los Angeles in 1988 which later became Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA), Inc. in 1998. In the late 1980’s Denari’s work began to achieve international recognition, most notably through his 3rd place finish in the Tokyo International Forum Competition. This launched his now 18 year association with Japan, a country where he has taught and lectured on a regular basis. While teaching at the Shibaura Institute of Technology in 1990, Denari lived in Tokyo. His experiences there, like those of Paris, are a constant reference on phenomena as diverse as urban morphology and fashion design. His first project built in Japan (1996), the Interrupted Projections exhibition space, has now been followed by a series of bank projects for the Mitsubishi Trust Financial Group and other experience economy projects. With NMDA, Denari has focused on a diverse range of design endeavors that look at manifold issues pertaining to architectural speculation.
He is a tenured Professor in the Architecture and Urban Design Department at UCLA and the author of two books, “Interrupted Projections” and “Gyroscopic Horizons.” In 2002, he was given both the Richard Recchia Award and the Samuel F.B. Morse Medal for architecture from the National Academy of Design in New York. In 2008, Denari received an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 2009, he received a Fellowship from the United States Artists organization. He is a registered architect in New York and California.