USC School of Architecture

The USC School of Architecture is the architecture school at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. It is one of USC's 17 professional schools, offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of architecture, building science, landscape architecture and heritage conservation (historic preservation).

USC School of Architecture
USC School of Architecture logo.svg
DeanMilton S. F. Curry
Associate DeanJoon-Ho Choi and Douglas E. Noble
Academic staff
StudentsApproximately 750
Location, ,

The School of Architecture is consistently ranked amongst the most prestigious architecture schools in the country. For 2018, the undergraduate program in architecture was ranked 5th, and the graduate program in architecture was ranked 9th in the nation by DesignIntelligence.[1] Notable alumni that graduated from the School include Frank Gehry, Thom Mayne and Paul Williams.


The program at USC began as an architecture department in 1916. Soon after, with the help of the Allied Architects of Los Angeles, a separate School of Architecture was established in 1925.[2] By 1928, majors and degree-granting programs were provided to students. One of the earliest undergraduate programs was the 5-year professional Bachelor of Architecture program. Over the years, the school grew and expanded its influence into one of the premier architecture programs in the country. The school now offers 3 undergraduate degrees, 3 undergraduate minors, 4 master's degrees and 1 Ph.D.

The current main buildings are Watt Hall & Harris Hall. Watt Hall was built in 1974 and designed by alumnus Edward Killingsworth ('40).[3]

USC Architecture took over maintenance of the Gamble House,[4] the Craftsman masterpiece in Pasadena designed by Greene and Greene in 1966 in a joint deed with the city of Pasadena, which took over responsibility for the grounds.[3] The school also owns the Samuel Freeman House, a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles built in 1923.[5] The Freeman house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.[6] The house has also been listed as a California Historical Landmark #1011,[7] and as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #247 in 1981.[8] The Freeman house is undergoing long-term stabilization and rehabilitation.

Fields of StudyEdit

Watt Hall houses the School of Architecture as well as the Roski School of Art and Design

Undergraduate ArchitectureEdit

Director: Doris Sung.
The undergraduate "B. Arch" is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.[9] The "NAAB" is the sole authority for granting accreditation for professional architecture degree programs.

Graduate ArchitectureEdit

Director: Alvin Huang.
The graduate "M. Arch" is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.[10] As an accredited professional degree, the M.Arch provides firm grounding knowledge in history, technology, professional practice and theory. The studio is the core setting for students to learn to synthesize the cultural, environmental and tectonic thinking through informed design practice. The separate Master of Advanced Architecture Studies (MAAS) is a post-professional degree for those who already have a Bachelor of Architecture degree.

Graduate Heritage ConservationEdit

Director: Trudi Sandmeier.
The graduate heritage conservation curriculum is designed to expose students to the full breadth of the profession, including "...materials conservation, policy and planning, conservation theory, global conservation efforts, architectural and landscape history, best-practices in resource documentation and evaluation, sustainability, and historic site management."[11]

Graduate Landscape Architecture + UrbanismEdit

Director: Alison Hirsch.
Landscape architecture at USC is a design-centered program centered on a trans-disciplinary approach. The Master of Landscape Architecture is accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB).[12]

Graduate Building ScienceEdit

Director: Douglas E. Noble, FAIA, Ph.D.
The Master of Building Science (MBS) degree program was recognized as a "top-notch program" by ARCHITECT: Journal of the American Institute of Architects, in 2009.[13] Building science focuses on the relationship of the human condition and to natural forces. The USC Chase L. Leavitt Graduate Building Science program emphasizes the breadth of technology in architecture, including structures, building systems, analytical computing and BIM, building envelopes, design theories and methods, human comfort, sustainability, acoustics, lighting and daylighting.


Harris Hall, USC School of Architecture

The School of Architecture is located in the Harris Hall and Watt Hall Complex, at the southern end of the USC University Park Campus. The school comprises over 50,000 square feet (4,600 m2) of design studios, classrooms, galleries, workshops and labs. Students in the USC School of Architecture have their own 24-7 personal workstations. Students have access to their projects at all times. Watt Hall contains one of the best regional architecture libraries, and is home to extensive woodshop and fabrication facilities. The complex also houses several gallery review spaces and, next door, the "USC Fisher Museum of Art".


Many of the faculty members at the School of Architecture are practicing professionals and researchers. The majority of the faculty are active members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) or the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and 14 are Fellows of AIA (FAIA).

Notable Faculty:[14]

Notable Former Faculty:

Notable Former Visiting Faculty:[15]


Many of the students that have graduated from the USC School of Architecture have moved on to be leading figures in the architectural community.


  1. ^ "DesignIntelligence Announces Top Architecture Schools for 2017–2018". ArchDaily. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  2. ^ A Separate School of Architecture established
  3. ^ a b Allison Engel, In memoriam: Samuel Hurst, 94, USC News, April 28, 2015, accessed February 7, 2017.
  4. ^ Gamble House celebrates 50 years of the gift to USC and Pasadena
  5. ^ Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation article about the Freeman House
  6. ^ National Register #71000146
  7. ^ California Historical Landmark #1011
  8. ^ Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Landmark #247
  9. ^ Full accreditation renewed for eight years
  10. ^ USC M.ARCH program receives maximum term of accreditation
  11. ^ Master of Heritage Conservation, University of Southern California
  12. ^ Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Southern California
  13. ^ Top=Notch Program: Master of Building Science, University of Southern California
  14. ^ "People". USC School of Architecture. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  15. ^ "Endowed Faculty Positions". USC School of Architecture. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  16. ^ Woo, Elaine (December 9, 2012). "Barry Berkus dies at 77; architect of mass-market housing". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  17. ^ "Behnaz Farahi". Behnaz Farahi. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  18. ^ "SDA | Synthesis Design". Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  19. ^ "Alvin Huang". USC School of Architecture. Retrieved 2019-01-16.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 34°01′09″N 118°17′17″W / 34.019155°N 118.288026°W / 34.019155; -118.288026