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Jones, Siegal Explore Modern Housing at Truck-A-Tecture

SCI-Arc design faculty Wes Jones of Jones, Partners: Architecture and alumna Jennifer Siegal (M.Arch ‘94) of Office of Mobile Design are exhibiting their pre-fab, mobile architecture designs in the Truck-A-Tecture group exhibition hosted June 27-August 23 at the KANEKO gallery space in Omaha, Neb.

The group exhibition showcases designs and full-scale structures by four architecture firms, exploring topics of nomadism, transportation, trucking culture and the nature of “home.”

Jones, Partners: Architecture

Mobile home designs on view at Truck-A-Tecture tackle issues of sustainability and technological advances that have led many to a leaner, efficient lifestyle.

Aeromobile/Office of Mobile Design

Also exhibiting in the show are Mark Mack Architects and Min│Day.

For more about the exhibition, visit www.thekaneko.org.

Trustee, Alumni Win 2014 LABC Architectural Awards

The Emerson College Los Angeles building designed by SCI-Arc founding faculty and trustee Thom Mayne of Morphosis was honored with the Grand Prize in the recently announced 2014 Los Angeles Architectural Awards. More than three dozen of the year’s best architecture and design projects in the Greater Los Angeles area were recognized this year in the 44th annual round of awards hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council.


Emerson’s 100,700-square-foot facility nestled in the heart of Hollywood opened doors to its first group of students in January.

SCI-Arc alumni Michael Folonis (B.Arch ‘78) and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson (B.Arch ’95) also received LABC awards this year.

Folonis’ Santa Monica based practice, Michael Folonis Architects, received a Design Concept Award for the South Bay Family Health Care Clinic.


The South Bay Family Healthcare Clinic conceptual design by Michael Folonis Architects promotes an indoor-outdoor connection, use of natural light and improved patient experience.

Thorsteinsson’s practice, Minarc, received a Beyond L.A. Award for their Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel in Iceland.


Minarc’s Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel incorporates innovative materials and sustainable practices to allow for a synergy between the built and natural environments.

Learn more about LABC’s 44th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards at www.labusinesscouncil.org.

Amit Wolf Presents New Book, Exhibition on Italian Architect Gianni Pettena

On June 5, SCI-Arc faculty Amit Wolf and co-editor Emanuele Piccardo presented their new book, Beyond Environment (ACTAR 2014), centered on the early work of Italian architect Gianni Pettena, in a book launch and discussion hosted in conjunction with the 2014 edition of the Venice Biennale.

Joined by architects Gianni Pettena and Beatriz Colomina, along with architecture critic William Menking of The Architect’s Newspaper, the editors delved into a conversation about their book published as a preview to the eponymous exhibition to be hosted this fall at LACE Gallery in Los Angeles.

Beyond Environment presents the potent interchange between architecture, land art, and performance art that emerged through Pettena's idealized collaboration with American artists Allan Kaprow and Robert Smithson in the 1970s. During his first excursions to the United States, Pettena produced a series of "environments" together with Kaprow and Smithson that staged a veritable implosion of fields: counter-events and Happenings, Radical design and Land Art, as well as new technological landscapes and the pastoral Midwest.

Curated by Wolf and Piccardo in collaboration with Woodbury University and the Graham Foundation, the exhibition will combine approximately thirty works by Pettena, Kaprow, Smithson, as well as by Pettena's Florentine milieu, that of Superarchitecture and the Italian 'Radical' groups UFO, Superstudio and 9999.

A design competition is currently underway to select a team to design the three installation pavilions for the LACE Gallery show. For more information about the book and upcoming show, visit www.beyond-environment.com.

B+U Awarded Graham Foundation Grant for Apertures Installation

SCI-Arc design faculty Herwig Baumgartner and Scott Uriu were awarded one of 68 prestigious individual artist grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts in support of their recent Apertures show.

On view in the SCI-Arc Gallery, B+U's Apertures reflected a current architectural discourse of digital ecologies, emphasizing the relationship between the natural world and advances in digital technology, which leads to a new type of interactive, organic buildings. The installation focused on a symbiotic relationship between nature, building morphologies, and material expression.

The pavilion and its apertures were designed to physically engage the visitor with architectural work through sensors and sound feedback loops, creating an immersive spatial environment in which the visitor could experience their own biorhythms.

In their gallery talk with SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss, Baumgartner and Uriu discussed the evolution of their design stressing the thin sheets of thermoplastic polymer resin laminated to CNC-milled polyurethane foam used to make the shell. The two also argued their project was less about maximizing structural efficiency and more about minimizing poché.

