Now in our second century, the USC School of Architecture envisions architects as citizens with a unique set of skills to enable and influence connection amongst and between students, faculty and communities.
Today, racial injustice and the global pandemic are drastically altering our perception and expectations of social and physical environments. A 21st century architectural education answers to the rising wave of uncertainty, social justice, political engagement, urbanism, and sustainability. The principles and values that motivate us as practitioners, designers, and scholars must be in alignment with how we organize our school and invest in future endeavors, allowing us to innovate with purpose and intentionality.
On Advice to Students:
“Despite the turbulence (and yearnings backward) that defines the current moment, you are coming of age in a moment when boundaries are visibly shifting. It may feel uncertain as you look beyond the threshold of the university, but if you remain persistent and true to yourself and your community (however you define it), your interests can be accommodated within the expanded field of architecture. This is not to say there won’t be a struggle, but I do not know of any other moment when this has been more true for more of the population.”
Together our supporters, alumni, faculty, and students are tirelessly working towards new solutions to current challenges. Here are highlights of the innovative programming our School is engaging in:
Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Recently, our faculty, staff, and students gathered in a democratic forum, listening and speaking with honesty and candor about curriculum improvements that could be made that would address unconscious bias and racial injustices. It was inspiring and enlightening to see our students convene amongst themselves, presenting comprehensive, constructive, and, most importantly, actionable plans to the administration. We look forward to implementing and recalibrating our teachings as a collective investment in transforming and providing a more just and inclusive academic environment.
As an international student who moved across continents to start a new life, USC School of Architecture has really made me feel at home. The faculty and staff members are super supportive and helpful, and so are my fellow classmates and seniors. From an academic point of view, I could not have asked for anything better.”
Honoring Legacy and Charting the Future Through Innovation and Research
The 35,000+ piece archive of renowned architect and USC alumnus Paul Revere Williams (1894–1980) has been jointly acquired by USC Architecture and the Getty Research Institute. Williams was the most significant African-American architect of the 20th century, with strong ties to Southern California and the City of Los Angeles. The archive will be a central feature of the forthcoming USC Center for Architecture + City Design – linking archival work on the design of cities with scholars and designers working on contemporary issues that engage architecture, conservation urbanism, and social practice. Read more.
In other research, spearheaded by alumnus David Swartz (M.Arch ’89), and developed in collaboration with architecture firm HLW and USC Keck School of Medicine, we launched the Project Héroe Research Initiative. This interdisciplinary task force comprising architects, consultants, medical experts, contractors, and USC Architecture students and recent graduates seeks built solutions to prevent future COVID-19-like outbreaks. Read more.
Investing in Our Students: Scholarships and Emergency Aid
Access to a world class education continues to be a university-wide imperative. USC Architecture has made significant progress to expand access and foster inclusivity. Today, 20% of our student body are first generation college students. However, the number of students in need of financial assistance is growing, with nearly 80% of our students receiving some form of aid. Your continued support of merit and need-based scholarships furthers academic funding opportunities, fostering a more culturally aware, diverse and inclusive design community. As undergraduate and graduate aid are in high demand, your contribution will have an immediate impact on a student’s academic career.
Every professor here really cares about you and understands what you are going through, as most professors here have been through a similar program. Although it is a rigorous program, the rewarding feeling once you reach the end of a project and see how far you have grown as an architecture student makes it all worth it.”
Now, more than ever, the safety, security, and wellbeing of our students is of the utmost importance. In response to the impact of COVID-19, more than $60,000 was to support short-term emergencies, or immediate financial assistance for our community and our students. Funds helped alleviate extreme hardships and hindrances that may have further interfered with their academic progress. As more unknowns are anticipated, this fund is critical to the future success of our students. Your support allows our students to continue to thrive, regardless of their financial situation.
LA has proven to be the ideal place to provide a medley of circumstances to incur on landscape and urbanistic studies, for it is a highly complex megalopolis that presents a wide array of problems and solutions.”
As one of the nation’s preeminent academic cultural institutions, we must continue to lead by example – utilizing the powerful tools of design and architecture to educate the next leaders of our built environment.
Our curriculum encourages students to exemplify the role of “Citizen Architects” – those who will create systems that benefit the public good, contributing to an imaginative and creative civic and public infrastructure. USC Architecture will prepare them with the skills, experience, and networks they need to succeed in contributing to this new world around them.
Consider making a gift today! For more information about supporting USC Architecture, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.