Rebecca Choi, Ph.D.


BA, Design|Media Arts, UCLA; MA, Urban Planning and Design Development, UCLA; PhD Candidate, History Architecture & Urban Design, UCLA

Rebecca Choi is interested in the politics, culture and representation of urban space and architectural form. Trained as an architectural historian, her scholarship focuses on 20th century architecture and urbanism with an emphasis on race and gender. Her research ambitions include broadening architecture’s disciplinary boundaries to include greater intersectionality and collaboration with discourses found in gender studies and critical race theory.

Her dissertation, titled Architecture and “the Race Problem:” Practicing the City in Civil Rights examines architecture’s relationship to the changing landscape of American race relations in the late 1940s to early 1960s. It considers changes in black consciousness and will to act—from civil rights protests, boycotts, sit-ins to riots, resistance and refusals—as events that had an unavoidable sphere of influence on the field of architecture. Here, she engages the history of civil rights, architectural pedagogy, urban sociology to provide an alternative genealogy of urban design.

Rebecca’s teaching looks to historical methodologies used in cultural history to teach students how to read a variety of objects—and the content that it bears—to expose how prosaic narratives and social movements can intervene in architecture’s history. She is an active collaborator with the Feminist Art and Architecture Collaborative, reviewer for the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, and has contributed writing to the Avery Review, Places Journal and Harvard Design Magazine. Rebecca works regularly with a number of Los Angeles-based architecture practices including StudioHAU and urban research studios such as the NOW Institute.

Currently Teaching
  • 114
    Architecture Culture and Community
    Architecture Culture and Community
    This introductory course investigates the role of architecture as a cultural product linked to a variety of external influences that shape the built and natural environment. Students will develop an awareness of design as a collaborative process and address issues of environmental sustainability, social responsibility, human behavior, diversity, and community.
  • 444
    Great Houses of Los Angeles
    Great Houses of Los Angeles
    Experience the work of seven noteworthy architects (Greene and Greene, Wright, Schindler, Neutra, Eames, Koenig, and Lautner) who practiced in southern California in the early to middle 20th century. By visiting their classic houses--often considered to be among the most innovative examples of housing design in the US - students gain a deep understanding of the design ideas and principles embedded in these settings. Students will study each house’s significance through critical readings that reveal the architect's ideas and the impact of these places on the evolution of architecture. Saturday site visits of ten southern California houses designed by these master architects allow students to study and interpret the meaning of the architect's intentions through direct experience. Site visits, selected readings, class discussion, and lectures are used to explore a range of issues. Course faculty Victor Regnier, FAIA, is a teacher, researcher, and architect who has focused his academic and professional life on the design of housing and community settings for older people. He holds a joint professorship between the USC School of Architecture and the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, which is the only joint appointment of this type in the US. He is also the only person to have achieved fellowship status in both the American Institute of Architects and the Gerontological Society of America. From 1992 until 1996 he served as USC’s Dean of the School of Architecture. Consistently one of the most popular courses in the School of Architecture, this course takes you behind the scenes in some of the most interesting houses in Los Angeles with a renowned expert in the field.
  • 514B
    Global History of Architecture II
    Global History of Architecture II

    A historical survey of global architecture, analyzed as a product of social, cultural, religious and political forces.a: 4500 BCE to 1500 CE; b: 1500 CE to present.

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