Lauren Matchison, AIA

Associate Professor of Practice & Director of Pre-College Programs


B.Arch, University of Arizona M.Arch, Syracuse University

Lauren is currently the Director of Pre-College Programs, which includes the A-Lab Architecture Development Program and two Exploration of Architecture Programs. She formerly served as the Program Coordinator for the Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies as well as the Interim Director of Landscape Architecture + Urbanism. Lauren began teaching at USC Architecture in 2007.


In 2020 she was named co-winner (with Amy Murphy) of the prestigious ACSA Diversity Achievement award for her work on A-LAB and the School’s wider diversity efforts. She was also recently awarded a USC Good Neighbors grant in support of A-LAB and its mission to expand collegiate opportunities for local high school students. Much of her teaching and leadership at USC Architecture has been geared toward reaching young architecture students. She engages undergraduate students through fundamental courses in design, drawing, culture, research, and shelter, among others. In 2019 she was one of a handful of recipients across USC of the Provost’s Office Teaching Award. Creating a strong culture of mentorship for new students is also among her highest priorities.


Lauren is an Associate Professor of Practice and a licensed architect in California. Her research interests include architectural education and pedagogy, the intersection of architecture with health and wellness, and architecture and socio-cultural practices. Her most recent papers “Achieving Educational Equity: Architecture Development Programs as Transformative Models to Increase Inclusivity in University Admissions” and “Creating an Academic Community of Inquiry: Educating Architects to Replace Parameters with People” reflect these interests. Lauren received a Master of Architecture degree from Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Arizona.

Related Links: The Inaugural Class Of The A-lab Architecture Development Program Celebrates CommencementTo Tackle Architectures Diversity Problem USC Opens Doors to LA Teens

Currently Teaching
  • 303
    Principles of Spatial Design I
    Principles of Spatial Design I
    Prerequisite(s): ARCH 203 Introduction to design principles and processes; sequence of exercises emphasizing development of basic skills, ideas, and techniques used in the creation of simplified urban space design projects.
  • 306m

    “We shape our buildings: thereafter they shape us.” Sir Winston Churchill


    This course asks a seemingly simple question – what is shelter? The answer however, is quite complex.

    Understanding shelter involves untangling many important and influential contextual factors, which we will study throughout the semester.


    It is typically thought that people design domestic shelter based on physical opportunities and constraints

    (i.e. climate, materials, construction, etc). However, reliance on physical factors alone to create shelter is a gross oversimplification. Humans are social beings, operating within complex belief systems, family

    structures, social classes, gender relationships, etc. This course posits that it is these powerful social and

    cultural factors, rather than the physical factors, which truly drive the creation of shelter and provide a

    framework for value and order.

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