Soft Landing - Social Studies Projects and Office Of   

Sunday, April 14th – 5:30pm

Please join us for the fourth event of Soft Landing: Social Studies Projects and Office Of in conversation at the VDL Research House.



The Series

Historically, Los Angeles was seen as a place both free from tradition and a fertile ground for experimentation. Architects in the 1970’s and 80's, faced with a different regulatory environment than today, practiced with a sense of looseness. They borrowed both the artists’ attitudes and the logic of Southern California’s standard and vernacular construction. Architecture at that time found a soft landing in the city, yielding a wealth of experimental buildings that became part of Los Angeles' architectural DNA.

Today, an emerging generation of architects find themselves practicing in a wholly different environment. With byzantine bureaucratic constraints, heightened awareness of growing social and environmental challenges, and more recently, a world still reverberating with the effects of a global pandemic, the L.A. Forum and VDL’s new event series Soft-Landing asks a group of emerging practitioners to discuss their work in the face of these circumstances: What embedded knowledge does one need to have in one's practice to create a soft landing today?  How do architectural practices find opportunities for experimentation while navigating various economic and bureaucratic constraints as well as  pressing social and environmental challenges? How does the built environment of Los Angeles influence their work? 

Each event of the series invites two practices to present their work in pairs. Speakers will discuss one of their projects and a building in Los Angeles that informs their work. A conversation with the public will follow the presentations.

The Speakers

Social Studies Projects

Social Studies Projects is a progressive design studio working across architecture, interiors, graphics, and exhibitions. Rooted in the California culture of grassroots experimentalism, collectivity, and innovation, the studio draws inspiration from historic precedents across multiple disciplines to create detail-driven, original projects for modern inhabitants — in Los Angeles and beyond. The SSP team of architects, designers, and strategists works through a rigorous, iterative design process to create original residential, commercial, and cultural projects together with their diverse network of collaborators. Within this collective model, the studio strives to respond uniquely to each project's specific context; climate, geography, culture, materiality, and history each play a part. 

Office Of: Office

Office Of: Office is a minority and women-led urban planning and architecture non-profit

that designs policy, projects, and programs for equitable city growth. With a diverse and

interdisciplinary staff, we have expertise in architecture, policy, community development,

outreach and engagement, and design. We combine this expertise in policy and community engagement with a deep understanding of the design, permitting, and construction processes. The goal of our work is to enhance community-oriented solutions through meaningful engagement and design-based strategies. We mirror this interdisciplinary commitment in our partnerships. We also develop policies, projects, and programs that foster cross-sector collaboration by convening community-based organizations, non-profits, and local government partners to address complex issues affecting communities and their built environment.


This program is presented by the L.A. Forum for Architecture and Urban Design and the VDL Research House.

Image Credits:

Image 01: House for Two Writers, Exterior View, Social Studies Projects. Photography by Tim Hirschmann, courtesy of SSP

Image 02: The BackYard Homes Project: 64th, Office Of: Office.

Image 03: House for a Party, Detail View, Social Studies Projects. Photography by Ye Rin Mok, courtesy of SSP 

Image 04: City of South Gate Permit Ready ADU Program, Office Of: Office