Inside SCI-Arc


Elena Manferdini Designs Installation for Seoul Art Show

At Human Scale, a new installation by SCI-Arc design faculty Elena Manferdini, sponsored by BMW, explored the role of automobiles in shaping our cities and our lives. On view at the Design ArtWork Fair in Seoul, Korea from May 20-24th, the show explored ways in which the city can change when people are placed at the center of the urban equation. It imagined what could happen in the near future if cars, humans and cities were to coexist, instead of existing in opposition to each other.

Placing visitors at the center of the urban experience, Manferdini's experiential installation had visitors feeling larger than usual. The volume of the buildings and the shadows on the floors and walls created a dynamic experience of density and at the same time, the shift of scale made them aware of their bodies being at center of the city.

Manferdini’s “At Human Scale” was on view at the Design Art Work in Seoul (May 20-24th 2015), part of the 10th edition of the Seoul Open Art Fair.

This installation in Seoul is part of a larger body of work capturing Manferdini’s interpretation of the city. It complements another exhibition of the architect’s work, Building the Picture, currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Elena Manferdini teaches design studio and visual studies seminars at SCI-Arc, and coordinates the school’s Graduate Thesis program. More about her work at

SCI-Arc Student Wins 2015 AWAF Scholarship

Graduate student Sara “Noni” Pittenger (M.Arch ‘15) of SCI-Arc has been selected to receive a 2015 scholarship award from the Association for Women in Architecture + Design. A panel discussion and award ceremony will be hosted at SCI-Arc on Saturday, May 16, from 10am-1pm. The competitive annual award is offered to women pursuing higher education in architecture, urban planning, civil engineering and environmental design.

Pittenger’s portfolio of work submitted for the award included several of her projects developed as a graduate student at SCI-Arc. Those included an urban housing project in Barcelona, Spain, a design for the United States Embassy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and a conceptual design for an affordable single family home, the IVRV House (shown here) designed for families in the Habitat for Humanity home ownership program.

The IVRV design champions the idea that beyond the crucial role of providing shelter, a well-designed home can help improve the lives and well-being of its residents, as well as the community beyond its walls. More at

The latter project was selected to be built this summer by SCI-Arc in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles and the LA County Community Development Commission. Pettinger will join the group of SCI-Arc students in charge of the build and will present the project as part of her master thesis in the fall.

More details about the AWAF scholarship can be found at

Alumni to Host One-Night-Only Group Show in Los Angeles

A group of Los Angeles-based alumni, emerging architects and artists, will host a one-night-only exhibition on Saturday, May 16, at the Holiday Lodge Motel in Los Angeles. Dubbed A One-Night Stand for Art & Architecture, the event (complemented by an eponymous publication) explores different forms of media, but also new possibilities for architectural strategies of subversion.

Organized by alumni Ryan Tyler Martinez (M.Arch ‘12), Anthony Morney (B.Arch ‘14) and William Hu (B.Arch ‘13), the exhibition showcases work by more than 15 alumni of SCI-Arc.

Organizers describe the show as a single encounter without expectations of further exposure or presence of its participants. “Further relations may be explored; memories may be written but nothing is carried to tomorrow. We return to banality once the night is over. The stability, the safety of the norm is returned. We provoke you with a taste. This one-night, this one moment allows our vices, our desires and our minds to tease, penetrate and release.”

The Holiday Lodge Motel is located at 1631 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90017. The event starts at 6pm. More details and a full list of participants can be found at

SCI-Arc Design Faculty Exhibit in 2015 C.O.L.A. Fellowship Show at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

SCI-Arc design faculty Herwig Baumgartner and Scott Uriu, principals of B+U, and Marcelyn Gow, principal of servo los angeles, are exhibiting their work in the 2015 C.O.L.A. Fellowship group exhibition which opens May 17 at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG). The three designers are among eleven winners of the Individual Artist Fellowships awarded annually by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs to recognize work in a wide array of creative fields including architecture, design, writing, sound art and photography.

Marcelyn Gow, servo Los Angeles, Semblances

The exhibition includes a new installation by Gow entitled Semblances, incorporating translations between images and objects that produce a fusion between architectural form and forms that appear to be constructed natures. The project is focused on creating gaps in perception that challenge what can be construed, or misconstrued, to be either real or fictive.

Baumgartner and Uriu are exhibiting their project Apertures, which reflects on the current architectural discourse of digital ecologies, leading to a new type of interactive, organic building. The installation focuses on a symbiotic relationship between nature, building morphologies, and material expression, producing an estrangement of the architectural envelope in relation to the body of the viewer.

