Inside SCI-Arc


03.25.11 | W.M. Keck Lecture Hall, SCI-Arc
Material Beyond Materials: A Composite Tectonics Conference on Advanced Materials and Digital Manufacturing

Friday, March 25, 6-8pm
Saturday, March 26, 10am-5pm
Hosted by SCI-Arc
(960 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA)

In the News:
The Architect's Newspaper: Review > Inventing the Future

Fostering direct exchange between architects and companies invested in the field of advanced materials and fabrication technologies, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) hosts Material beyond Materials—a composite tectonics conference on advanced materials and digital manufacturing.

Taking place on the SCI-Arc campus in downtown Los Angeles, the two-day forum open to the public and the community at large will explore technological advances in composite materials, innovations in construction, and current design discourse—with some of the most important names in today’s building, fabrication and design industries.

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Material beyond Materials combines progressive presentations in the fields of architecture, the arts, engineering and materials research. Conference participants will present and discuss their most innovative ideas, projects and positions concerning materials, technology and the impact on the architecture and construction disciplines and professions.

Confirmed participants include:

Michelle Addington, Professor, Yale School of Architecture
Hernan Diaz Alonso, Graduate Program Chair, SCI-Arc; Principal, Xefirotarch
Evan Douglis, Dean, Rensselaer Polytechnic; Evan Douglis Studio
John Enright, Undergraduate Programs Chair, SCI-Arc; Griffin Enright Architects
Andreas Froech, Owner, Machineous, Los Angeles
Marcelyn Gow, Design Faculty, SCI-Arc; Partner and founding member, servo
Craig Hodgetts, Principal, Hodgetts+Fung Design and Architecture
Kurt Jordan, Structural Engineer specializing in composites, Jordan Composites Inc, Mill Valley, CA
Bill Kreysler, Founder and President, Kreysler & Associates
Mike Lepech, Stanford University
Greg Lynn, Faculty Member, UCLA and University of Applied Arts Vienna; Principal, Greg Lynn FORM
Urs Meier, Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
Achim Menges, Professor/Director, Institute for Computational Design, Stuttgart University
Eric Owen Moss, Director, SCI-Arc; Principal and Lead Designer, Eric Owen Moss Architects
Bill Pearson, Technical Director, North Technology Group
Wolfgang Rieder, CEO, Rieder Composites
Marcelo Spina, Design Faculty, SCI-Arc; Founder and Co-Principal, PATTERNS
Ruben Suare, 3-Form Advanced Technology
Nader Tehrani, Professor and Head of Department, Architectural Design, MIT; Founding Principal, Office dA
Peter Testa, Design Faculty, SCI-Arc; Principal, Testa/Weiser; Founding Director, MIT Emergent Design Group
Devyn Weiser, Design Faculty, SCI-Arc; Principal, Testa/Weiser; Founding Director, MIT Emergent Group
Tom Wiscombe, Design Faculty SCI-Arc; Principal, EMERGENT

Program & Panels


Introduction to SCI-Arc: Hsinming Fung
SCI-Arc Director of Academic Programs, Principal of Hodgetts & Fung

Material Beyond Materials Introduction: Marcelo Spina
SCI-Arc Design Faculty, Principal of Patterns

Keynote Lecture: Evan Douglis, Synthetic Form
Dean of Rensselaer Polytechnic and Principal of Evan Douglis Studio


Panel 1: Integrating Complexity
Moderator: John Enright
Presenters: Wolfgang Reider, Ruben Suare, Kurt Jordan & Urs Meier

Systems integration and the inherent complexity derived from them are assessed from the viewpoint of composites. Topics include structural performance, complex analysis, lightweight properties, and integrated assembly. Aspects such as construction code and city requirements are also discussed. Panel focuses on the potential for streamlining construction and the integration of composites within a larger available material palette.

Panel 2: Synthesizing Behavior
Moderator: Hernan Diaz Alonso
Presmeters: Achim Menghes, Andreas Froech & Bill Kreysler

Synthetic behavior and qualities are at the core of composites. Topics include material variability as opposed to traditional materials, anisotropic materiality, gradients, coloration, light transmission, real vs. synthetic as well as emerging effects derived from all of these aspects. Panel focuses on new possibilities for innovation enabled by designing and altering material at the level of matter.

Lunch Break

Panel 3: Performing Environments
Moderator: Marcelyn Gow
Presenters: Michelle Addington, Mike Lepech & Tom Wiscombe

Performance and environments are understood in a broader sense, to relate material to our physical environment or to suggest that materials themselves can constitute immersive environments. Topics include new and smart materials, green technologies, the impact on sustainability, but also issues such as fire rating, life cycles, material performance and economies. Panel focuses on the environmental potential of designing with composites.

Panel 4: Manufacturing Construction
Moderator: Craig Hodgetts
Presenters: Greg Lynn, Peter Testa & Bill Pearson

Manufacturing construction as opposed to manufacturing buildings is at the center of the discussion. Topics include prefabrication processes, on site vs. off-site construction, digital fabrication and the role of craftsmanship, refined versus rustic, tooling and tools; automation, and the role of robotics in new design paradigms.

Concluding Remarks/Q&A Session
Moderators: Devyn Weiser & Marcelo Spina
Discussion Panel: Evan Douglis, Greg Lynn, Michelle Addington & Achim Menghes

Reception & Drinks

Each panel is 1:15 to 1:30 hours long, with 15-minute presentations by panelists and 30 minutes for round table discussions.

The Material beyond Materials morning and afternoon sessions on Sat, March 26, have been registered by the American Institute of Architects (AIA)/Continuing Education System (CES) to offer Learning Units. Click HERE to read the full announcement.

This year, be a part of the evolution, network and learn from the best in the field of advanced materials and fabrication technologies, and some of the field's foremost architects and designers. Register today to attend the Material beyond Materials Conference hosted by SCI-Arc on March 25-26 in Los Angeles.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public. RSVP to reserve your space—email your name, company, address, and daytime phone to

Lead sponsors:

Sustaining sponsor:

Participating sponsors: