09/01/23 ARCHITECTURE ENGAGED: Fall 2023 Lecture Series


With one of its most eclectic lineups, ARCHITECTURE ENGAGED launches the Fall 2023 lecture series featuring pioneering creatives from a range of fields whose precedent-setting work spans across film and marketing, ecological restoration and environmental science, biology and computation, architectural design for the visual and performing arts, and technology and product creation. 

In collaboration with USC Visions & Voices, the first of an annual speaker series “Crossing Design Borders” will be held in Bovard Auditorium on October 16, and the annual Pecha Kucha of rapid-fire presentations by new architecture faculty is on October 20. 

All lectures will take place on Friday at 12:00 p.m. in the Gin D. Wong, FAIA Conference Center (Harris Hall 101) unless otherwise noted. All events are free and open to the public.

The Fall 2023 Lecture Series is presented with generous support from the USC Thomas J. Barrack and Gin D. Wong, FAIA Annual Lectures Fund.

Sept. 15 | Lecture

Peter Frankfurt, Imaginary Forces, Co-founder & Creative Director

Peter Frankfurt is co-founder and creative director at Imaginary Forces, a multidisciplinary design firm with projects that include award-winning main title sequences and marketing campaigns for blockbuster films. A creative storyteller with a passion for visual language, Peter’s career has traveled many paths, from producing movies, documentaries, sports experiences for the NFL and NBA, to entertainment marketing. 

Sept. 22 | Lecture

Eric Higgs, University of Victoria, School of Environmental Studies

Higgs’s pioneering research on ecological restoration has been transformational for both scientists and practitioners and has brought international public and policy focus to restoring damaged ecosystems. A global leader who has long championed interdisciplinary science in the study of complex environmental challenges, his long-term mountain-based restoration field research has built the largest systematic collection of historic and repeat mountain photographs in the world. 

Oct. 6 | Lecture

David Benjamin, Columbia GSAPP, Founding Principal of The Living 

Benjamin’s work combines research and practice, and it involves exploring new ideas through prototyping. Focusing on the intersection of biology, computation, and design, Benjamin has articulated three frameworks for harnessing living organisms for architecture: bio-processing, bio-sensing, and bio-manufacturing.

Oct. 16 | Lecture

Mark Rios, RIOS

"Crossing Design Borders", an annual speaker series launched by the USC School of Architecture in partnership with USC Visions and Voices, will feature distinguished architect and landscape architect Mark Rios, whose projects include Grand Park, The California Endowment, and Nokia Plaza at LA Live. With a focus on curiosity and defining one’s own formula for inclusive innovation, Rios will explore the transformative potential of embracing diverse ideas and collaborators in fostering innovation and share his passion for unlocking groundbreaking solutions and authentic creativity to shape a brighter future. RSVP begins Friday, September 1. 

Oct. 27 | Lecture

Billie Tsien, TOD WILLIAMS BILLIE TSIEN Architects | Partners 

A founding partner of the New York-based architecture studio Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, their practice is committed to reflecting the values of non-profit, cultural and academic institutions toward an architecture of permanence and enduring vision. A sense of rootedness, light, texture, detail, and most of all, experience, are at the heart of what they design. The firm has been especially recognized for their precedent-setting designs for visual and performing arts institutions. 

Oct. 20 | Lecture

Pecha Kucha, New USC Architecture Faculty 

New faculty members teaching this Fall will present their design research, professional practice, and creative practice in casual, fast-paced Pecha Kucha style presentations that showcase the impact of their projects and research and their broad range of interests spanning architecture, facades, interiors, landscape architecture, urbanism, public art, studio art, design computation, biomimicry, fabrication, criticism, scholarly research, digital property, entrepreneurship, activism, and more.

Nov. 3 | Lecture

John Maeda, Maeda Studio, MIT 

Wired Magazine stated that “Maeda is to design what Warren Buffett is to finance.” 

John Maeda is an American technologist and product experience leader with a passion for resilience and renewal. Currently serving as VP of design and artificial intelligence at Microsoft, John was an early catalyst for generative art and computational design for cultural + commercial applications across Web2 and Web3. An internationally recognized speaker and author, his books include The Laws of Simplicity, Creative Code, and Redesigning Leadership. 


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