Baumgartner + Uriu, B+U, Apertures

Also exhibiting in the 2015 C.O.L.A. Fellowship exhibition are Miyoshi Barosh, Kelly Barrie, Jeff Colson, Alexandra Grant, Harold Greene, Sherin Guirguis, Elizabeth Leister, Alan Nakagawa, and Barbara Strasen. The exhibition is curated by Scott Canty.

More details about the LAMAG exhibition are available here.

Eric Owen Moss Interviews in Istanbul Kalebodur Series

SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss is interviewed by architecture professor Dr. Abdi Guzer of the Middle East Technical University of Ankara as part of the Kalebodur Architects in Conversation series produced out of Istanbul.

“Los Angeles is a special city, and a really young city compared to Istanbul” begins Moss. “Relatively speaking, Los Angeles is a freer place to work compared to other major cities around the world.”

Anna Neimark Authors Publication in New Treatises Series

SCI-Arc design faculty Anna Neimark and partner Andrew Atwood of Los Angeles-based First Office have recently published a new manuscript of work, “Nine Essays” as part of a series of self-authored manuscripts produced in conjunction with the group exhibition Treatises: Why Write Alone? The group show was hosted this past spring at the Chicago headquarters of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

A public reception to celebrate the West Coast launch of the publication series will take place on Saturday, May 2, 5-8pm at the Neutra VDL House in Silver Lake, being co-hosted by Archinect and the Graham Foundation. (RSVP here)

The Treatises series features fourteen publications by designers participating in the recent group exhibition, Treatises: Why Write Alone? hosted at the Graham Foundation in Chicago.

The series of fourteen self-authored manuscripts takes its cues from the publication series Pamphlet Architecture as it originated in the 1970s. In contrast to Pamphlet, the Treatises project published all fourteen treatises at once in order to investigate the collective and individual stakes that have emerged from the temporary allegiance of designers who participated in the eponymous exhibition hosted by the Graham Foundation at its Chicago headquarters this past spring.

Publishing in the Treaties series alongside First Office are design firms Bittertang (New York); Bureau Spectacular (Chicago); CAMES/Gibson (Chicago); Design With Company (Chicago); FAKE Industries (New York); Pieterjan Ginckels (Brussels, Belgium); is-office (Chicago); Andrew Kovacs (Los Angeles); Alex Maymind (Los Angeles); Normal Kelley (Chicago and New York); Point Supreme (Athens, Greece); SOFTlab (New York); and Michael Young (New York).

First Office is a Los Angeles–based architecture and design collaborative founded by Andrew Atwood and Anna Neimark. Built projects include a collaboration on the Pinterest office headquarters in San Francisco, a dome stage in Afghanistan, a temporary screening room at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, and the rehabilitation of a shotgun house in Lexington, Kentucky. Their work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad, including at the Beijing Biennale, the Pacific Design Center, the WUHO Gallery, and the SCI-Arc Gallery in Los Angeles, among others.

Alumni Receive Award to Develop Digital Tool for Sustainable Urban Design

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected alumni Peter Arnold (M.Arch ‘94) and Hadley Arnold (M.Arch ‘94) of Woodbury University’s Arid Lands Institute as winners of the 2015 Latrobe Prize for their “Drylands Resilience Initiative: Digital Tools for Sustainable Urban Design in Arid and Semi-Arid Urban Centers.” The Latrobe Prize, named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for a two-year program of research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession.

ALI case studies explore areas that have extensive contamination, sites that are well suited to infiltration, and sites that are a combination of the two.

The $100,000 award will enable the Arid Lands Institute and its cross-disciplinary partners to further develop and test a proprietary digital design tool, known as “Hazel,” that eventually will enable arid communities anywhere to design and build the infrastructure needed to capture, retain and distribute stormwater runoff. The jury was particularly impressed with the institute's research plan, the working partnerships that are part of the proposal, and the social justice at the center of the research.

As founders and co-directors of the Arid Lands Institute, Peter and Hadley Arnold aim to train designers and citizens to innovate in response to hydrologic variability brought on by climate change. Part of their research, they created a stormwater runoff model based on 30-year precipitation data, assessed soil types and ground surface impermeability, and analyzed zones contaminated with chemicals to pinpoint areas best suited for stormwater infiltration and capture.

Their Drylands Resilience Initiative addresses the critical global issue of securing low-carbon and sustainable urban water supplies within arid urban centers. The proposed technology to be funded by the Latrobe Prize builds on previous public and private sector funded research to maximize low-carbon localized water supply, shape water-smart urban planning, zoning and building policy, as well as develop pilot projects that are scalable and replicable.The resulting digital tool should enable engineers and architects to make more thoughtful decisions on the integration of stormwater capture and reuse in their projects.

