Mark Lee Named 2018 Distinguished Alumnus for 59th Annual USC Architectural Guild Dinner

School News

Mark Lee Named 2018 Distinguished Alumnus for 59th Annual USC Architectural Guild Dinner

March 27, 2018

The USC Architectural Guild and the USC School of Architecture have selected Mark Lee as the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award. Lee will join a list of renowned past recipients including Jon Jerde (1985), Frank O. Gehry (1987), Thom Mayne (1995), Pierre Koenig (1998), Academy Award-winning art director Henry Bumstead (2004), Anthony Marnell II (2005), Christopher and David Martin (2006), Boris Dramov (2008) and Paul R. Williams (2017).


Lee recently was appointed chair of the department of architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, effective July 1, 2018. He has taught at Harvard GSD since 2013 and was named professor in practice of architecture, an appointment that will also take effect July 1.


Lee is a founder and partner of Johnston Marklee, an award-winning Los Angeles-based architecture firm recognized nationally and internationally with over 30 major awards. A book on the work of the firm, entitled “HOUSE IS A HOUSE IS A HOUSE IS A HOUSE IS A HOUSE,” was published by Birkhauser in 2016. This followed a monograph on the firm’s work, published in 2014 by 2G. Projects undertaken by Johnston Marklee are diverse in scale and type, spanning seven countries throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Recent projects include the Menil Drawing Institute on the campus of the Menil Collection, scheduled to open in 2018; a renovation of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, completed in September 2017; and the new UCLA Graduate Art Studios campus in Culver City, which recently broke ground. The firm’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Menil Collection in Houston, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Architecture Museum of TU Munich. 


In addition to his new appointment at Harvard, Lee has taught at Princeton University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the Technical University of Berlin and ETH Zurich. He has held the Cullinan Chair at Rice University and the Frank Gehry International Chair at the University of Toronto. Together with partner Sharon Johnston, Lee was the Artistic Director for the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial. 


Lee received his B.Arch from USC in 1991. He earned his second architectural degree [M. Arch II] at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD).


“USC is my ground zero; it is where my foundations values, and convictions as an architect were formed. I am thrilled to be selected for this Distinguished Alumni Award and to be part of a formidable legacy of past alumni recipients on this list,” said Mark Lee.


“Mark has a great architectural legacy in Los Angeles and beyond and we’re pleased to celebrate his many achievements at this year’s dinner,” said USC Architecture Dean Milton S.F. Curry. “The Distinguished Alumni Award is the top award granted to alumni of this school and Mark is incredibly worthy of this honor.”


This year’s award will be presented at the 59th Annual USC Architectural Guild Dinner on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles. Proceeds from this fundraising event support scholarships for students at the USC School of Architecture.


More information about the event including ticketing and sponsorship opportunities can be found here: