01/03/19 USC Architecture Unveils Spring 2019 Public Lectures & Events Program


Top industry authorities gather at USC Architecture to explore how architecture is a unique carrier of social and financial capital

University of Southern California School of Architecture today announced its spring 2019 public lectures and events program, which will feature a diverse lineup of top industry authorities exploring how architecture is a unique carrier of both social and financial capital. Notable speakers include Mónica Ponce de León, Princeton University School of Architecture dean and founding principal of MPdL Studio; award-winning Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi; sustainable design pioneers Angela Brooks and Larry Scarpa; and many more.

All events are free, open to the public and no reservations are required.

“Each year, we attract hundreds of students, local industry leaders and community members with the rare opportunity to hear some of the world’s leading authorities in architecture, culture and design as they gather at USC,” stated Milton S. F. Curry, dean of USC School of Architecture. “This spring, our series’ theme focuses on the unique relationship between architecture and capital. Distinguished guests like Mónica Ponce de León, a pioneer in robotic technology and building fabrication, and Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi, renowned for his acclaimed floating school in Lagos, will discuss how they use their creative work to critique and facilitate the production of social and financial capital for their clients and users.”

In addition to engaging lectures, the spring 2019 events program also will feature thought-provoking exhibitions such as “Ed Ruscha: Films,” a pop-up screening of two of only three films ever made by iconic Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha.

The USC Architecture lectures and events series hosts leading and emerging architects, designers and thinkers from around the world and presents topics related to architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism, heritage conservation, building science and more. For decades, USC Architecture events programming has provided a stimulating environment for the exploration of ideas that permeate culture at the school, in Los Angeles and beyond.


Unless otherwise noted, all lectures begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Gin D. Wong, FAIA Conference Center, Harris Hall. Parking is available on campus through the Downey Way entrance off Vermont Avenue. This semester’s participating speakers include:


Jan. 9: Lecture, Mónica Ponce de León, Princeton University School of Architecture, Princeton, NJ

Mónica Ponce de León is the Princeton University School of Architecture dean and founding principal of MPdL Studio. Ponce de León has been honored with the National Design Award in Architecture from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum; the Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the USA Target Fellow in Architecture and Design from United States Artists; and the Young Architects and Emerging Voices prize from the Architectural League of New York. In 2016, Ponce de León was inducted into the National Academy of Design.


Jan. 14-18: Exhibition, “Ed Ruscha: Films”

A pop-up screening will showcase “Premium” (1971) and “Miracle” (1975), two rare films made by iconic Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha. Both films offer a dazzling exploration of storytelling and the conventional narrative codes of Hollywood, featuring Ruscha’s signature deadpan humor and keen translation of the contemporary American condition.

Jan. 16: Lecture, Mark Shiel, King’s College, London, and Amy Murphy, USC Architecture, Los Angeles

Amy Murphy is currently an Associate Professor at USC’s School of Architecture. She has published several pieces examining the relationship between our cinematic post-apocalyptic imagination and the city, including “Nothing Like New: Our Post-Apocalyptic Imagination as Utopian Desire.” She is currently completing a new manuscript entitled After the Symphony: Cinematic Representations of the American City 1938-1978.

Mark Shiel is Reader in Film Studies and Urbanism in the Department of Film Studies at King’s College London. He is also the author of Hollywood Cinema and The Real Los Angeles and Italian Neorealism: Rebuilding the Cinematic City, and co-editor of Cinema and the City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context and Screening the City.

Jan. 23: Lecture, Cruz Garcia and Nathalie Frankowski, WAI Architecture Think Tank, Lincoln, NE

Cruz Garcia and Nathalie Frankowski co-founded WAI Architecture Think Tank in Brussels in 2008. Through architectural projects, experimental publishing, pedagogical experiments and curatorial programs, Garcia and Frankowski question the critical, political, social, environmental, historical and ideological imperatives of architecture in an era of pressing challenges.


Feb. 27: Lecture & Exhibition, USC Architecture Generation NEXT

USC Architecture is proud to present the third annual Generation NEXT, an evening in celebration of the broad range of independent design work produced by recent alumni of the USC School of Architecture. A curated selection of alumni working in the fields of architecture, urban design, fabrication and more will each present their work in a casual, fast-paced event to showcase the impact of independent design thinking.

Mar. 27: Lecture, Charles Waldheim, Harvard GSD, Cambridge, MA

Charles Waldheim is a North American architect and urbanist. Waldheim’s research examines the relationships between landscape, ecology, and contemporary urbanism. He is author, editor, and co-editor of numerous books on these subjects, and his writing has been published and translated internationally. Waldheim is a John E. Irving Professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he directs the school’s Office for Urbanization.

Apr. 3: Lecture, Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman, Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, San Diego

Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman are principals in Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice investigating issues of informal urbanization, civic infrastructure and public culture, with a special emphasis on Latin American cities. Blurring conventional boundaries between theory and practice, Cruz and Forman lead a variety of urban research agendas and civic/public interventions in the San Diego-Tijuana border region and beyond. They founded the UCSD Cross-Border Initiative, a platform for engaged research and teaching on poverty and social equity in the border region.


Apr. 10: Lecture, Angela Brooks & Larry Scarpa, Brooks + Scarpa, Los Angeles

Larry Scarpa, USC School of Architecture adjunct professor and co-principal of Brooks + Scarpa, is considered a pioneer and leader in the field of sustainable design. Co-principal Angela Brooks oversees development in the areas of housing and policy, leading the firm’s sustainable initiatives and overall management.

BROOKS + SCARPA has received more than 50 major design awards, notably 22 National AIA Awards, including the 2017 National American Institute of Architects Collaborative Achievement Award, 2017 AIA Gold Medal from the Los Angeles chapter, the 2016 AIA California Council Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Award in Architecture, the 2010 National and State of California AIA Architecture Firm Award, and six national AIA Committee on the Environment “Top Ten Green Building” awards.

Apr. 17: Lecture, Natalia Escobar Castrillón, Harvard GSD, Cambridge, MA

Natalia Escobar Castrillón is an instructor and a senior Ph.D. candidate in architecture and conservation theory at Harvard University. She also is the founder and editor-in-chief of the conservation journal Oblique, which was the recipient of the Haskell Award from the AIA New York Center for Architecture in 2017. 

POSTPONED: Lecture, Kunlé Adeyemi, NLÉ, Lagos, Nigeria -

This lecture is being postponed for Fall 2019.

Kunlé Adeyemi is the founder and principal of NLÉ, an architecture, design and urbanism practice that focuses on developing cities and communities, and the 2017 Aga Khan Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His notable works include Makoko Floating School, an innovative prototype floating structure located on the lagoon heart of Lagos, Nigeria. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project – African Water Cities – being developed by NLÉ. NLÉ recently won the Silver Lion Prize for MFS II – a new, improved iteration of Makoko Floating School at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. 

This digital publication is made possible with the generous support of the Blurock Family Endowment for Publication.

 Related Links: USC Architecture Events Calendar

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