Learn more about B+U’s and their Individual Artist Graham grant here.

Barbara Bestor Designs Community-Friendly Project in Echo Park

SCI-Arc alumna Barbara Bestor (M.Arch ‘92), principal of Los Angeles-based Bestor Architecture, has joined forces with eco-conscious local developer LocalConstruct to design and build her current project, The Blackbirds.

Located in the LA neighborhood of Echo Park, The Blackbirds is described by Bestor as a pedestrian-friendly development that introduces "stealth density" to its eclectic neighborhood. Its design is linked to the Dutch "Woonerf" concept—which stands for 'living street'— proposing a communal space around which a "micro-community" can thrive.

A sketch of the Blackbirds development by Bestor Architecture

This small lot, subdivision housing project presented Bestor and her team with the perfect opportunity to explore creative housing solutions on tight lots. Its 15-house units are clustered around an internal living street which promotes neighbor interactions and community participation.

For more details and images of The Blackbirds project, scheduled to be completed this year, visit bestorarchitecture.com.

Darin Johnstone Showcases Art Center South Campus Drawings in New Exhibition, Drawn Out/Light Mass

A drawing exhibition and installation at the Art Center College of Design celebrates the coming opening of the school’s newly renovated South Campus building with an installation by SCI-Arc design faculty Darin Johnstone, the architect in charge of the six-month renovation and expansion project. The new building provides new space for the school’s Fine Arts and Illustration departments, among other state-of-the-art facilities. Classes have been held there since project completion in January. The official building opening reception scheduled June 19, starting 6:30pm, will feature tours of both the exhibition and the new building.

Dubbed Drawn Out/Light Mass, the installation will be on view at Art Center’s Atrium Galleries at 870 Raymond Street in Pasadena through August 15.

The installation describes the newest addition to the Art Center campus through architectural drawings, extending the building design with a full-scale architectural installation.

An architect and educator with twenty years of experience in the field of architecture and more than a decade spent educating young architects, Johnstone founded Los Angeles-based Darin Johnstone Architecture in 2004. His work engages architecture as an overarching discipline, tackling a wide range of design challenges, including architecture, urban planning, landscape design, interior design, furniture design, and graphic design. Another recent project by Johnstone is the redesign of EightyTwo, a popular arcade bar located in downtown LA’s Arts District.

At SCI-Arc, Johnstone teaches both design studio and visual studies seminars. He also coordinates Design Immersion Days, the school’s annual summer program for high school students, now in its fourth year. Starting fall 2014, Johnstone will spearhead a new partnership between SCI-Arc, the County of Los Angeles and Habitat for Humanity to help design and build affordable and sustainable homes in Los Angeles County.

For more information about Darin Johnstone Architecture, visit djarch.net.

Design Faculty Erick Carcamo Leads Advanced Architectural Design Workshops in Greece, Austria

SCI-Arc design faculty Erick Carcamo and partner Nefeli Chatzimina of X|Atelier are at work this summer organizing three international intensive workshops of advanced architectural design. Themed Functionless, X|A’s 2014 summer workshops will be organized by the two principals in Athens, Greece, as well as in Innsbruck, Austria.

The first two workshops will be held in Athens during June 30-July 11 and July 14-July 25 respectively, being organized under the auspices of the Hellenic Institute of Architecture and the Athens School of Fine Arts. The third workshop will be hosted at the University of Innsbruck from July 28-August 7. Participants will attend computation design workshops, academic lectures, final reviews and and a final exhibition at Benaki Museum, and at the University of Innsbruck respectively.

As part of an ongoing academic research, X|A workshops provoke participants to contemporary discussions of formal exploration in Architecture and Art. Through technical attainment of design and digital production, the X|A workshops give students the opportunity to challenge new design territories, with a goal to explore innovative, potential architectural expressions of the current discourse around form through computational tools such as Autodesk and MAYA.

Founded in 2007, X|Atelier is an architectural practice based in the use of multi-layered experimental techniques and production processes. Both principals hold a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and have graduated from SCI-Arc and N.T.U. Athens respectively. Their teaching expertise extends to SCI-Arc, University of Southern California, Columbia University, Yale SOA, UPenn, Pratt Institute, University of Kentucky, Die Angewandte, N.T.U. Athens and LTH in Sweden. X|A’s work has been internationally published and exhibited at galleries in New York, Los Angeles, London, Lexington and Barcelona. Their working experience is held in the offices of Bernard Tschumi Architects in New York, CoopHimmelb(l)au in Vienna, Asymptote NYC and Xefirotarch LA.

For more information, visit www.xatelier.com/workshop.

