Inside SCI-Arc



Vicente Guallart: The Self-Sufficient City

Wed, Sept 24, 7pm
W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Vicente Guallart has been serving as Chief Architect of Barcelona City Council since 2011, with the responsibility of developing the strategic vision of the transformation of the city and its major development projects. He was also the first manager of Urban Habitat, a new department encompassing the areas of urban planning, housing, environment, infrastructures and information technologies.

Previously, Guallart founded the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), where he led projects such as the Media Houseproject (with MIT's CBA), HyperCatalunya, and the Fab Lab House. His professional office, Guallart Architects has developed projects such as the ports of Fugee and Keelung in Taiwan, the Sociopolis neighborhood in Valencia, and Gandia Sharing Blocks. His work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Museum of Modern Art and the AIA Washington.

Guallart's recently published book The Self-Sufficient City outlines a blueprint for the world to come, a world built around cities and their renewed capabilities to become productive again, based on principles of local self-sufficiency and global connectivity.

Eric Bunge: CTRL_A

Wed, Oct 1, 7pm
W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Eric Bunge, AIA is a co-founder and Principal of Brooklyn based nARCHITECTS and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia GSAPP. The practice’s ongoing work includes a winning design for the groundbreaking adAPT NYC competition to design Manhattan’s first micro unit apartment building (in construction); Pierscape at Chicago’s Navy Pier, a competition-winning project led by James Corner Field Operations (in construction); and the Wyckoff House Museum in Brooklyn.

In addition to these projects, nARCHITECTS is designing buildings and public spaces in Calgary, Seattle, Columbia, Md., Buffalo, Cleveland, and New York City. Recent work also includes Manhattan’s Switch Building, the ABC Department Store Facades in Beirut, Lebanon, and the bamboo MoMA/P.S.1 Canopy and Forest Pavilion in Taiwan.

MoMA/P.S.1 Bamboo Canopy and Forest Pavilion, Taiwan/nARCHITECTS (Photo: Iwan Baan)

Bunge’s lecture will focus on the balancing act between control and indeterminacy that he and co-founder Mimi Hoang confront in the work on current projects, which the firm refers to as Buildings & Almost Buildings.

Stefano Passeri: Design of Theory Fellowship Lecture, Inaugural Year (Part 1)

Fri, Oct 3, 7pm
The Steps

Stefano Passeri holds a Master of Architecture from SCI-Arc, a Master of Philosophy from the University of London, and a Bachelor of Science from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. He is the recipient of the AIA Henry Adams Medal and the 2013 SCI-Arc Gehry Prize for Best Thesis. Passeri has worked for Crab Studio and Pop Studio in London and New York and Xefirotarch in Los Angeles. His current research focuses on aspects of architectural representation, interiority, and monumentality. His work has been exhibited and published in Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Seoul and can be found at

Office Building, Stefano Passeri, SCI-Arc Gehry Prize 2013

Joshua Prince-Ramus: Agency

Wed, Oct 8, 7pm
W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Joshua Prince-Ramus is Principal of REX, an internationally acclaimed architecture and design firm based in New York City, whose name signifies a re-appraisal (RE) of architecture (X). Operating across many scales, REX consistently challenges and advances building typologies, and promotes the agency of architecture.

Seminal projects include the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas, Texas; the Vakko Fashion Center in Istanbul, Turkey; and the Seattle Central Library. The subject of numerous international exhibitions and publications, the work of REX has been recognized with many of the profession’s top accolades, including the American Institute of Architects’ National Honor Award in 2005 and 2011. Current projects include the Mercedes-Benz Future Center in Stuttgart; a 125-meter tall, dynamic, sunlight-responsive installation shading the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas; a $480 million, 80-story tower in Kuala Lumpur; and a 47,000 SF private residence on Long Island.

The Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas, Texas/REX Architecture (Photo: Iwan Baan)

REX is fundamentally driven to advance architectural agency. "We believe it is time for Architecture to do things again, not simply represent things. Departing from the modus operandi of most contemporary practices—where a formal agenda supersedes a project’s intractable realities—REX emphasizes performance, a hybrid of program, organization, and form calibrated to each client’s aspirations and each project’s constraints. Unprejudiced by convention or a preconceived aesthetic strategy, we return to root problems and doggedly explore them with a critical naiveté. Sometimes we discover uncharted territory; sometimes we rediscover forgotten territory that has renewed usefulness; sometimes we reaffirm conventions with assured conviction. Through this process, we expose solutions that transcend those we could have initially or individually imagined, and aspire to produce designs so functionally specific that they offer profoundly unique aesthetic experiences."

Michael Sorkin: How Green is My City

Monday, Oct 13, 7pm
W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

The planet is in big trouble. A degraded environment, incompetent nation states, soul-less multinationals, and exponential growth in population and expectations have led to an urban crisis. With over half of us already living in cities – a number that increases by over a million people a week – and with over half of those in slums, action is urgently needed. The repertoire of modern urban development – megacities, sprawl, hyper-density, divisive zoning – is clearly not up to the task. What can be done? The city itself – distributor, juxtaposition engine, hive, compact – is central to the answer, critical both as a logical increment of democratic governance and as a potentially radically sustainable environment. Can cities be organized and designed to take responsibility for the thriving of all citizens of earth? Are there urban forms and practices that can align our ecological footprints with our political space? How Green Is My City will speculate about this, using examples drawn from two decades of the speaker’s design research.

