Martha Thorne

Martha Thorne

Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design


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. 

In recent years, Ms. Thorne has led the architecture selection process for various public institutions. In this role, it was crucial to define a process and assist trustees and/or building committee through it in order to identify and select an appropriate architect for the commission at hand. In this type of professional activity, as in her role with the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Thorne does not participate in the actual decision, rather assists in framing the discussion, gathers the relevant information, and facilitates a focused analysis and dialogue,  which includes clarifying goals, needs, criteria, etc.

From 1996 to 2005, she worked as a curator at the Department of Architecture at The Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to her curatorial role of research, exhibition production and collection development, she also formed part of the team, led by Kristine Fallon,  that developed a comprehensive computer-based program for collecting, archiving, and making accessible digital design data.

Prior to her tenure in Chicago, Ms. Thorne resided in Madrid, where she organized and produced exhibitions and publications on architecture for various public institutions, and authored numerous articles on contemporary architecture for journals and newspapers.

Ms. Thorne received a Master of City Planning degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Affairs from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She undertook additional studies at the London School of Economics.

She served for six years as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and for three years on the Board of Advisors of the International Archive of Women in Architecture.