Aroussiak Gabrielian, Ph.D., FAAR

Assistant Professor


Ph.D., University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts M.L.Arch., University of Pennsylvania, School of Design M.Arch., University of Pennsylvania, School of Design B.A., Art History + Visual Arts, Occidental College

Aroussiak Gabrielian is a scholar-practitioner working across the fields of Landscape Architecture and Media Arts. Her scholarship focuses on both materialist perspectives on the living world of landscape matter, and the practice of imaging and imagining landscape, addressing both landscape’s material and its representation. Aroussiak is currently working on a book manuscript emerging from her doctoral research, Near-Extinction Rituals, which aims to torque our imaginaries to help us re-think our interactions with both human and non-human agents on this planet.


Aroussiak is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists and a consultant for futures oriented design work. Her speculations on alternative environmental futures have received numerous recent recognitions, including the Emerging Designer Awards from the Design Futures Initiative, the Tomorrowland Projects Foundation Award administered through the New York Foundation for the Arts, the World Changing Ideas Awards recognized by Fast Company and the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. Her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Austin, Portland, St. Louis, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York City, and in venues across Italy, Germany, Spain and China.


Aroussiak is Co-founder and Design Director of foreground design agency, a critical landscape practice which works to dismantle structures of power and privilege that render specific humans, species, and matter silent. With her partner at foreground, she has authored essays about the firm’s design research in the Journal of Architectural Education, International Journal of Interior Architecture and Spatial Design, Future Anterior and the Geography Research Forum, among others.


Aroussiak holds a dual masters in Architecture and Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D in Media Arts + Practice from the School of Cinematic Arts at USC. Prior to initiating her own practice, she worked at Snøhetta, in New York City, and taught at University of Pennsylvania and University of Toronto.


Aroussiak is presently Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture + Urbanism at the School of Architecture and Affiliate Faculty of Media Arts + Practice at the School of Cinematic Arts. She recently launched and currently directs the Landscape Futures Lab, which serves as a design-research incubator for climate innovation and imagination.

Research Areas:

Landscape Media; Visioning Technologies; Critical Visualization; Augmented Landscape + Locative Media; Open Narrative Methodologies + Database Aesthetics; Critical Design, Design Fiction + Speculative Futures; World Building; Posthumanism + Postnaturalism; Anthropocene; BioArt + BioDesign; Affect + Atmosphere; Landscape Matter.

Related Links: Landscape Futures LabPublicationsforeground design agency

Currently Teaching
  • 439
    Landscape Architecture Foundations Workshop
    Landscape Architecture Foundations Workshop

    This intensive pre-term course prepares students for their academic career in landscape architecture with a particular focus on familiarizing students with (1) the region’s ecological and cultural context; and (2) tools and techniques for seeing and representing landscape. It is structured in two parts with the first focused on field studies: both exploring the ecological and cultural landscapes of the Los Angeles region and developing field-drawing skills – perspective, depth of field, texture, tonality, sequence (etc). The second part is dedicated to developing media techniques for reading, representing and designing landscape as a dynamic medium. Particular software platforms will be stressed in order to facilitate ease of entry into the design studio curriculum (Adobe Creative Suite, Autocad, Rhinoceros, GIS).

  • 539
    Media for Landscape Architecture
    Media for Landscape Architecture

    This course is designed to endow students with foundational authoring skills in digital media and analog processes with which to engage the materiality, spatiality and temporality of landscape while concurrently introducing the lineage of landscape representation and its theoretical foundations. Through iterative and translatory processes of making, students will develop the ability to operate between analog and digital processes, between two and three dimensions, between given and introduced conditions, between static and dynamic states, and across scales. Course readings and lectures will examine how certain techniques of imaging the biophysical world impact the way in which we interpret, understand and eventually shape our surroundings and how these techniques relate to larger conceptual shifts in our cultural imaginary.   

  • 540
    Topics in Media for Landscape Architecture
    Topics in Media for Landscape Architecture

    In collaboration with biologists from USC Dornsife and technologists from a local startup, we will explore the ways in which biological and technological systems could be integrated through the design of new living media. The course will introduce new materials, fabrication and prototyping techniques to develop novel and cutting edge biodesign proposals, while exposing students to advanced research and design methods informed by current conversations within life sciences, biological design, synthetic biology, bio-arts, interaction design, and other relevant, emerging topics.

    Functioning as a research-based design laboratory, and providing hands-on experience in iterative design, prototyping techniques, and digital fabrication methods, students will collaborate to construct a functional living prototype, which they will present as part of a team representing the University of Southern California at the BioDesign Challenge competition in NYC in June, 2020. Course readings and discussions will focus on the social and ethical issues behind biodesign, as well as the opportunities this emerging area of practice affords, particularly as it relates to current and impending environmental challenges.

  • 542bL
    Landscape Architecture Design
    Landscape Architecture Design

    The final of the “core” studios, the scale moves into the territorial dimension, and tackles existential threats caused by one or more impacts of anthropocentrism – climate volatility, species extinctions, soil depletion, sea-level rise, air/water contamination, deforestation/desertification, etc. Working across scales, students will generate both site-specific strategies and replicable principles that can be deployed in multiple contexts. The studio will synthesize the material of landscape with economic, infrastructural, technological, scientific, social and cultural systems to generate ideas that have the potential for policy impact. 

    View the Spring 2020 Virtual EXPO Gallery

Related News
Two teams of USC School of Architecture faculty and students were awarded Arts in Action grants this academic year. Part of USC Visions and Voices, Arts in Action plants seeds ...
As climate change and sustainability have quickly risen to the top of USC’s list of urgent issues to tackle, USC Master of Landscape Architecture assistant professor Aroussiak ...
USC Architecture is proud to announce the recipients of its 2020 Research in Architecture, Faculty Research Grant and Student Research Grant programs. A total of nearly $155,000 ...
Related Events
Related People