University of Southern California (Emily)



Aug '08 - Jul '09

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    3.15 :: Scott Johnson + Sustainable Cities

    Emily Kemper
    Nov 13, '08 1:33 PM EST

    The other day I think I saw someone complaining that the school bloggers weren't blogging about lectures enough. I feel bad about this: I missed the first few lectures of the semester because I was simply too tired or too busy to go. But, I went to the lecture at USC yesterday - subjecting myself to a 14-hour day in the process - and I wanted to share some reflections from it.

    Scott Johnson is one-half of the Los Angeles juggernaut firm Johnson Fain; he also taught a class that I had last semester that focused on criticality and practice. I found the class I had with Scott to be engaging and thought provoking and so I made sure to stay around to see him speak. His lecture was as interesting as I expected; Scott has been working on a book about skyscrapers, which he described for the first half of the talk, and in the second half he spoke about some of the work that his firm has done. The part about the book was great - who doesn't like talking about skyscrapers? - and when he started showing slides of work that his firm has done, I was a little taken aback. Apparently some of my favorite buildings in Los Angeles, including the Metropolitan Lofts in South Park, were designed by Johnson Fain! No kidding. I would put some pictures up but their web site is Flash so I can't :o/ But here's a shot from the lecture:

    Scott talked a little bit about environmental skyscrapers in the first half of his lecture, and by extension, sustainable cities. This leads me to mention a mid-term that I had yesterday morning in my Urbanism class. I'm one of those people that always finishes tests last; it's not because I'm slow, I'm just meticulous and I double check everything. Yesterday our professor gave us the questions for our essays, including a question about sustainable cities, and I just started writing like my pen was on fire. I actually finished in the first group of people, and I think it had something to do with my interest in the subject. I can't say that any of my answers were precisely what the professor is looking for, but he seemed receptive to creative thinking about the subject, so I used the opportunity to write about instances of urbanism that interest me. Plus I threw Cincinnati, and its great public space Fountain Square, in the mix too ... I love talking about the Midwest to coastal folks. Mainly I think that there are great instances of urban environments in all sorts of places, and if my hometown can add to that discussion, might as well include it...

    A photo that I took in Fountain Square before they moved the Fountain 42' east. The square works as well after the move as it did before the move. And look, a skyscraper too. See how I tie everything together? :oP

    Coming full circle, I'll be writing a paper about sustainable cities for my final project in this Urbanism class. And yes, I'll be talking about Masdar, and Dongtan, and others. More on that when it's finished!

    here's that aerial image of Masdar that everyone has seen 10 times already


    • Michael Carroll

      Should anyone be interested, Northeastern publishes their lecture series as podcasts on iTunesU.

      I believe the architecture ones are under architecture [sorry I can't confirm, I'm at work...]

      We usually get some good offices to come through. No starkitects, though I can't say I'm all too disappointed. Last lectures I went to before starting work were VJAA and Office dA.

      Nov 13, 08 3:24 pm  · 
      vado retro

      now i've seen it 11 times.

      Nov 14, 08 10:57 pm  · 

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