Olivier Touraine

Associate Professor of Practice


Dipl Arch, Ecole d'Architecture de Paris-la-Villette

Olivier Touraine graduated from the School of Architecture of Paris La Villette in 1987. Awarded the "Album de la Jeune Architecture" in 1994 (best architectural firm under 40). He received the "Villa Medicis Hors les Murs" Grant in 2000 and the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in 2005. He worked from 1987 to 1991 with Renzo Piano on the Kansai Airport Project in Osaka, Japan; with OMA/Rem Koolhaas, in Lille on the Congrexpo building in 1991; from 1992 to 1998 with Jean Nouvel in Paris on various projects in France, Eastern Europe and Asia; and from 1998 to 1999 with OMA/Rem Koolhaas, in Los Angeles on the Universal Studio HQ project. These three architects have all received the Pritzker Prize, the highest award in architecture. Olivier is currently a principal at Studio Touraine which was created in January 2012 following 14 years at Touraine Richmond Architects in Venice, CA,. Olivier teaches design studios at the University of Southern California. He has previously held teaching positions at UCLA, Columbia University, Pratt Institute, and SCI- Arc.

Currently Teaching
  • 316
    Place and Culture
    Place and Culture
    The goal of this seminar is to understand the cultural context of Spain, by examining its architecture, history, political and economic developments. Beginning in Madrid and travelling north, we will visit cities and landscapes and examine the variety of influences that determine their form. In Barcelona we will analyze the city’s major urban and architectural sites, topography, and systems of urban organization. We will examine Barcelona’s architectural practices that challenge and engage European traditional and modernist orthodoxies and its culture committed to design. In Southern Spain, we will examine cities shaped by a coexistence of different influences (Jewish, Christian, Muslim) and others dominated by one. While certain aspects of the built environment are intentional, others are not. How did a theory of urban and architectural design emerge in Spain, and where did it come from? What constitutes a “cultural geography” of place?
  • 406
    Global Studies Topics in Architecture, Urbanism, History & Art
    Global Studies Topics in Architecture, Urbanism, History & Art
    In preparation for the spring semester in Italy, this two-unit course introduces students to Italian history, to the history of Italian architecture, and to Italian culture. It includes a section on the history of Northern Europe. It prepares students for living in Italy in the Spring 2013 semester, for learning to interrogate and analyze diverse urban cultures, and for adapting to a different culture and language.
  • 424L
    Field Studies in Architecture
    Field Studies in Architecture
    Assignments rely principally on field trips and field research, while additional readings, class discussions and research will be utilized to develop a body of information and method of critique. Field research will focus on the first-hand observation, analysis, and documentation of existing buildings and their contexts so that lessons-learned can inform the design methodology applied in studio. Students will be challenged to articulate their analyses with respect to the specific urban, temporal, and cultural contexts. There will be ten assignments for each course: nine specific assignments and one assignment that you may choose the subject of yourself.
  • 580
    Field Studies
    Field Studies

    One of the most important aspects of field research is the opportunity to gain insight into the relationships between design language, building proposition and construction process of specific periods/architects/buildings/landscapes. It is an occasion to discover not only the tenets upon which an designer bases his work, but also how these tenets resolve complex relationships between a project, its site and the cultural/theoretical context in which it was constructed. Through thoughtful case study analysis students will explore how these external forces influence/direct the form and shape of the designed response.

    This Field Studies course will concentrate on projects and practices [from the analysis of buildings to the focused engagement with the methods of practice], landscapes and ecologies [both natural and manmade], and urban spaces [including parks, plazas, and urban (re)development projects]. The field study of these spaces and methods also provides an opportunity to understand the complex relationship of the designer with place. These place-based investigations will engage field studies to employ analytical methods, representational techniques, and speculative inquiry into the fundamental spatial and infra-structural elements of place. This investigation allows one to develop awareness as well as appreciate the complex relationship between a place, its inhabitants and the spaces that facilitate a multitude of events and activities.

Related News
Our virtual faculty exhibition series continues with a new exhibition on rethinking “manufactured homes” from associate professor of practice Olivier Touraine. The intent of the ...
*Note: This article is about our 2019 Paris program and all reporting was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic.USC Architecture’s Summer Paris Study Abroad Program was created ...
Related People