01/21/21 USC Architecture Announces Spring 2021 Virtual Lecture Series


From social justice to climate-responsive design, the USC School of Architecture’s spring 2021 virtual lecture series spotlights a range of contemporary issues while providing a platform for renowned speakers from around the world. This semester’s series kicks off next week with our inaugural Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Lecture on Jan. 27, presented by Washington, DC-based architect Melvin Mitchell, FAIA. A virtual panel discussion on alumnus Paul Revere Williams, co-hosted by USC Architecture and the Getty Research Institute, and a Dean’s CreativeTalks panel with renowned Latin American architects and artists help round out our full semester of programming this spring.

The USC Architecture lectures and events series hosts prominent and emerging architects, designers, technologists, and scholars from around the world and presents topics related to architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism/city design, heritage conservation, building science and technology, social justice, and more. For decades, USC Architecture public programming has provided a stimulating environment for the exploration of ideas that permeate culture at the School, in Los Angeles, and beyond.


Lectures begin at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time and will be held on Zoom. All virtual events are free and open to the public, though registration is required via the Zoom links below.

This semester’s participating speakers include:


January 27: MLK Annual Lecture, Melvin Mitchell, FAIA

Melvin L. Mitchell has been a practicing architect in Washington, DC for 45 years. He is a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects, a past president of the DC Board of Architecture, and former director of the School of Architecture & Planning at Morgan State University in Baltimore. He was a professor at the University of the District of Columbia and Howard University and James E. Silcott Professor of Architecture at Howard University (2016–2018). His architecture degrees are from Howard University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

February 3: Lecture, Fernando Luiz Lara

Fernando Luiz Lara works on theorizing spaces of the Americas with an emphasis on the dissemination of architecture and planning ideas beyond the traditional disciplinary boundaries. In his several articles, Lara has discussed the modern and the contemporary architecture of our continent, its meaning, context, and social-economic insertion. His latest publications include Excepcionalidad del Modernismo Brasileño; Modern Architecture in Latin America (Hamilton Award runner up 2015), and Quid Novi (Anparq best book award 2016). Lara holds the Potter Rose Professorship in Urban Planning at the University of Texas at Austin where he currently serves as director of the Ph.D. program in architecture.

February 10: Dean’s CreativeTalks: Latin American Cities

Mexico City and the Global South are impacted by the exchange of knowledge, economies, labor, goods, and services. Thinking about a new social compact and a hemispheric policy of developing cities and metropolitan areas with an empowering aesthetic and spatial dimension, USC will catalyze new research aimed at building more capacity between the University and its strategic partners, municipalities, and governments, along with architects and scholars through various mechanisms. Through the Initiative, the School of Architecture will support undergraduate and graduate architecture, landscape, and city design studios and interdisciplinary seminar courses to deepen students’ knowledge of the contexts in the Americas. This panel of renowned Latin American artists and architects will serve as an introduction to the critical work centered in this region.


  • Jose Castillo, Architect, a | 911
  • Frida Escobedo, Architect, Frida Escobedo
  • Arturo Ortiz Struck, Architect, Taller Territorial  
  • Tania Ragasol, Art Curator, Oficina Particular
  • Pedro Reyes, Artist

February 17: Lecture, Thomas Auer

Thomas Auer is a professor of building technology and climate responsive design at the TU of Munich and a partner at Transsolar. He works with distinguished architectural offices worldwide on award-winning projects that are characterized by innovative design and integral energy strategies. His research deals with resource consumption, environmental quality, and robustness.

February 24: The Paul Revere Williams Archive: Building a Legacy

A panel discussion with USC School of Architecture and the Getty Research Institute on the legacy of USC alumnus Paul Revere Williams. The PRW Archive is a joint acquisition of the USC School of Architecture and the Getty Research Institute. RSVP by emailing SpecialEvents@getty.edu or calling (310) 440-5163.


