11/04/19 Faculty/Student Exhibition Spotlight: Faiza Moatasim


The USC Architecture Faculty/Student Exhibition Series is an exhibition program that profiles the work of a faculty member along with a selection of student projects from their studio or seminar. The intent is not only to highlight their professional work or academic research but also to offer insights into connections between their pedagogy and practice.

Our next exhibition, “Forms and Aesthetics of Informal Spaces,” showcases work from assistant professor Faiza Moatasim regarding informal urbanism, or long-term temporariness. Faiza shares more about her exhibition below.

What can viewers expect from your exhibition?

My work establishes a strong relationship between architecture and informality, in general, and time and space in the development of informal spaces, in particular. The time-lapse clips of temporary street commerce in the cities of Los Angeles and Rawalpindi (Pakistan) show how inherent in the architectural forms and aesthetics associated with street hawking and vending is a particular logic of informal urbanism, which I call long-term temporariness. Long-term temporariness refers to the practice of making informal claims to urban space often for long periods of time by maintaining an impression of provisional use.


The student work features their interpretation of the various typologies of homelessness in Los Angeles. In particular, student work explores the role of space in the experience of being homeless, either in a vehicle or on the street. Collectively, our work seeks to understand informal spaces by examining their material forms and aesthetics.

What inspired this exhibition?

This exhibition is based on my research on the role of time, space, and architectural aesthetics in the sustenance of urban informal spaces.


More generally, what inspires your work?

Overall, I am inspired by the agency of marginalized people and communities—using their own spatial imagination and resources—in making claims to urban space.


What do you hope viewers leave this exhibition with? 

I hope viewers leave this exhibition with an appreciation of spaces often referred to as the informal, everyday, ordinary, mundane, non-pedigreed, and unplanned as important architectural categories. 

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