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University Of Southern California: The Latest Architecture and News

Architecture Students and Faculty Lead the Charge in Equitable Housing Solutions

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Architecture Students and Faculty Lead the Charge in Equitable Housing Solutions, A USC Architecture student pins up a project in Watt Hall.
A USC Architecture student pins up a project in Watt Hall.

From short supply and high demand to a lack of affordable options, housing in Los Angeles is a complex and prominent issue that deserves the attention of local universities. As the crisis continues to evolve, architecture and architectural education are vital parts of the discussion surrounding housing equity.

A Definitive List of the Best U.S. Architecture Schools 2019

12:00 - 17 September, 2018
A Definitive List of the Best U.S. Architecture Schools 2019, via Shutterstock
via Shutterstock

Earlier this month, we published the results of DesignIntelligence’s annual ranking of U.S. architecture schools, listing the top Undergraduate and Graduate schools for 2019. Using feedback from architecture and interior design professionals, the full analysis delves deeper than a generic “Most Admired Architecture Schools” list, and instead breaks the rankings down into twelve categories, focusing on technology, design theory, and more.

Free and open to the public, the full list on DesignIntelligence’s website offers comprehensive top-10 listings at both Undergraduate and Graduate level across the twelve categories, attained from surveys from approximately 6000 professionals, 360 academics, and 5500 students. Below, we have summarized the findings in a top-5 format, with the full listings ready to be explored on the official website here.

7 “Napavilions” to Provide Perfect Snoozing Spots in China's Jade Valley Vineyard

08:00 - 17 June, 2016
7 “Napavilions” to Provide Perfect Snoozing Spots in China's Jade Valley Vineyard, "Woodokan" by Hajima Yoshida, Japan. Image via University of Southern California and the American Academy in China
"Woodokan" by Hajima Yoshida, Japan. Image via University of Southern California and the American Academy in China

The University of Southern California's American Academy in China (AAC) has announced the seven winning designs for the international Napavilion Competition. Entrants had to design prefabricated wood structures with the sole function of providing space for guests to nap in. The winning designs will be built at Jade Valley Winery outside of Xi’an in western China, with three to be completed in time for the Napavilion Festival in July.

“Mooring Pavilion” by Doing Arch, China. Image via University of Southern California and the American Academy in China "Unlimited Expandable Pavilion" ARBAB & Associates Architects, Iran. Image via University of Southern California and the American Academy in China “Pillow” by Ida&Billy Architects, Hong Kong. Image via University of Southern California and the American Academy in China "Pinocchio's Whale" by Andrea Falco, Italy . Image via University of Southern California and the American Academy in China + 15

The Best US Architecture Schools for 2016 are...

14:30 - 6 November, 2015
The Best US Architecture Schools for 2016 are... , The Trays at Harvard GSD. Image © Kris Snibbe/Harvard University News Office
The Trays at Harvard GSD. Image © Kris Snibbe/Harvard University News Office

DesignIntelligence has released their 2016 rankings of the Best Architecture Schools in the US for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Nearly 1500 professional practice organizations were surveyed this year, as part of the survey's 16th edition, and were asked the following question: “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which of the following schools are best preparing students for success in the profession?”

This information, along with detailed accounts on the best programs that teach skills in design, communication, sustainability and technology, resulted in the 2016 rankings. The two top schools, Cornell for undergraduates and Harvard for graduates, held their positions as the best programs to attend, according to the study.

Without further ado, the top 10 undergraduate and graduate programs in the US are...

USC's ACADIA 2014 Conference to Focus on Design and Computation

00:00 - 14 October, 2014
USC's ACADIA 2014 Conference to Focus on Design and Computation, © USC School of Architecture
© USC School of Architecture

Thursday, October 23 will mark the opening of the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) 2014 Design Agency conference at the USC School of Architecture in Los Angeles. Hosted by faculty Alvin Huang, Jose Sanchez, and David Gerber, the conference will exhibit and share a broad spectrum of design and research that highlights innovation in architecture through a focus on design and computation. Headliners include Pritzker laureate Zaha Hadid, SimCity creator Will Wright and computational architect Mar Fornes.

NASA Tech Brief Awards Top Honors to Contour Crafting’s Automated Construction Methodology

00:00 - 7 October, 2014
© Contour Crafting
© Contour Crafting

Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California has won Grand Prize in the NASA Tech Briefs magazine’s “Create the Future” contest for his entry, "Robotic Building Construction by Contour Crafting.” The revolutionary construction method was awarded for being a “major innovation” that could potentially 3D print entire neighborhoods in half the time and at 30 percent less cost than traditional building methods.

Though some have visions of using Contour Crafting (CC) to sculpt the moon's first settlements, Khoshnevis primary desire is combat the world's housing shortage by using the automated construction method to rapidly deploy housing in impoverished and disaster areas.

More information and an interview with Khoshnevis on CNN, after the break. 

