The 2004 Planning and Design Guidelines

The information on this microsite ( reflects archival data last updated in 2008. For the most accurate current information on the University Village Specific Plan, please visit

In February 2004, after years of planning and documentation, the USC Board of Trustees formally approved a set of architectural and landscape guidelines for the University Park campus. The overall goal was to make sure that new campus development would harmonize with the Italian Romanesque style exemplified in the campus’s historic core (in particular, Bovard Administration Building, Doheny Memorial Library, Mudd Memorial Hall of Philosophy and Gwynn Wilson Student Union).

The architectural guidelines stipulate that new structures should be of masonry construction, in a color range compatible with the campus environment. Additionally, buildings are to be aligned in such a way that their main entrances are located along campus streets, courtyards, quadrangles and other public spaces. To maximize building-site opportunities while maintaining the historic character of the campus, new facilities should be three to four stories in height, with full basements. Finally, the guidelines provide for the eventual replacement of existing buildings that make inefficient use of space or have outlived their usefulness.

Landscape guidelines call for plantings that are compatible with the Southern California climate as well as for the creation of new quadrangles, or public spaces. Likewise, the guidelines specify that courtyards defined as the outdoor living rooms of the campus should be included in new buildings when feasible, and that existing courtyards should be improved. Over time, the campus’s sidewalk-lined streets will be replaced by tree-lined pedestrian ways providing access to building entrances as well as outdoor seating areas and bicycle parking.

The 2004 Planning and Design Guidelines are intended to prevent the university from succumbing to the architectural fashions of the moment, and to ensure that the University Park campus will warm the hearts and inspire the loyalty of the hundreds of thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and others who will make use of it in the decades ahead.

map of University Park campus built out in accordance with the 2004 Planning and Design Guidelines
This map shows a University Park campus built out in accordance with the 2004 Planning and Design Guidelines, which called for making the best possible use of available real estate, recapturing the campus’s architectural coherence, defining spaces while making connections among various campus elements, and enhancing the pedestrian experience.

Photo of  Irani Hall
In place of a surface parking lot, USC gained a state-of-the-art facility for teaching and research in molecular and computational biology when Ray R. Irani Hall opened in 2005.

Photo of Ronald Tutor Hall at night
Ultra-modern on the inside, Ronald Tutor Hall has a stately exterior whose brick and cast concrete reflect the heritage of the University Park campus’s most historic buildings. This latest addition to USC’s engineering complex opened its doors in February 2005.