SCI-Arc Robot House Demo on View at Rob│Arch 2014

As more and more architecture schools around the world are “arming” themselves with robots, the 2014 edition of Rob│Arch, hosted by the Association for Robots in Architecture between May 14-18th at the University of Michigan, provided robotics instructors with an open platform for introducing their latest projects.

The SCI-Arc Robot House team's demo of a live updating program involved two Stäubli TX60L industrial robots which were set up in the faculty research space at University of Michigan through the entire duration of the conference. Designed and programmed by SCI-Arc Robot House coordinator Jake Newsum, robotics researcher Curime Batliner (ESTm ‘11) and graduate student Nikita Troufanov (ESTm ‘14), the demo used Grasshopper to program and manipulate the two robots.

Visitors were invited to interact with the robots and modify their path in real time, while the general public also had an opportunity to observe the robots in action during the conference’s closing ceremony on Sunday, May 18.

Also at the event, Newsum in collaboration with Ammar Kalo of the University of Michigan presented their research into robotic incremental sheet metal forming as a method for prototyping parametric architectural skins. A paper documenting their work is included in the Rob│Arch 2014 subsequent publication, Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art & Design 2014 (Springer, 2014). The two researchers were awarded the KUKA Young Potential Award for the best scientific paper presented by a young researcher at Rob│Arch 2014.

ESTm post-graduate student Nikita Troufanov joined the team from SCI-Arc courtesy of a special grant awarded by conference organizers in partnership with ABB Robotics. As part of the selection process, he submitted a chapter from his Anisotropic Formations proto-architectural project developed in a SCI-Arc studio last fall, which mixes robotics with vector-based 3D printing.

Robot House Student Project on View at Arch Record Innovation Conference in Los Angeles

Architectural Record’s acclaimed Innovation Conference will be hosted for the first time in Los Angeles on May 21 at the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Themed “Breakthrough: Design at the Intersection of Art, Science and Technology,” the event brings together influential designers including SCI-Arc trustee Thom Mayne, visiting faculty Michel Rojkind, architects Jeanne Gang and Thomas Phifer, multimedia artist Doug Aitken, and landscape architect Walter Hood, among others, in panel discussions addressing topics ranging from the integration of contemporary art, technology and design, to the merging of landscape and architecture, to the growing influence of Mexico’s architects.

LA architecture schools SCI-Arc, UCLA and USC have been invited to each exhibit a student project on the garden terrace of the Concert Hall, where attendees will be gathering in-between sessions. Students from the “Squished II: Supercomponents and Metaseams” seminar led by SCI-Arc design faculty Tom Wiscombe, with Robot House coordinator Jake Newsum and robotics researcher Curime Batliner, will exhibit a robot lab project exploring the renewed relevance of the joint and the seam in contemporary composite construction.

Black Seams, Nikita Troufanov, Brennen Huller, Cheng Lu, Squished II Seminar
SCI-Arc Robot House, Spring 2014

Wiscombe’s seminar looked at traditional Japanese wood carpentry for its complex, structural joinery free of hardware, as a model for building with large, lightweight composite super-components. The goal was to produce alternatives to the homogenizing, and often operationally unattainable, smoothness associated with composite tectonics. Robots were used to fit and fasten components together, using multi-step processes involving locking, keying, friction-fitting, and gluing. Ultimately, the class explored the scaling-up of components to massive sizes, and imagined new methods of construction sequencing and delivery that would support this new way of building.

Tickets and more information about the Architectural Record event are available at www.recordinnovation.com.

Manferdini Designs New Installation for LAMAG Exhibit

Design faculty Elena Manferdini, principal of Los Angeles-based Atelier Manferdini, will exhibit in the 2014 COLA Fellowship group exhibition Out of Focus, which opens May 4 at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG). She is one of four winners of the coveted artist grants awarded annually by the City of Los Angeles to recognize work in a wide array of creative fields including design, printing, framing and photography.

In this installation, Manferdini explores two of her favorite themes—tableau vivante and nature morte—creating a 4-panel, mirror-printed photorealistic landscape that depicts insects landing upon an abstract field. These photorealistic insects, captured on screen via three dimensional scanning techniques, offer a moment of verisimilitude in an otherwise blurred composition.

Manferdini’s butterflies and ladybugs land on the curtain not to tell us that they are real, but rather, to render the abstract field of lines and pixels as our new reality.

In addition to leading her design practice, in the past 10 years Manferdini has been teaching architectural design studios and technology seminars for the Graduate and Undergraduate programs at SCI-Arc. Currently she is the Coordinator of the Graduate Thesis Program at SCI-Arc.

More details about the LAMAG exhibition are available here.

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