USC School of Architecture Fall 2020 Virtual Lecture Series
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USC School of Architecture Fall 2020 Virtual Lecture Series

September 9, 2020 @ 6:00 pm PDT

From social justice to climate change, the politics of place and structural engineering, the USC School of Architecture’s fall 2020 virtual lecture series brings contemporary issues to the forefront. This semester’s series kicks off with a virtual lecture from Sara Zewde of Harlem-based Studio Zewde, a landscape architecture and urban design firm dedicated to exploring the “aesthetics of being.” Additional speakers this semester join us virtually from their practices around the world, including renowned structural engineer Jun Sato, based in Tokyo, and Gabriela Etchegaray, co-founder of Mexico City-based architecture firm AMBROSI | ETCHEGARAY.

“While we wish we could safely gather together in person this semester to hear from this prestigious group of professionals, we’re pleased to present our first fully virtual lecture series. This platform allows us to provide complimentary public programming to curious minds around the world while spotlighting a diverse range of global speakers,” said Milton S. F. Curry, dean of USC School of Architecture. “Many of this fall’s lecturers have multidisciplinary backgrounds and work towards solving today’s pressing challenges, offering our students and greater community a firsthand understanding of what it means to be a citizen-architect. We hope you’ll join us for a series of thought-provoking and intimate conversations with this semester’s lineup.”

The USC Architecture lectures and events series hosts prominent and emerging architects, designers and thinkers from around the world and presents topics related to architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism, heritage conservation, building science, social justice, and more. For decades, USC Architecture public programming has provided a stimulating environment for the exploration of ideas that permeate culture at the School, in Los Angeles, and beyond.

Unless otherwise noted, all lectures begin at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time and will be held on Zoom. All virtual events are free and open to the public, though registration is required via the Zoom links below.

Aug. 26: Lecture, Sara Zewde, Studio Zewde

Sara Zewde is founding principal of Studio Zewde, a design firm in New York City practicing landscape architecture, urbanism, and public art. The studio is devoted to exploring the “aesthetics of being” and creating enduring places where people belong. Sara holds a master’s of landscape architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a master’s of city planning from MIT, and a B.A. in sociology and statistics from Boston University. She also serves as assistant professor of practice at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Sept. 2: Dean’s CreativeTalks: Asia Cities, Architecture and Real Estate

Innovative thinking is needed to answer questions of equitable urbanization and urban redevelopment of Asian Cities. This includes challenges found in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai, and Taipei, as well as their metropolitan regions that include rural and ecologically precarious areas of human settlement and occupation. New methodologies need to be deployed to increase equitable distribution and access to public goods and resources and diversify housing supply to address the cultural and economic nuances of regional populations. Our Dean’s CreativeTalks conversation will probe aspects of these and other issues with thought-leaders from the full spectrum of architecture and urban design, real estate, and master-planning sectors of the design-build industry.


Adriel Chan, Hang Lung Properties

Grace Black Cheung, Principal Architect, X-Range

Kenny Gaw, Gaw Capital Partners

Stephen Wong, Edward Wong Development Co. Ltd.

Sept. 9: Lecture, Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, City College of New York

Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, AIA ASLA, is a professor and director of the graduate landscape architecture program at the City College of New York. Her work explores adaptation to climate change in urban environments and the novel transformation of landscape restoration practices. She also examines the intersection of political power, environmental activism, and public health, particularly as seen through the design of public space and policy. Her books include Depositions: Roberto Burle Marx and Public Landscapes under Dictatorship (University of Texas Press, 2018) and Structures of Coastal Resilience (Island Press, 2018). Her recent work explores Burle Marx’s early advocacy for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the ongoing impacts of deforestation and the COVID-19 epidemic on the biome and Brazil’s Indigenous populations.

Sept. 23: Lecture, Dolores Hayden, Yale University

Dolores Hayden, professor emerita at Yale University, writes about built environments and the politics of place. Her work has spanned architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and American cultural history as she has pioneered the analysis of vernacular buildings and landscapes to explore larger political questions about gender, class, and race. She’s a former president of the Urban History Association and a Fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Sept. 30: Lecture, Michael Maltzan, Michael Maltzan Architecture

Michael Maltzan founded Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc. in 1995. His projects cross a wide range of typologies, from cultural institutions to city infrastructure. Michael’s notable projects include the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University, MoMA QNS, Star Apartments, the Pittman Dowell Residence, the new Sixth Street Viaduct, MIT Vassar Street Residential Hall, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery Inuit Art Centre. His work has gained international acclaim for innovation in both design and construction and has been widely featured in publications and exhibitions worldwide. Michael received an M.Arch from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and BFA and B.Arch degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design. Michael is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award, and the 2016 AIA Los Angeles Gold Medal Honoree.

This semester’s participating speakers include:

Oct. 14: Lecture, Jun Sato, University of Tokyo/Jun Sato Structural Engineers

Through collaborations with architects, workshops with students, and research in his laboratory, Jun Sato develops lightweight, ductile structures and transparent or translucent structures that serve as filters for environmental substances. Sato is principal engineer at Jun Sato Structural Engineers Co., Ltd., and an associate professor at the University of Tokyo. He is also the recipient of the 2009 Japan Structural Design Award.

Oct. 28: Lecture, Hossein Rezai-Jorabi, WEB STRUCTURES

Dr. Rezai is an engineer, a design visionary and an educator. One of the initiators of the concept of “fusion engineering,” he is the first and only engineer to receive the coveted title of “Designer of the Year” from the president of Singapore. He is passionate about the process of advanced computational design and a holistic approach to architecture + structure + environment. Dr. Rezai’s high-profile contributions to industry discourse include his involvement on the 13th cycle Aga Khan Award for Architecture’s Master Jury in 2016, as a jury member for the Singapore President’s Design Award (2017-2018) and as Vice Chair (2019-2020).

Nov. 4: Lecture, Gabriela Etchegaray, AMBROSI | ETCHEGARAY

Gabriela Etchegaray is the co-founder of AMBROSI ETCHEGARAY, an architecture studio based in Mexico City, in partnership with Jorge Ambrosi. She holds an M.S. in critical, curatorial and conceptual practices in architecture from Columbia University and was appointed curator for the Mexican Pavilion at the 2018 Biennale di Venezia. Etchegaray was selected by the Architectural Record as Design Vanguard 2017 and received the recognition of Emerging Voices by the Architectural League of New York in 2015. She recently founded LAYA, a place, medium and space to express theoretical, mediatic, artistic and discursive proposals free from the domain and/or traditional expectations that promote a limited vision of architecture.

RELATED LINKS: Download the Lectures Series Poster