We are pleased to announce the inaugural event of Crossing Design Borders, an annual speaker series launched by the USC School of Architecture in partnership with USC Visions and Voices, on Monday, October 16, 2023, at USC’s Bovard Auditorium.

The event “Boundless Curiosity: Unleashing the Potential of Inclusive Design Thinking,” will be a conversation with distinguished architect and landscape architect Mark Rios and moderated by Frances Anderton, architecture and design journalist.

With a focus on curiosity and defining one’s own formula for inclusive innovation, Mark 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. 

“I have always been fascinated by the intersections between people and places, which has formed a continuous thread in my desire to create memorable environments,” says Rios, who in March this year received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the USC School of Architecture and the USC Architectural Guild.

Mark practices with a vision to imagine, design, and build complete environments that cross boundaries of disciplinary design. His eclectic interests, innate curiosity, and ability to see things from multiple perspectives propel the projects the firm works on beyond borders to incorporate the creative alchemy of a multidisciplinary approach to design. 

USC School of Architecture Interim Dean Willow Bay describes Mark Rios’s four decades of redefining the boundaries of design and community as an “extensive and unparalleled body of work in complex spaces spanning the commercial, civic, hospitality, institutional and residential sectors.” 

Rios’s high-profile, award-winning, community-fostering work in Los Angeles includes Gloria Molina Grand Park, the Music Center Plaza, and ROW DTLA. Other acclaimed projects across the country include Horton Plaza in San Diego, the San Francisco Flower Mart, and Lynna Wyatt Square for the Performing Arts in Houston. 

Mark Rios founded Rios Associates in 1985, and under his leadership, the firm developed an international reputation for its groundbreaking multidisciplinary approach. In 2020, the firm was renamed RIOS to acknowledge its focus on collaboration across design disciplines, including architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture, experience design, environmental graphics, and product design. 

Rios was Chairman of Landscape Architecture at USC from 2001 to 2007, has been on the faculty at UCLA, and was elevated to AIA Fellow in 1999 and to ASLA Fellow in 2006. He received his BS in Architecture from USC, and both Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture degrees from Harvard University.

Frances Anderton, moderator of the conversation, is the author of Common Ground: Multifamily Housing in Los Angeles, winner of a Gold Award for best Regional Nonfiction from Foreword Reviews. She writes a regular newsletter on design and architecture for KCRW public radio station, for which she previously hosted the show DnA: Design and Architecture, and produced the current affairs shows Which Way, LA? and To The Point. She has co-produced short films for the nonprofit housing developers Community Corporation of Santa Monica and Venice Community Housing. She teaches a seminar class on housing typologies at USC School of Architecture. Honors include the Esther McCoy Award from the Architectural Guild of USC School of Architecture for her work educating the public about architecture and urbanism.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices, and organized by the USC School of Architecture, the event will take place in Bovard Auditorium, University of Southern California, 3551 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, on Monday, October 16, 2023, at 7 p.m. PT.

For more information about the event and to make reservations, visit www.visionsandvoices.usc.edu. Admission is free. Reservations required.


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