01/08/20 USC Architecture’s Spring 2020 Public Lectures & Events Program Explores Technology’s Impact On Public Sphere


From 3D printing and earthquake engineering to border walls and the intersections of architecture and science, USC Architecture’s spring 2020 public lectures and events program examines how new and emerging technologies influence the public sphere and architectural design. The highly anticipated spring series features a diverse lineup of noteworthy speakers including: award-winning designer Michael Murphy, whose National Memorial for Peace and Justice project was named the single greatest work of American architecture in the 21st century; Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael, co-founders of a 3D printing MAKE-tank; Jun Sato, a world-renowned structural engineer; and many more.

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

“Technological advancements like computational design, new methods of material fabrication, data mining and AI, 3D printing, and augmented reality are rapidly evolving the way architects think and design. With these new tools comes a concomitant analysis of their impact on the public sphere,” stated Milton S. F. Curry, dean of USC School of Architecture. “That is why we are convening the ‘Technology Conversations’ symposia series as part of our spring public events series. Open and free to the public, this series affords attendees an opportunity to join in a collective conversation about technology and public culture—intimate conversations with leading design activists, compelling thought leaders and award-winning architects as they share their unique insights on the social and architectural implications of technology.”

The USC Architecture lectures and events series hosts prominent 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. 24: Lecture, Keller Easterling, Yale University

Keller Easterling is an architect, writer and professor at Yale. Her most recent book, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014), examines global infrastructure as a medium of polity. A recently published e-book essay titled Medium Design (Strelka Press, 2018) previews a forthcoming book of the same title. Easterling is a 2019 United States Artist Fellow in Architecture and Design.


Jan. 29: Technology Conversation: “Designing Down the Barrier”

Yanni Loukissas, Ph.D., Georgia Tech

Catie Newell, University of Michigan

Virginia San Fratello, San Jose State University

Yanni Loukissas is an assistant professor of digital media in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. His research is focused on helping creative people think critically about the social implications of emerging technologies.

Catie Newell is the director of the master of science in digital and material technologies and associate professor of architecture at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Her work and research focuses on the development of new atmospheres through the exploration of textures, volumes and the effects of light or lack thereof. Newell is the recipient of the 2011 ArtPrize Best Use of Urban Space Juried Award and the 2011 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers.

Virginia San Fratello is an architect, artist, and educator. She is a partner in the award-winning design studio, Rael San Fratello, and co-founder of Emerging Objects, a 3D printing MAKE-tank specializing in innovations in 3D printing architecture, building components, environments and products. San Fratello is the recipient of the 2014 International Interior Design Educator of the Year Award.

This event will be co-moderated by USC Architecture assistant professors Jose Sanchez and Bhavna Sharma.

Feb. 12: Technology Conversation: "The Education of a Technologist"

Felecia Davis, Penn State University

Ronald Rael, UC Berkeley

Jenny Sabin, Cornell University

Felecia Davis is an assistant professor at the Stuckeman Center for Design and Computation at Penn State University. She has lectured, taught workshops, published and exhibited her work in textiles, computation, and architecture internationally, including Microsoft Research and the Media Lab at MIT.

Ronald Rael holds the Eva Li Memorial Chair in Architecture and a joint appointment in the Department of Architecture, in the College of Environmental Design, and the Department of Art Practice at UC Berkeley. He is a design activist, author, and thought leader within the topics of additive manufacturing, border wall studies, and earthen architecture. He is also a partner in the award-winning design studio, Rael San Fratello, and co-founder of Emerging Objects.

Jenny Sabin is an award-winning architectural designer whose work investigates the intersections of architecture and science and applies insights and theories from biology and mathematics to the design of material structures. She is the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Professor in Architecture and the director of graduate studies in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. Sabin has won numerous awards including: Architectural League Prize for Young Architects in 2014 and MoMA & MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program in 2017 with her submission, Lumen.

This event will be co-moderated by USC Architecture’s associate professor Doris Sung and associate dean of research & creative work Joon-Ho Choi.


Feb. 19: Lecture, Liat Margolis, University of Toronto

Liat Margolis is associate professor of landscape architecture, director of the master of landscape architecture program, and assistant dean of research at the University of Toronto. Margolis’ research focuses on the knowledge transfer of multi-performance materials and technologies across disciplines. She is the co-author of the book Living Systems: Innovative Materials and Technologies for Landscape Architecture [Birkhauser 2007], for which she received a Graham Foundation Grant.

Mar. 4: Lecture, Michael Murphy, MASS Design Group

Michael Murphy, Int FRIBA, is the founding principal and executive director of MASS Design Group, an architecture and design collective that leverages buildings, as well as the design and construction process, to become catalysts for economic growth, social change, and justice. MASS has been recognized as the winners of the national Arts and Letters Award for 2017 and the 2017 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. MASS's project, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, was named the single greatest work of American architecture in the 21st century.


Mar. 11: Lecture, Jun Sato, University of Tokyo

Through collaborations with architects, workshops with students, and research in his laboratory, Jun Sato develops lightweight, ductile structures and transparent or translucent structures that serve as filters for environmental substances. Sato is principal engineer at Jun Sato Structural Engineers Co., Ltd., and an associate professor at the University of Tokyo. He is also the recipient of the 2009 Japan Structural Design Award. Presented with support from the Nabih Youssef Endowed Lecture on Structural Design Innovation.


Mar. 25: Lecture & Exhibition, USC Architecture Generation NEXT

USC Architecture and the USC Architectural Guild are proud to present the fourth 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.

Apr. 1: Technology Conversation: “Technology is the answer...but what was the question?”

Dana Cupkova, Carnegie Mellon

Ersela Kripa, Texas Tech College of Architecture

Larry Sass, Ph.D., MIT

Dana Cupkova is an associate professor at the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture and is a co-founder and director of EPIPHYTE Lab, an architectural design and research collaborative. Cupkova's design work engages the built environment at the intersection of ecology, computationally driven processes, and systems analysis. In May 2018, Epiphyte Lab was recognized as the Next Progressives design practice by ARCHITECT Magazine.

Ersela Kripa is an assistant professor at Texas Tech College of Architecture, a registered architect, and founding partner of AGENCY, a collaborative interdisciplinary practice engaging contemporary culture through architecture, urbanism, and advocacy. Kripa works in urban and architectural ecologies to inform new ways of living, seeking productive and unexpected anomalies within urban contexts, and capitalizing on their potential through tactical interventions. She has received numerous awards, including the 2018 Emerging Voices award from The Architectural League of New York.

Larry Sass is an architectural designer and researcher exploring digital design and fabrication across scales. As an associate professor in the Department of Architecture at MIT, Larry has taught courses specifically in digital fabrication and design computing since 2002. Larry has also exhibited his work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

This event is co-moderated by USC Architecture’s associate professor Alvin Huang and assistant professor Kyle Konis.

Apr. 8: Lecture, Paola Antonelli, MoMA

Paola Antonelli is senior curator in the department of architecture and design of The Museum of Modern Art, where she has worked since 1994. She has lectured worldwide and has served on several international architecture and design juries. Her honors include the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, the 2015 AIGA Medal, 2006 “Design Mind” Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Award, and one of the 25 most incisive design visionaries by Time Magazine in 2007.


Apr. 17: Conversation: Reconstructions

In conjunction with The Museum of Modern Art’s upcoming exhibition Reconstructions, join us for a conversation with architects J. Yolande Daniels, Walter Hood, and Amanda Williams. 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. 

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

 Related Links: Download the Lectures & Events Poster,  Events Calendar


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