Ramiro Diaz-Granados, Matthew Au to Complete Installation at Oregon State University

SCI-Arc design faculty Ramiro Diaz-Granados (B.Arch ’96) of Los Angeles-based Amorphis, in collaboration with alumnus Matthew Au (M.Arch ‘11), are currently at work on an interior intervention for a new building on the campus of Oregon State University.

Afterglow is built out of laser-cut aluminum sheets and anodized with gradient color.

Titled Afterglow, their design is being installed in the university’s new Student Experience Center (SEC), aiming to inject a vibrantly colored set of surfaces that produce an atmospheric effect similar to afterglows—optical phenomena associated with the scattering of light particles during sunset, producing a range of warm rosy hues in the sky.

Their proposal adheres to and takes its cues from the building’s architecture, serving as an eccentric counterpart to the building’s exterior facades. While the exterior of the building is intended to be contextual with the larger campus setting and its neo-classical import, the interior lobby has baroque ambitions. The plan geometry that defines the lobby is comprised of irregular and overlapping shapes based on a composition of arcs. As a result, the building’s interior has no single center, but several multiplied centers which are indexed in radial lines that break down the surfaces into strips, overwhelming the space with color, luminosity, shape and texture.

The main ceiling piece signals a frustration of the space with not terminating in a dome or atrium and is composed of an inverted ridgeline figure surrounding an ovoid plane of mirrored tiles. The tiling pattern is based on the orthographic projection of the hexagonal subdivisions of two intersecting domes.

Designed, fabricated and contracted by Amorphis in collaboration with Au, the project is scheduled to be completed at the end of April.

SCI-Arc Directors, Faculty Address the Holocaust Memorial in Panel Discussion at USC

The 2015 Conney Conference on Jewish Arts, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in partnership with the University of Southern California, will feature a stimulating panel discussion addressing the Holocaust memorial, featuring SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss, Graduate Programs Chair Hernan Diaz Alonso, guest panelist Robert Eisenman, and design faculty Russell Thomsen.

Scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 24, 7:30pm at the Doheny Library on the USC campus, the event is free and open to the public. The Doheny Memorial Library is located at 3550 Trousdale Parkway, University Park Campus, Los Angeles, CA 90089.

Thinking the Future of Auschwitz, SCI-Arc Gallery, Fall 2014

Dubbed What is a Holocaust Memorial?, this panel discussion stems from a recent exhibition hosted at SCI-Arc in fall 2014, where Russell Thomsen and his late partner, Eric Khan, presented their own take on the future of Auschwitz through a through-provoking architectural proposal for the future of the Nazi concentration camps in Poland. While Kahn and Thomsen’s proposal was as an attempt to temporarily “blank” the site, rendering it inaccessible and invisible, SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss raised the question of appropriate or inappropriate uses of the memorial, citing Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust memorial in Berlin.

The HUC-hosted panel aims to advance the discussion began at SCI-Arc last fall.

For more information about the 2015 Conney Conference on Jewish Arts visit

Tom Wiscombe Completes Schematic Design of DTLA Museum

SCI-Arc design faculty Tom Wiscombe has recently completed his schematic design for the Old Bank District Museum (OBDM), commissioned by SCI-Arc trustee Tom Gilmore. Wiscombe, who heads the LA-based practice Tom Wiscombe Architecture, presented his designs to members of the LA development and arts community in late February.

On the roof of the Bankhouse Garage is a 35,000 SF. Sculpture Garden with a Café and Amphitheater, creating a new ground in the city.

The OBDM is a contemporary art and design museum located in the heart of the Old Bank District of Downtown Los Angeles. The project is part adaptive reuse and part new construction, capitalizing on the tension between historical and contemporary architecture.

Located beneath, inside of, and on top of the Farmer’s & Merchant’s Bank, the Hellman Building, and the Bankhouse Garage at 4th and Main Street, the Museum is a three dimensional space that weaves through these buildings, inhabiting their hidden or forgotten spaces. It is an unorthodox museum form, in the sense that it withdraws from iconicity and creates a world within a world.

A sequence of discrete objects draws visitors through the space. Objects penetrate through floors, peek over rooftops, and inhabit dark interior voids.

The main 45,000 SF. exhibition space is located in basement and sub-basement spaces that include turn-of-the-century bank vaults that become part of the ensemble.

Unlike generalizing forms of coherence we have become familiar with in this late period of digital architecture, such as smoothness and continuity, this project is based on a new, non-literal form of coherence produced by the uniqueness of specific objects and the vicarious relations between them.

Wiscombe currently teaches design studio and applied studies at SCI-Arc, and is the coordinator of the school's applied studies curriculum. Read more about his work at

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