  • Milton S. F. Curry, Dean, USC Architecture
  • Trudi Sandmeier, Master of Heritage Conservation Program Director, USC Architecture
  • Kenneth Breisch, Associate Professor, USC Architecture
  • James Cuno, President and CEO, J. Paul Getty Trust
  • Mary Miller, Director, Getty Research Institute
  • Maristella Casciato, Senior Curator of Architectural Collections, Getty Research Institute
  • LeRonn Brooks, Associate Curator for Modern and Contemporary Collections, Getty Research Institute

March 3: Lecture, Doreen Heng Liu

Doreen Heng Liu is a Chinese architect born in Guangzhou. She received her M.Arch from UC Berkeley in 1994 and Doctor of Design at Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2008. In 2004, she established her own design practice, NODE, in Nansha and Hong Kong, and relocated to Shenzhen in 2009. For years, NODE has been leading a diversity of architectural, urbanism, art and design practices in the South China region. In recent years, the firm has been particularly interested in cross-disciplinary research and architectural making in the fields of public space, infrastructure, urban regeneration and cultural/artistic/academic buildings.

March 17: Lecture, David Wegener 

David Wegener studied architecture at the Technical University of Karlsruhe, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, and the ETSAB in Barcelona. From 1998 to 2000, he worked for KPMG Consulting and ThyssenKrupp, among others. Since 2001, he has been project manager at Sauerbruch Hutton, where he has supervised major projects mainly in the fields of culture, office buildings, and interior design. He regularly gives guest lectures at universities and symposia. Wegener has been an associate and member of the managing board since 2010 and became a partner in 2020.

March 24: USC Architecture Generation NEXT

The USC School of Architecture presents its fifth-annual Generation NEXT, a virtual evening in celebration of the independent design work produced by its young alumni. This year's panelists will be announced soon.

March 31: Lecture, Rahul Mehrotra 

Rahul Mehrotra is the founder principal of RMA Architects. He divides his time between working in Mumbai and Boston and teaching at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, where he is a professor of urban design and planning, and the John T. Dunlop Professor in Housing and Urbanization. His most recent book is titled Working in Mumbai (2020) and is a reflection on his practice evolved through its association with the city of Bombay/Mumbai.

April 7: Lecture, Kofi Boone, FASLA

Kofi Boone, FASLA is a university faculty scholar and professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at NC State University in the College of Design. Boone is a Detroit native and a graduate of the University of Michigan (BSNR 1992, MLA 1995). His work is in the overlap between landscape architecture and environmental justice with specializations in democratic design, digital media, and interpreting cultural landscapes. Boone’s teaching and professional work have earned awards including student and professional ASLA awards. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Corps Network as well as the Landscape Architecture Foundation where he is President-Elect, and serves on the advisory board of The Black Landscape Architects Network. 

April 14: Lecture, Michael Manfredi and Marion Weiss

WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism is at the forefront of architectural design practices that are redefining the relationships between landscape, architecture, infrastructure, and art. Named one of North America's "Emerging Voices" by New York's Architectural League, WEISS/MANFREDI received the 2020 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture and the 2018 Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Institution's National Design Award, as well as the New York AIA Gold Medal and the Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Most recently, WEISS/MANFREDI was selected through an international competition to re-envision the world-renowned La Brea Tar Pits and Museum in Los Angeles; and the Trinity Park Conservancy in Dallas selected the firm to serve as design architects to bring new life to the former Jesse R. Dawson State Jail.

April 21: MoMA Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America / Black Reconstruction Collective

In conjunction with the upcoming exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America at The Museum of Modern Art, join us for a two-part public event: a conversation with Dean Milton S. F. Curry and the exhibition organizers, followed by a presentation and discussion with the exhibitors. The event will highlight ongoing research that comments on and questions how gentrification and displacement, industry, technology, and other forces affect African Americans and People of Color in the built environment. This program is presented in collaboration with the USC School of Architecture.

Part I. The conversation on the exhibit: Milton S. F. Curry, dean of USC Architecture and the exhibition organizers, Sean Anderson, Associate Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and Mabel O. Wilson, Nancy and George E. Rupp Professor, Columbia University.

Part II. The presentation by the Black Reconstruction Collective (the exhibitors): Emanuel Admassu, Germane Barnes, Sekou Cook, J. Yolande Daniels, Felecia Ann Davis, Walter Hood, Mario Gooden, Olalekan Jeyifous, V. Mitch McEwen, and Amanda Williams.

The exhibit is on view until May 31, 2021. https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/5219


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