Doris Sung

Director of Undergraduate Architecture Programs; Associate Professor


BA, Princeton University M.Arch, Columbia University

Doris Sung brings active systems to sustainable design far beyond the simple "greening" of a building. With the belief that buildings can be more sensitive to the changing environment like human skin, she seeks ways to make the building skin dynamic and responsive. Through grant-funded research, she is developing smart materials, such as thermobimetals, to self-ventilate, self-shade, self-structure, self-assemble and self-propel in response to changes in temperatures--all with zero-energy and no controls. More recently, she is rethinking the liminal surface of the façade as part of a city’s infrastructure and designing innovative building products that will improve public health for pedestrians in addition to that of the building occupants.

Juggling between research and teaching at the University of Southern California, Doris publishes, lectures and exhibits internationally while managing to bring her patented inventions to the market. Her talk has reached 1.25 million views and her list of awards include an ‘Architectural Record’s’ Best Architectural Product Award, Architecture Masterprize, A/N’s Best Products Award, Architizer Z+ awards, National AIA Small Projects Award, ACSA Design Awards, ‘Architect Magazine’ R+D awards, World Technology Award and the [next idea] award from ARS Electronica. She has been named a fellow of Google’s R+D for the Built Environment, the U.S. Artist, the Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio Center) and the Headlands Center for the Arts.

Doris received her M.Arch. degree from Columbia University and her B.A. degree from Princeton University.

Professor Sung's appointment is supported by the AC Martin Family Fund for Faculty Excellence in Architecture and Building Sciences.

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Currently Teaching
  • 211
    Materials and Methods of Building Construction
    Materials and Methods of Building Construction

    Basic considerations and design implications of the problem of determination of the materials and the construction details and processes for buildings.

    Examine the critical role of materials and methods for the design and construction of buildings. The primary focus is on materials and systems, their properties and connections, and their intrinsic relationship to structural systems and environmental performance.

    Students will develop a fundamental understanding of: the relationship of materiality to construction systems and techniques, how building materials are manufactured, and how a material’s modular form, dimensions and intrinsic qualities influence the design process.

    Students will learn about various building systems, and how these systems assist in the expression of a design concept, through an examination of precedent projects whose design concepts were generated by material logics and systems. Students will work hands-on with building materials (concrete, wood, metal, etc.) to get an understanding of each material’s properties.

  • 480
    THE ACADEMIC SALON - Social Responsibility: Conversations on the Expanded Role of the Architect
    THE ACADEMIC SALON - Social Responsibility: Conversations on the Expanded Role of the Architect

    This course will follow the “flipped classroom” format, based on lectures delivered by outside luminaries in the broad field of the built environment. Students will view and attend lectures delivered by guest lecturers from the school’s lecture series and other invited experts as part of their homework assignment while in-class exercises comprise of a combination of conversations and workshops on the topic of the expanded role of the architect. As a group, we will contemplate and challenge the role of the architect in a format first started during the Renaissance period called the Salon that is best described by Justine Kolata in her essay for The European. This course will follow a similar format, open to all students and all ideas or positions. Students will be required to complete the assigned readings and attend a weekly lecture prior to class and complete an Interrogative Exercise each week. At the end of the semester, they will compile their semester findings in a one-page Reflective Essay. Various faculty guests with specific expertise may be invited to participate in the discussions each week to add another level to the discussion.

Related News
The USC Center for Sustainability Solutions has announced three USC Architecture faculty members as recipients of funds for the development of major multi-year research projects ...
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 today announced the appointment of two new program directors: associate professor Doris Sung as director of undergraduate architecture programs and associate ...
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