Aroussiak Gabrielian, Ph.D., FAAR

Assistant Professor

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

Aroussiak Gabrielian is a scholar-practitioner working across the fields of Landscape Architecture and Media Arts. She 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. Her work in landscape media 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’s speculations on alternative environmental futures have received numerous design awards, including, most recently, 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 in Landscape Architecture from the American Academy in Rome. Her work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Austin, Portland, St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York City, and in venues across Italy, Germany, and Canada. 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.


She is currently working on a book manuscript emerging from her PhD dissertation, Encounters with the Anthropocene: Synthetic Geologies, Diegetic Ecologies, and Other Landscape Imaginaries, which aims to torque our imaginaries to help us re-think our interactions with both human and non-human agents on this planet. 

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

Related Links: Website: www.foreground-da.comAcademia:

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
Faculty Spotlight: Aroussiak Gabrielian
Aroussiak Gabrielian will be joining the USC School of Architecture this fall as an assistant professor. She is a co-founder and design director of foreground design agency, a ...
International Women’s Month Wiki-thon Aims to Increase Representation
In honor of International Women’s Month, the Diversity, Inclusion and Access committee at the USC School of Architecture hosted its annual Wiki-thon last week to expand Wikipedia ...
USC Architecture Announces 2020 Faculty & Student Research Grant Recipients
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 ...
USC Architecture Appoints Four New Tenure Track Faculty
The School of Architecture is pleased to announce the appointments of four new tenure track faculty for the 2019-2020 academic year. J. Yolande Daniels, Aroussiak Gabrielian, and ...
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