Building upon its century-long tradition of innovative research, the USC School of Architecture (USCA) is emerging with new initiatives and events focused on research and creative work in leading-edge building technologies, landscape and ecology, sustainability, urbanism, and housing.
Research Seminar Series
This seminar series helps to enhance the research culture in the School and engage Architectural students and faculty who are interested in innovative research and creative work related to the built environment.
- Sept. 21, 2020 – Project HÉROE
David Louis Swartz, FAIA, IIDA
Senior Partner, HLW
Santa Monica, CA
Project HÉROE, a collaboration between HLW, the USC School of Architecture, and the USC Keck School of Medicine, was initiated to identify a creative solution for the optimal built response to a future pandemic. The multidisciplinary team of architects, medical professionals, engineers, and other specialty consultants developed a modular facility that can be assembled at any “Ground Zero” site where a new disease emerges, providing the best resources and people to fight and track an outbreak before it becomes a pandemic. The study provides a worldwide answer at a scale never before conceived so that the resources could be deployed anywhere on earth in just a few days. The earlier the built solution arrives at an outbreak site, the better chance there is at stemming it at its source.
- Sept. 9, 2020 – Black City: the Los Angeles edition
USC School of Architecture
black city: the Los Angeles edition, examines spatial subordination through patterns of disinvestment and the development of majority black cities in the late twentieth century, and, re-investment and the re-emergence of majority-minority city/states in the twenty-first century.
Research of African-American settlement in Los Angeles yields historic eventscapes of customs, policies and laws and narratives of Black community building efforts at every stage of development from the from origin of the Pueblo de Los Angeles founded by the Spanish in 1781, through statehood in the United States of America in 1850 to the present day.
Conceived as one of ten installations for the exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America set to open at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the Issues in Contemporary Architecture series in 2021, the project builds upon a body of work, principally the urban analysis, black city, that explores the elision of the representational tropes of “blackness” on the lives and spaces of African-Americans.
- Nov. 12, 2019 – Biopolitics in the Borderlands: Architectures and Media of Settler-Colonialism
USC School of Architecture
Nolan will present a chapter from a book-in-progress that examines how architectures and mass-media supported the management of population throughout different phases of Anglo-American settler colonialism. The book charts the evolution of agrarian resettlement techniques from mid-eighteenth-century Anglo-America to distant colonies and former colonies under the aegis of development. Conversely, the book investigates how adaptations of architecture and media by indigenous American groups were used to assert rights to self-sovereignty. Moving away from the assumption that biopolitics—the governance of population—developed first and foremost as a function of European urbanism, this research focuses instead on the United States’ shifting borderlands, showing how in this context territorial and biopolitical modes of governmentality converged. Nolan will present the final chapter of this book that examines how New Deal architectural strategies of resettlement were adapted to settler-colonialism in Kenya.
- Oct. 8, 2019 – Structural Bamboo: Cities of The Future
Bhavna Sharma, Ph.D.
USC School of Architecture
Structural bamboo is the low carbon material of the future that is an untapped global resource. Bamboo in raw form is increasingly used in structural applications. While natural materials often provide low-carbon solutions, they are not perceived as conventional construction materials, such as concrete and steel, due to inherent variability, perceived risk and degradation. Raw bamboo can be utilized in composite form similar to glue laminated and other engineered timber products. The material is being investigated globally for structural applications, although the leap from fundamental research to mainstream construction has yet to be made. The seminar will discuss the use of bamboo in construction, provide background on structural applications, as well as research on engineered bamboo and the next steps to bring the material into design and practice.
- Sept. 17, 2019 – The Healing Power of Light For Older Adults
Nastaran Shishegar, LEED GA, WELL AP
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lighting in buildings is one main environmental attribute that plays a significant role in managing biological, behavioral, and psychological symptoms through impacting visual and circadian systems. Considering the age-related changes in eyes and circadian system, specialized lighting design is essential to promote overall health and well-being in older people. This seminar describes specific lighting needs of older adults, explores scientific methods to design healthy lighting for this age group, and outlines a recently conducted study which evaluates the effects of tuning ambient illuminations on improving sleep quality, mood, and cognitive functions in older adults.
USCA Research Symposium
With a diverse and talented faculty and student body, the USC Architecture Research Symposium provides a meaningful effort to boost the research culture within the School, and to contribute to the development of research platforms that enhance collaborative endeavors between programs, disciplines, and practices.
- Apr. 16, 2020 – 1st Annual Research Symposium (Virtual Event)
ART + TECH + ENVIRONMENT: Integrated Design for a Regenerative and Resilient Built Environment
The first annual USCA Research Symposium, on April 16, 2020, offered an opportunity to think broadly about the fertile interchange between art, technology, and the environment, and seeks to convene a range of alternative approaches as offered by artists, architects, landscape architects, designers, technologists, planners, historians, and critics by framing discussions about design, resilience, and sustainability in the context of interdisciplinary creative and environmental practice.
In a time when pedagogical and disciplinary boundaries are disappearing and merging, we invite participants to think about their discipline in relation to another, and to build meaningful dialogue about the ways in which collaborations between art, tech, and the environment can begin to address some of the most pressing climate challenges of our day. Exploring Methodologies, Pedagogies and Practice, USCA invited proposals for presentations about integrative research, practice, and curricula that explore the intersections, synergies, and interfaces between arts, environments, technology and their influence on design, resilience, and sustainability.