Legacy of Leadership

Legacy of Leadership

April 02, 2014

Gin D. Wong, FAIA Conference Center, Harris Hall


The Deans of the USC School of Architecture


As part of the celebration of 100 years of architectural education at USC, the School of Architecture is pleased to present "Legacy of Leadership: The Deans of the USC School of Architecture."  Please join us for an evening with four former deans:  Sam T. Hurst, FAIA, Ralph Knowles, Robert S. Harris, FAIA and Victor Regnier, FAIA.  Each of the Deans will make a short presentation about important legacies of their era in the school, followed by a panel session of the former deans moderated by current Dean Qingyun Ma.


Past Deans (left to right): Samuel T Hurst, FAIA, Robert Harris, FAIA, Victor Regnier, FAIA, Ralph Knowles, Qingyun Ma, AIA.


Qingyun Ma, AIA, is a designer and educator.  Named one of the world’s most influential designers by BusinessWeek, Ma’s experience and involvement on an international level make him a leader in the design community with a great understanding of the contemporary issues in global urbanization. Ma earned his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in Architecture from Tsinghua University in Beijing in 1988, and in 1991, he received his Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.  Through his academic and professional experience, he developed a keen business sense centered on design intelligence, which culminated in his establishment of MADA s.p.a.m in 1996.  MADA s.p.a.m. has designed and built modern buildings and urban communities, garnering worldwide recognition.  Ma was the chief curator of the 2007 Shenzhen Hong Kong Biennale, and he is frequently invited as a speaker and juror, including for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the prestigious Rome Prize, and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. In 2007, Ma became the dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California, where he has enhanced the program by developing the School’s ties with China and launching a number of global initiatives, particularly the USC American Academy in China, a base for visiting scholars to facilitate their research and foster academic exchange.


Samuel T. Hurst, FAIA, was born in 1921. In 1942, he received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Six years later, in 1949, Hurst earned his master’s degree in architecture from Harvard. After graduate school Hurst formed a partnership with the architect John W. Lawrence, however the firm dissolved one year after it had begun, in 1951. In 1952, Hurst opened his own firm. In 1961, Hurst became the dean of the Architecture and Fine Arts school at the University of Southern California (USC), where he is currently an emeritus professor. Over the course of his career, Hurst did work primarily in Alabama and southern California. Some of his principle works include: the James Toy residence, the Sam Hurst residence, the Robert Anderson residence, and the Kirk-O-the-Valley Church.


Ralph Knowles, who has taught at USC for 40 years, is the author of seven books and more than 50 articles. He is a recipient of the American Institute of Architects’ Medal for Research.  He has conducted research in Bratislava, Slovakia with the support of a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship. The National Endowment for the Arts honored him for his design research and his work on solar access was supported by the Endowment. He received the USC Associates Award for Teaching Excellence and his book, Sun Rhythm Form, won the Phi Kappa Phi Scholarly Book Award. He has most recently received the USC Distinguished Emeritus Award and the Passive Solar Pioneer Award from the American Solar Energy Society. The main body of is work has focused on design with nature for energy conservation and life quality. He is the creator of the Solar Envelope, a zoning strategy for urban solar access.  In his  latest book, Ritual House:  Drawing on Natures’s Rhythms for Architecture and Urban Design  Knowles explores theories relating nature’s rhythms to life’s rituals as a basis for a new architectural aesthetic.


Robert S. Harris, FAIA, teaches theory seminars and Directed Design Research studies. He served as Dean of the USC School of Architecture from 1981-1992, and since 1992, first as Director of the USC Graduate Programs in Architecture and now in a similar role for Graduate Landscape Architecture Studies. He was Dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon from 1971-1981. Harris has been President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and was one of the first five educators in the United States to be named Distinguished Professor by the ACSA. In Los Angeles, Harris co-chaired the Downtown Strategic Plan Advisory Committee and the Mayor's Design Advisory Panel. He was a founder and is past-president of the Urban Design Advisory Coalition, and has given keynote addresses at regional and national conferences of the Mayors Institute on City Design. He is recipient of the Community Planning and Design Honor Award from the AIA California Council. He was named Honorary Member of the ASLA, one of only 150 so named over the past 100 years. Harris was instrumental in the establishment of degree programs in historic preservation at both the University of Oregon and at USC, and is a past-president of the Los Angeles Conservancy. He has won design awards as the principal of architecture firms in Texas and in Oregon, and Harris Architecture and Urban Design in California.


Victor Regnier, FAIA, is a teacher, researcher and architect who has focused his academic and professional life on the design of housing and community settings for older people.  He holds a joint professorship between the USC School of Architecture and the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, which is the only joint appointment of this type in the US.  He is also the only person to have achieved fellowship status in both the American Institute of Architects and the Gerontological Society of America.  From 1992 until 1996 he served as USC’s Dean of the School of Architecture. He has published 6 books as well as 60 articles and book chapters dealing with various aspects of housing and community planning for the elderly. He has received awards for his scholarship from the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Planning Association and Phi Kappa Phi, as well as two Progressive Architecture Research Awards.  He has also received a traveling Fulbright Research Award and the Thord-Grey Award from the American-Scandinavian Foundation.



Lectures are free and open to the public. They are located in the Gin D. Wong, FAIA Conference Center, Harris Hall, on the University Park campus. No reservations are required. Parking is available on campus at Gate 1 off Exposition Blvd.