Acadia 2014 Opens


The 2014 ACADIA conference – Design Agency – opens at the University of Southern California School of Architecture, Los Angeles, California, USA on October 23. Keynote speakers include Zaha Hadid, Will Wright, Casey Reas and Marc Fornes. For further details see


layout_ACADIA_2014_BannerThe 2014 ACADIA conference – Design Agency – will be held at the University of Southern California School of Architecture, Los Angeles, California, USA on October 23-25, with additional workshops taking place on 20-22 October. The event is being organized by USC professors, Alvin Huang, David Gerber and Jose Sanchez. It is supported by the University of Southern California School of Architecture, Viterbi School of Engineering, and School of Cinematic Arts. For further details see:

USC Professor in India and China

SSA_Summer Workshop Poster_Final_Small-1USC Professor, Neil Leach, is taking part in a series of conferences and workshops in India and China. On 13 July he was the keynote speaker at an Open Symposium, Iconoclastic Towers, at Sushant University, Gurgaon, India. On 22 July he will take part in a conference on Robotic Fabrication at Tongji University, Shanghai. On 23 July he will take part in a symposium at the Architectural Association Summer School in Shanghai, and on 26 July he will deliver a lecture as part of the Tsinghua University Computational Design Workshop in Beijing. For the 2014-2015 academic year Neil Leach will be a Visiting Professor at Harvard GSD.


RILAO2RILAO5RILAO1RILAO4MAARCH students from USC School of Architecture presented the final visualizations of their RILAO projects on 7 May. RILAO is a Design Fiction research project that imagines a new hybrid city of RILAO based on the ‘genetic DNA’ of Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro under instructor Neil Leach. Alex McDowell is conducting a parallel research project within the USC School of Cinematic Arts. The theme of RILAO is being explored in a number of institutions across the globe including the RCA in London and the Dessau Institute of Architecture in Germany.

Lucy McRae Lecture

LucyMcRaeLucy McRae gave a lecture at the USC School of Cinematic Arts on 22 April. Lucy is a body architect who invents invents playful, imaginary worlds underpinned by the tools of science fiction and technology, to create portals of possibility that provoke the way people embody the future. Trained in classical ballet and interior design, Lucy staked her claim as the world’s premier Body Architect during her formative years at Philips Design. Working in the far future design research lab she developed stretchable electronics, an electronic tattoo and a range of emotional sensing dresses awarded Time’s Best Fashion Invention in 2007. On a search for beauty in the biological, Lucy invented Swallowable Parfum, a scented capsule releasing a genetically unique fragrance through the skins surface, and a color changing liquid textile for Swedish pop star Robyn. Set on challenging the limits of the body, Lucy was invited to join the TED Fellowship program in 2012 and spoke at TED Long Beach on How Technology will Transform the Body. Her talk has been viewed 1,200,000 times and counting.

Liam Young Lecture

under-tomorrows-sky_daniel-dociu-1-webLiam Young gave a lecture in the USC School of Cinematic Arts on 9 April. Liam is an architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He has consulted and conducted workshops on speculation, emerging technologies and future forecasting for firms including Arup- Drivers for Change, Phillips Technologies, BBC, the film industry and various arts and science organizations. His projects include ‘Under Tomorrows Sky’ a science fiction movie set for a fictional future city developed through collaborations with scientists and technologists and ‘Electronic Countermeasures’, a swarm of quadcopter drones that drift through the city broadcasting a pirate internet and file sharing hub. He has also co founded the ‘Unknown Fields Division’, an award winning nomadic workshop that travels on annual expeditions to the ends of the earth to investigate unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and industrial ecologies. Liam was named by Blueprint magazine as one of 25 people who will change architecture and design. He currently teaches at the Architectural Association in London and is visiting professor at Princeton University.

Hao Li Lecture

HaoLi2Hao Li gave a lecture in the School of Cinematic Arts on 2 April. Professor Li recently joined USC as an assistant professor of Computer Science, after working for a year at the R&D group at Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm as a research lead, developing next generation real-time performance capture technologies for the upcoming Starwars episodes. Prior to his time in the visual effects industry, he spent a year as a postdoctoral research at Columbia and Princeton Universities, right after obtaining his Ph. D. from ETH Zurich in 2010. His research lies in geometry processing, 3D reconstruction, and realtime performance capture. While primarily developed for Computer Graphics and Vision applications, his work on geometry-driven performance capture has also impacted the field of human shape analysis and biomedicine. His algorithms are widely deployed in the industry ranging from leading visual effects studios to manufacturers of state-of-the-art radiation therapy systems. He has been named top 35 innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review in 2013 and this year’s NextGen 10: Innovators under 40 by CSQ magazine. He was also awarded the Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship for prospective researchers in 2011, and obtained the best paper award at the Symposium of Computer Animation in 2009.

Studio Kinect Interim Review

Collage_2S3ENARHI_COLORLineDrawing1-01-01This research studio is based on an exploration of the potential use of Microsoft’s best-selling Kinect motion sensor in order to help us understand and explore the potential of architectural space. Although Kinect was intended as an interactive device to enable users to control and interact with their gaming consoles through gestures and voice commands alone, and without the need for a traditional game controller, it has been hacked and its potential exploited by researchers and creative coders all over the world. Medical researchers have used it to track mental disorders. Researchers at MIT have used it to control robots. It has even been developed to allow you to play the piano on a simple table. Here at USC, architectural researchers have exploited its potential to allow structures to dance with the body, and walls to respond to the human voice. What further potential applications does this remarkable device hold for architecture? The first part of the semester focused on the use of Kinect as a scanning device.

Demo at USC School of Cinematic Arts

USC Architecture student Laura Rodrigues tests out a mobile virtual reality device.

USC Architecture student Laura Rodrigues tests out a mobile virtual reality device.

Students from the USC School of Architecture attended a demo of virtual reality and immersive reality technologies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) given by Alex McDowell and Brad Newman. USC has been at the forefront of such technologies for some time now, largely due to the pioneering work of Mark Bolas and others at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. A number of successful products were developed there, including the Oculus Rift device, whose company was recently bought out by Facebook. Students were introduced to Oculus Rift. They were also shown a mobile virtual reality headgear that uses the logic of motion capture in reverse, so that by tracking the users with infra red sensors the device can allow them to walk through a virtual architectural space. The highlight of the demo, however, was possibly the new immersive reality technology developed by USC SCA in association with Intel Technologies. The technology was premiered to great critical acclaim to show the Leviathan Project at the recent Intel CES 2014 conference in Las Vegas:

Skyline Exhibition

Living Wall by Behnaz Farahi

Living Wall by Behnaz Farahi

Skyline, Los Angeles’ annual ten-night architecture + arts + entertainment event is currently open until 22 February. Contributors include Behnaz Farahi, Annenberg Fellow at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, along with other architects including Filipa Valente, Juan Azulay and Guvenc Ozel. For full details of the event see: