Cuff is has engaged cultural studies in architecture and the city as a teacher, scholar, practitioner, and activist. Her leadership urban innovation is widely recognized both in the US and abroad. Cuff is the founding Director of cityLAB, a think tank that engages experimental design and research about the emerging metropolis. Founded in 2006, cityLAB is currently developing innovative, hi-performance, low cost infill housing prototypes as backyard homes for Los Angeles. State policy, a full-scale installation on the UCLA campus, and a demonstration house to be constructed on behalf of the LA Mayor’s office and the Bloomberg Innovation team are all part of this project. cityLAB was invited to exhibit at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale, was featured on CNN and in Newsweek magazine, and was named one of the top four urban think tanks in the country by Architect Magazine. In 2013, Cuff and a cross-disciplinary team at UCLA received a substantial multi-year award from The Mellon Foundation for the “Urban Humanities Initiative” which brings the humanities and design together to build new curricular and discursive platforms to better understand collective life in Pacific Rim megacities. This initiative was renewed by the Mellon in 2016, with funding to create a sustainable program in Urban Humanities for undergraduates and graduates at UCLA.

Cuff has published and lectured extensively about the modern American metropolis, the architectural profession, affordable housing, and spatially embedded computing. She has written and edited a number of books, including Architects’ People (with W.R. Ellis; 1989), Architecture: The Story of Practice (1989), The Provisional City (2000), a collection of Robert Gutman’s writings (Architecture from the Outside In, with J. Wreidt; 2010), and Fast Forward Urbanism (with R. Sherman, 2011).


Image credits from left to right:
1 - Backyard BI(h)OME, Kavin Daly Architects and UCLA AUD students, Los Angeles, 2015
2 - Backyard Homes research project, 2006-2010
3 - WPA2.0: Working Public Architecture, cityLAB's international design competition, 2008-2012
4 - cityLAB installation at Venice Architecture Biennale, American Pavilion, 2010


Ph.D., Architecture, UC Berkeley
B.A., Psychology and Design, UC Santa Cruz




2004 Lise Meitner Endowed Chair at Lund University in Sweden

2004-2006 Fellow of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA