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 work 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.

  • 505aL
    Graduate Architecture Design I - Principles
    Graduate Architecture Design I - Principles
    A general introduction to architectural principles, intended to develop design and critical thinking skills and proficiency to communicate those ideas effectively. Open to graduate architecture majors only.
  • 599
    Taming Smart Materials: A Workshop On Controlling Behavior With Geometries
    Taming Smart Materials: A Workshop On Controlling Behavior With Geometries

    This workshop will be an in-depth study correlating the importance of geometry with the control of smart material behavior. We will meet once a week to develop dynamic movement and surfaces using three different phase changing materials: shape memory polymers, polystyrene and shape memory alloys (or thermobimetal)--most of which will be provided by the instructor or handmade by the students. After the initial introduction of the scientific nature of the three materials and studying selected group of precedents through diagramming and replication, students will begin to familiarize themselves with the natural behavior of the smart materials and develop effective geometries in two and three-dimensions as well as integrate structural strategies for a final installation with a self-supporting surface. By the end of the semester, each student will build a self-assembling device as a culmination of their earlier studies.

    The device may be a responsive surface or an operable product or piece of furniture. The final presentation with include drawings/diagrams and will be made public physically and digitally.

  • 605bL
    Graduate Architecture Design- Comprehensive
    Graduate Architecture Design- Comprehensive

    Comprehensive project emphasizing the interaction between general principles and local sites, building technologies and total building design.

    View the Spring 2020 Virtual Expo Gallery

Related News
A Year in Review: Accolades & Honors
At the School of Architecture, we’re lucky to be home to some of the brightest students, faculty, and alumni in the field. In 2018, Trojans were recognized by some of the top ...
Faculty Awarded Grants from USC Center for Sustainability Solutions
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 ...
Professor Doris Sung Receives Prestigious USC Associates Award for Artistic Expression
USC has announced that associate professor of architecture Doris Sung will be honored at the 37th Annual Academic Honors Convocation on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Sung is one of ...
Student Teams Tackle Hypothetical Olympic Village Challenge for Eighth Annual Design Charrette
The USC Architectural Guild, with generous support from the Jack A. and Marilyn M. Zuber Charitable Trust, hosted its eighth annual Design Charrette on Saturday, January 12, ...
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 Two New Program Directors
USC Architecture today announced the appointment of two new program directors: associate professor Doris Sung as director of undergraduate architecture programs and associate ...
USC Faculty Firms Are Finalists in 2019 Architizer A+Awards
The Architizer A+Awards is an awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture and products. For each awards category, Architizer’s judges ...
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