At 60 years young this year, Thom Mayne, the onetime combative designer of experimental private houses and restaurants, has entered his stride, with a string of large public projects. His Caltrans District 7 Headquarters and Science Center School at Exposition Park are both nearing completion. His Big Apple plum commissions include a building for Cooper Union School and the design of the Olympic Village in Queens for New York-s bid for the 2012 Olympics. He's also on one of the teams short-listed for the proposed redevelopment of Grand Avenue. Frances Anderton talks with Mayne about the evolution of his work and his personality.