Michael Sorkin is Principal of the Michael Sorkin Studio, a design practice working at all scales with a special interest in the city and green architecture. The studio has undertaken major projects — including the design of new cities, districts, and buildings – in locations around the world. Sorkin is President and founder of Terreform, a non-profit institute dedicated to research into the forms and methods of just and sustainable urbanism.

Sorkin is President of the Forum/Institute for Urban Design, Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at The City College of New York,and has been Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and at Cooper Union, Yale, Columbia, Pennsylvania, Harvard, sci-ARC, Aarhus, and other schools. Author or editor of 17 books on architecture and urbanism, he is the architecture critic for The Nation. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in 2013 Sorkin won the National Design Award as “Design Mind.”

Hitoshi Abe: Informality

Wed, Oct 29, 7pm
W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

The recent work of Atelier Hitoshi Abe will be introduced through the notion of informality. Architecture has long been a formal disciple (stiff, organized and official) but may need to loosen up to take advantage of the opportunities of a quickly moving, globalized, networked and informal world. With an expanded bag of tools and techniques (tectonic, technological, social and political) available to the architect, forms of space and social interaction, that address both other human beings and new technologies, can be cultivated. Through the use of informal approaches to programming, spaces of a blurred, boundless, grey and increasingly heterogeneous character are one way to address the conditions of contemporary life and create critical roles for the architect as agent of social suggestion, instigator of novel collaborations and spatial synthesizer.

Hitoshi Abe has had a decade-long distinguished career as a leader in education. He earned his M.Arch from SCI-Arc in 1988 and his Ph.D. from Tohoky University in Sendai, Japan in 1993. Since 1992, when he won first prize in the Miyagi Stadium competition, he has maintained an active international design practice based in Sendai, Japan, and Los Angeles, as well as a schedule of lecturing and publishing which place him among the leaders in his field.

3M Headquarters, Minnesota/Atelier Hitoshi Abe

The work of Atelier Hitoshi Abe has received numerous awards in Japan and internationally. In 2007, he was appointed professor and chair of the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. In 2010, he was appointed Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Chair in the Study of Contemporary Japan as well as Director of the UCLA Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies.

Jake Matatyaou: Words, Buildings, Images

Friday, Oct 31, 1pm
Room 160

“If centuries ago [script] began gradually to lie down, passing from the upright inscription to the manuscript resting on sloping desks before finally taking itself to bed in the printed book, it now begins just as slowly to rise again from the ground. The newspaper is read more in the vertical than in the horizontal plane, while film and advertisement force the printed word entirely into the dictatorial perpendicular.” - Walter Benjamin, One Way Street (1928)

Digital interfaces organize attention through processes of framing which produce physical and psychic effects that inform how individuals relate to their environment and to each other. Given the increased blurring of private and public space caused by changes in norms of behavior that today’s screens enable, what is architecture’s role in mediating the relationship between digital interfaces and the human body?

This talk examines the ways in which digital interfaces trouble accepted notions of how individuals receive images and read text – and the place of architecture in these exchanges – through a close reading of Walter Benjamin's dictatorial perpendicular.

Jake Matatyaou is an educator, researcher, and designer based in Los Angeles, California. Motivated by exchanges across the disciplines of philosophy, politics, art, and architecture, his built and theoretical projects address questions of material and immaterial modes of cultural production and reception. Matatyaou received a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from UCLA in 2001, a Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University in 2008, and an M.Arch from Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in 2012. He has worked in the offices of Leong Leong Architects, Bernard Tschumi Architects, and is the principal of the research and design practice June. Jake also shapes surfboards for his label June Surfboards (

Florencia Pita + Jackilin Bloom: #colorforming

Wed, Nov 5, 7pm
W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Pita & Bloom is an architectural design studio focused on producing new ways of engaging with the built environment by challenging formal and material conventions. Started in 2010 by Florencia Pita and Jackilin Hah Bloom as a research collaborative, Pita & Bloom’s current investigations include the methodologies of two-dimensional contouring, developing hyper-digitized building tiles, and studying applications of chromatic color in architecture.

The work of Pita & Bloom to date includes competition proposals for cultural buildings such as the Taichung City Cultural Center in Taiwan, an urban housing ideas project in Maribor, Slovenia and an urban park scheme in San Francisco, California. In January of 2014, Pita & Bloom were called "two female visionaries" in Architecture Magazine's Next Progressives. They were one of five finalists of the prestigious MoMA PS1 YAP competition in 2014 and will exhibit their proposal at MoMA in an upcoming show.

