Mina Chow

Adjunct Associate Professor

B.A. in Architecture, University of California, Berkeley M.Arch, Harvard University

Mina Chow, AIA NCARB is an interdisciplinary licensed architect and filmmaker and Adjunct Assoc. Professor at the USC School of Architecture, where she currently teaches 1st year building science studio and professional practice.  She is founding principal of design/multi-media firm mc² SPACES which expands architectural appreciation to new audiences; strengthens professional collaboration; and connects the public’s interest to design of the built environment.  She does this with stories that reveal creation of the built environment, highlighting the humanity, passion and sacrifice of this process.  Her films and interdisciplinary work communicate important underlying relationships between design and culture-- showing that it permeates throughout history, and that it belongs to everyone. 

She recently completed "FACE OF A NATION: What Happened to the World’s Fair?" a documentary about the erosion of America’s international image in the loss of the World’s Fair dream.  It is receiving national attention in news and festivals.  Her awards include:  2014 Individual Grant for the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, grants from the California Architectural Foundation, USC Architectural Guild, USC US-China Institute and the USC Ambassador's Fund. She has created films for USC, and the national and local chapters of the American Institute of Architects. In 2012, she was on the award-winning U.S. Pavilion team "Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good" at the Venice Architecture Biennale.  She also created a web pilot BRAVE NEW WORLD for the LA Mayor’s office about innovative architecture for the city of Los Angeles.

Professor Chow has worked for several innovative architecture firms including Eisenman Architects, and TsAO + McKOWN Architects in NYC. At UC Berkeley, she won the Peerless Award for Architectural Design, and was on the winning team for the Amerika Gedenkbibliothek International Library Design Competition. At Harvard University, she co-taught a graduate seminar with Diane Lewis and researched architectural theory with K. Michael Hays. She has collaborated on several design-media projects with the late Doug Michels of Ant Farm.

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Currently Teaching
  • 205aL
    Building Science I
    Building Science I
    Prerequisite(s): CE 107 This course will help the student comprehend the nature of beauty in our surroundings, and to create an appreciation and understanding of how and why these systems of beauty are established. The primary objective is to expose the student to current issues related to design in architecture, and to teach the intrinsic nature of architecture developed through principles based on the construction process. These topics are indications of the various value systems that come into play in the contemporary field of architecture. Understanding this and becoming aware that design is a synthetic process that is a balance of many concerns is a major objective of the course. The course will explore basic principals of 2 and 3 dimensional compositions though a series of design exercises, lectures, and critiques; focusing on the intrinsic properties of materials applied in structural and conceptual expression. Emphasis is placed on design as a creative, conceptually driven, iterative process. Attention is given to theories of context, unity, order, proportion, shape, balance, form, and space as they apply to abstract composition and structural design. Expression of ideas and values present in physical form are explored through observation, analysis, transformation, and synthesis. Students develop and document projects using a variety of means, including model making, REVIT or OTHER software programs, sketching, mechanical drawing, and photography. Project craft and execution are emphasized. The process and communication of building design: physical building shell, systems for structure, enclosure, and space ordering. Prerequisite: CE 107.
  • 205bL
    Building Science I
    Building Science I
    Prerequisite(s): CE 107 The process and communication of building design: physical building shell, systems for structure, enclosure, and space ordering. Prerequisite: CE 107.
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