BLOCK: Envisioning Future Cities in a Video Game

00:00 - 10 September, 2014

BLOCK is a video game that "will breach the digital with the physical" and allow anyone to become an active participant in the future of Los Angeles. Described by FAST Co.Exist as "Minecraft for real life" the gameplay, which also bears similarity to The Sims, is founded on understanding the interdependencies of city entities such as housing, shops, parks and infrastructure. The objective of the game is to both educate people and to generate user data for design patterns for the Los Angeles of 2050, producing the first database of a future city. BLOCK allows the player to understand the ecology of the urban realm (focusing on resources such as money, waste, and social capital) ultimately encouraging entrepreneurship "through the design of an ecological urbanism." Fundamentally, it allows for new opportunities to be conceived in the city.

From the Desert to the City: An Interview with Wendell Burnette

00:00 - 2 May, 2014
From the Desert to the City: An Interview with Wendell Burnette, © Bill Timmerman
© Bill Timmerman

Since childhood, growing up on a farm outside of Nashville, Wendell Burnette has been inspired by nature; indeed, the amplification of the natural site has highlighted his body of work. In the following question and answer by Guy Horton of Metropolis Magazine, the Pheonix-based architect speaks about memories, inspiration and experience.

Wendell Burnette’s journey through architecture has taken him from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, where he has designed a type of architecture that resonates with the power of natural surroundings. It has also taken him to one of the world’s fastest growing cities, Phoenix, Arizona, where his practice, Wendell Burnette Architects, is based and where he calls home. More recently it has brought him to Los Angeles where he is the current Nancy M. & Edward D. Fox Urban Design Critic at the USC School of Architecture. He is also Professor of Practice at The Design School at Arizona State University's Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts.

I spoke with Burnette about his approach to architecture, the importance of direct experience, and the meaning behind his current USC studio, “Earth Curvature”.

Material Studies: When Architecture Meets Fashion

00:00 - 16 April, 2014

A few months ago, fourteen 5th-year architecture students at the University of Southern California (USC) were given an unusual challenge: select two materials, and two only, to design and construct... a Mao jacket.

The results, exhibited at the university on March 7th, were fourteen fascinating experimentations with unusual materials - including everything from rubber erasers to acrylic paint to 5,500 metal Mao pins (shipped direct from China). 

As Lee Olvera, the studio lead, told USC News, “It’s an exploration of program and function. In architecture, we’re called upon to design the skins of buildings all the time. This project infuses our intuitive skills of artistry and aesthetics with the rigor of analytical and performance-based material experimentation to create innovative working solutions."

Check out more images from this unusual studio project, after the break.

"Penny matches – 41,600 of them – were stuck into plastic crochet mesh by Caroline Duncan. The matches were clipped, one row at a time, to create a fabric of varying heights. The green dots are the matchheads". Image Courtesy of University of South California Flickr Page "Nick Tedesco discovered that it took about 10 hours to hand-sew a square foot of his colored pencil erasers". Image Courtesy of University of South California Flickr Page "Industrial strength caulk wasn’t strong enough to hold the smooth surface of thumbtacks on Sean Miller’s jacket, leading to torn sections and emergency repairs". Image Courtesy of University of South California Flickr Page "Corey Koczarski started with Rockite, a substance used for patching cracks in concrete. He cast Rockite in silicon molds, experimenting with thicknesses and profile to come up a shape that could be reproduced 4,948 times and linked together". Image Courtesy of University of South California Flickr Page + 8

What If Dubai's Next Tower Were an Architecture School?

00:00 - 2 April, 2014
What If Dubai's Next Tower Were an Architecture School? , Courtesy of Evan Shieh, Ali Chen
Courtesy of Evan Shieh, Ali Chen

BLUE TAPE, the winning proposal of an international competition to design an Architecture School adjacent to the American University in Dubai, “is a vertical re-imagining of the typical architecture school typology.” Submitted by USC alumni Evan Shieh and Ali Chen, BLUE TAPE, which transforms a horizontal pin-up space into a vertical 'conceptual connector,' is inspired by USC's 'Blue Tape Reviews' (their method of pinning up work for design reviews).

Are Ivy League Schools Really Offering the Best Architectural Education?

00:00 - 26 November, 2013
Are Ivy League Schools Really Offering the Best Architectural Education?, Harvard University's Gund Hall. Image © Harvard University
Harvard University's Gund Hall. Image © Harvard University

In Design Intelligence's annual rankings of US Architecture Schools, released earlier this month, there is certainly a lot to talk about. Of course, plenty will be said about what is shown immediately by the statistics, and rightly so - but just as interesting is what is revealed between the lines of this report, about the schools themselves and the culture they exist within. By taking the opinions of professional architects, teachers and students, the Design Intelligence report exposes a complex network which, when examined closely enough, reveals what some might see as a worrying trend within architectural education.