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Mina Chow, AIA

Adjunct Associate Professor

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


Mina Chow AIA NCARB is an interdisciplinary licensed architect, filmmaker and Adjunct Assoc. Professor at the USC School of Architecture, currently teaching 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 hopes to highlight the humanity, passion and sacrifice of this process with stories that reveal its creation and destruction. 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 connecting how America abandoned the World’s Fair to the erosion of the country’s international image and the representation of the American people. It is receiving national attention in news and festivals. 


Awards include an Individual Grant for the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the California Architectural Foundation, the USC Architectural Guild, USC US-China Institute and the USC Ambassador's Fund. She has directed and produced films for the National Chapter and local Chapters of the American Institute of Architects and the University of Southern California. In 2014, she directed USC School of Architecture's "100 Years of Architecture" short film. In 2011, 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, TsAO + McKOWN Architects and S.O.M. in NYC. Design awards include the Peerless Award for Architectural Design at UC Berkeley; her role on the 2012 award-winning U.S. Pavilion team "Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good" at the Venice Architecture Biennale; and her role on the award-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 and multi-media projects with the late Doug Michels of Ant Farm.


Related Links: faceofanationmovie.com

 
 
Currently Teaching
  • 202bL
    Architectural Design II
    Architectural Design II

    This is the second semester for a foundation studio course in an interdisciplinary program with the School of Engineering that first was established in the 1970’s. This three-year interdisciplinary program is based in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Studies. This program will familiarize the student with architecture, landscape architecture, planning, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering and the related issues that contribute to the built environment for our society. It introduces the process of coordinating all of these aspects for the engineering student. 


    This course will continue to develop the student’s comprehension on the nature of contextual and organizational principles that order our surroundings, and to create an appreciation and understanding of how and why these systems are established. The 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 design & 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.


    This course will explore contextual research and analysis introduced in ARCH 205aL in more depth, and architectural program and space planning for a modest, but spatially complex building within an urban context. These projects will continue to emphasize the design process from the initial design concept to the final building proposition. Though precedent studies, design exercises, lectures, and critiques; emphasis is placed on design as a creative, conceptually driven, iterative process; all working within the defined limits of project budgets and schedules.


    Prerequisite: ARCH 205aL

     
  • 205aL
    Building Science I
    Building Science I

    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(s): CE 107

     
  • 205bL
    Building Science I
    Building Science I

    The process and communication of building design: physical building shell, systems for structure, enclosure, and space ordering.


    Prerequisite: CE 107.

     
  • 525
    Professional Practice Pre-Design, Project and Office Administration
    Professional Practice Pre-Design, Project and Office Administration

    Prerequisite(s): ARCH 302bL


    Design methodology, typology programming, site analysis, budget formulation and pro-forma procedures. Office management, emphasizing professional service and professional ethics as well as project management focusing on the architect’s responsibilities during construction.

     
 
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