Lisa Findley

Lisa Findley profile image

Professor Lisa Findley teaches both MArch and BArch students in advanced design studios and special topic seminars at CCA. In 2015 she inaugurated a summer travel studio based in Yunnan Province, in the extreme southwest of the country.  

Findley is a registered architect and an active architectural journalist who writes primarily in public venues to explore architecture and its position as a visual, material, and cultural practice in a rapidly changing world.

Her architectural education was underpinned by undergraduate work in environmental science and policy as well as political theory. As a result, her reading, research, and writing cross over into many other fields including cultural geography and anthropology, cultural and postcolonial studies, landscape architecture, natural history, and cartography.

She is a frequent participant in conferences related to architecture, geography, and cultural studies. In addition, she has delivered keynote addesses at symposia on the topic of making visible marginalized cultures in urban settings (Aboriginal owners in Melbourne, Australia; Deaf Culture in Washington, D.C.).

With a keen interest in travel and other cultures, Findley has taught and lectured at universities in Malaysia, Australia, and South Africa as well as throughout the United States, and has worked as an international workshop teacher in SE Asia with the Getty Conservation Institute.

She has traveled extensively as an architectural journalist and academic in pursuit of an ever-increasing understanding of the roles architecture and space play within the dynamics of culture and power, and the role architects and their practices can perform in the exploration and manifestation of locally based modernisms.

Findley is author of the book Building Change: Architecture, Politics, and Cultural Agency (Routledge, 2005) and the following essays, among others:

  • "Architecture and the Representation of Culture: The Tjibaou Cultural Center" in The Green Braid: Towards an Architecture of Ecology, Economy, and Equity (Routledge, 2007)
  • "Once Again by the Pacific: Returning to Sea Ranch" with coauthor Tim Culvahouse in Judging Architectural Value (Minnesota 2007)
  • “Red and Gold: Two Apartheid Museums and the Spatial Politics of Memory in the 'New' South Africa” in Places Journal online, (2011)
  • "Productive Public", an essay for exhibition catalog Energy: Oil and Post-Oil Architecture and Grid, Curated by Pippo Ciorra, (2013), MAXXI_The National Museum of XXI Century Art, Italy, Rome
  • "Becoming Visible: Appropriating the Spaces of Apartheid South Africa" (with coauthor Liz Ogbu) in the book Consuming Architecture (Routledge 2014).
  • “Materia: The Subject is Materia", an essay for “Materia Arquitectonica”, a monograph on the work of Mexico City-based practice, Materia, (2014), Mexico City, Arquine Press

With coeditors Marco Cenzatti and Abidin Kusno, Findley was a theme editor for the spring 2010 issue of the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE) titled Changing Asia. She served on the editorial board of the Journal of Architectural Education from 2004–10 and as a contributing editor to Architectural Record from 2003–10. She is currently on the ACSA Committee on Research and Scholarship.

As an architectural journalist, Findley has written scores of articles for numerous publications including Architect magazine, Architecture magazine, Architectural Record, Harvard Design Magazine, World Architecture, Architecture Australia, Architecture South Africa, Baumeister and Places Journal.

Findley's current research is on contemporary architects and architectural practices outside of Europe and North America that seek robust locally derived building technologies and formal, spatial and contextual building strategies that form a response to the homogenization and the capital intensive technologies of globalized practice.

Findley has taught architecture at CCA since 1994. She is the founder of CCA's Graduate Program in Architecture, served as interim chair for both the BArch and MArch Programs from 2005-8, and served as chair of the BArch Program from 2009-12. She is a receipient of the 2016-17 ACSA Distinguished Teaching Award in the Scholarship category.


Design Observer #1
Design Observer #2 (with coauthor Liz Ogbu)

Architect magazine #1
Architect magazine #2
Architect magazine #3

Professor, Architecture
Professor, Diversity Studies

BA, University of California, Santa Cruz; MArch, University of California, Los Angeles