Russell N. Thomsen is from Southern California and graduated from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. He did postgraduate study in Florence, Italy and also worked for the well-known, radical architects SuperStudio. Thomsen has practiced as a licensed architect in California since 1989, first as a founding partner in the firm, COA, and then as founding partner in IDEA with Eric Kahn. He currently practices as principle of RNThomsen ARCHITECTURE in downtown Los Angeles. He is the recipient of the Architectural League Prize and Emerging Voices awards, both sponsored by the Architectural League of New York, and a grant from the Graham Foundation for the Arts in support of the ongoing project Thinking the Future of Auschwitz. The Y House in Tokyo received a first award in the Best of American Architecture competition (2009), sponsored by Architect magazine. In addition to teaching at SCI-Arc, he has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, SCI-Arc Vico Morcote in Switzerland, the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen, Kyoto Seika University, and Arizona State University.