Balloon Frame, MoMA PS1 YAP Competition 2014/Pita+Bloom

Florencia Pita is the principal of FPMod and a partner of Pita & Bloom. She graduated from the National University of Rosario, Argentina, School of Architecture, with licensure. In 1999, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to pursue studies at Columbia University, where she received her Master’s Degree in 2001. Her work experience includes the offices of Greg Lynn FORM in Los Angeles, Eisenman Architects in New York City and Asymptote in New York City. Pita holds a full-time faculty position at SCI-Arc and is the editor of the school’s biannual publication of student work, Onramp. She has been a visiting professor at the Pratt Institute in New York and Lund University in Sweden.

Jackilin Hah Bloom is the principal of JHB Studio and partner of Pita & Bloom. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the USC School of Architecture and a Masters of Architecture from the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Bloom has worked for Daly Genik Architects (currently Kevin Daly Architects) in Los Angeles, and Greg Lynn FORM also in Los Angeles, where she completed ten years of experience in the office’s pioneering digital design and fabrication work. She currently teaches design studios at SCI-Arc.

Sandra Yum: Growing Pains

Fri, Nov 7, 1pm
Room 160

Approaching the architectural practice from the perspective of a student, the lecture hopes to disassemble the notion of “star-chitect” practices and develop an understanding of the often times chaotic and non-linear inspirations and incidents that lead a practice to a “finished” design. By recounting through personal experience, the lecture will look at specific projects done under the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, as well as one’s own work to understand the growing pains of a young architect, and the optimistic will that inspires design.

Sandy Yum is the principal of XO,Axo with offices in New York and Los Angeles.

Currently teaching at SCI-Arc, her design and research interests range from large urban scale architectural interventions to small furniture designs, with an emphasis on reexamining typologies and their contemporary definitions. Yum received her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She has worked under several distinguished International firms, most recently of which she was Project Lead at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, New York. She has worked on many award-winning projects with highly acclaimed international status.

Bernard Tschumi: Concept & Notation

Mon, Nov 10, 7pm
W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Bernard Tschumi will retrace key moments in the architect’s practice, arguing two fundamental points. First, architecture must be made out of ideas and concepts before becoming form. Second, it cannot be dissociated from the events and movement of the bodies that inhabit it. In consequence, architecture demands new modes of notation to construct an architectural language capable of embodying the interactions between space, event, and movement.

Covering projects extending from the early Manhattan Transcripts, situated at the borders of art, literature, and cinema, to the recently completed Paris Zoo, Tschumi will inquire into what architecture can be today.

Bernard Tschumi is an architect based in New York and Paris. First known as a theorist, he exhibited and published The Manhattan Transcripts and wrote Architecture and Disjunction, a series of theoretical essays. Major built works include the Parc de la Villette, the New Acropolis Museum, Le Fresnoy Center for the Contemporary Arts, MuséoParc Alésia and the Paris Zoo. His most recent book is Architecture Concepts: Red is Not a Color, a comprehensive collection of his conceptual and built projects. His drawings and models are in the collections of several major museums, including MoMA in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, including in the spring of 2014, a major retrospective.

Herwig Baumgartner + Scott Uriu: Familiar and the Uncanny

Wed, Nov 19, 7pm
W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Herwig Baumgartner and Scott Uriu, founders of Baumgartner+Uriu (B+U) in Los Angeles, form an internationally recognized design duo operating at the forefront of contemporary design. Their design process has been described as driven by digital techniques and advanced computation that utilizes new technologies and material resources. Their work consistently pushes the boundaries of architecture and urban design, experimenting with new spatial concepts, and intensifying existing urban landscapes in pursuit of a visionary aesthetic that encompasses all fields of design.

B+U's recent installation at SCI-Arc Gallery, Apertures, has been received with critical acclaim. In addition, their work has been on view at the FRAC Center in Orleans; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles; and the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale. Two monographs have been published on Baumgartner and Uriu’s work. Their designs have also been widely published and discussed in books, magazines and newspapers.

The firm was recently awarded the Maxine Frankel Award for design research, the AIA national award for emerging professionals, the Architizer A+Award for sustainability, and a 2014 City of Los Angeles Artist Grant.

Sou Fujimoto: Between Nature and Architecture

Wed, Dec 3, 7pm
W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Sou Fujimoto founded Sou Fujimoto Architects in 2000. His most important works include the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013, House NA (2011), the Musashino Art University Museum & Library (2010), the Final Wooden House (2008) and House N (2008). In 2012, he participated in the Japan Pavilion exhibition at the International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, which received the Golden Lion for Best National Participation.

In 2013, he became the youngest architect to accept the invitation to design the annual summer pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery in London. Most recently, he won the 2014 International Competition for the Second Folly of Montpellier.

Serpentine Gallery, London, Sou Fujimoto Architects

Among other awards, Fujimoto also received the Grand Prize of the 2006 AR Awards for the Children’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation in Hokkaido, Japan, and the First Prize in the international competition for Taiwan Tower and the Beton Hala Waterfront Center in 2011.

SCI-Arc lectures, discussions, symposia and special events are archived on the new SCI-Arc Media Archive. Click on the link below to visit the site.