SCI-Arc design faculty members Eric Kahn and Russell Thomsen, founders of IDEA Office, are among the 2013 recipients of a Graham Foundation for the Arts grant to support their ongoing project, Thinking the Future of Auschwitz. The project will be exhibited at SCI-Arc in the fall of 2014, accompanied by a public discussion with Director Eric Owen Moss.
Thinking of the Future of Auschwitz | IDEA Office | www.ideaoffice.net
Thinking the Future of Auschwitz (shown here) is an architectural proposal for the future of the Nazi concentration camp in Poland. While the original concentration camp and Polish State Museum at Auschwitz maintain their status as a narrated, didactic experience, this proposal transforms the extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau into a Tel Olam.
Originally cited in Deuteronomy, a Tel Olam marks a place of unspeakable evil, blotting out and rendering a place inaccessible. Translated as a perpetual heap—in contemporary terms, a machinic field—it produces an indeterminate traumatic figure, steadfastly delimiting a perimeter. Proper to its unutterable status, Birkenau becomes perpetually indeterminate, generating a probing, hermeneutic experience without immediate answers, withholding solace and defying (convenient) philosophical closure.
While the project is unique to Auschwitz, it tests architecture's own particular agency in the twenty-first century and contributes significantly to an expanded discourse on the conventions of catastrophe.
Eric A. Kahn and Russell N. Thomsen are licensed architects and partners in IDEA Office. In addition to teaching at SCI-Arc, they have held chairs at the University of Michigan, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Arkansas, as well as visiting professor positions at the Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen. The work of IDEA has been recognized and published internationally and is part of the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as private collections. The partners are recipients of the Young Architects Award and the Emerging Voices Award, both sponsored by the Architectural League of New York.
SCI-Arc design faculty Herwig Baumgartner and Scott Uriu, partners in the Los Angeles practice Baumgartner + Uriu (B+U), are exhibiting their work in a solo show opening June 8 at the InCITE Gallery in Bangalore, India. Titled Animated Apertures, the exhibition will be complemented by a presentation led by Baumgartner on opening night.
Through its exhibitions and publications centered on contemporary architecture, InCITE aims to create an open platform that allows for critical exchange, dissemination and recording of emerging architectural attitudes and sensibilities. Previous InCITE exhibitors include MVRDV, Mecanoo, Cloud 9, Kas Oosterhuis, and Brett Steel, among others.
Set on a continuous mission to research and experiment with new building materials and construction techniques, Baumgartner and Uriu use 3-D technology and manufacturing techniques employed outside the architectural profession. Their firm utilizes the techniques and resources of new technologies which are unique to Los Angeles and are a confluence from the movie industry, aerospace engineering, medical technology and manufacturing, automotive industries, as well as a subculture of craftsman, inventors and entrepreneurs. This mixture of cutting edge technology and individual resourcefulness influences their design and construction process.
B+U’s exhibition at InCITE remains on view through June 22. www.incite.co.in.
More about B+U at www.bplusu.com.
SCI-Arc faculty member Erick Carcamo and partner Nefeli Chatzimina of X│Atelier are hosting three intensive workshops of advanced architectural design this summer, one in Istanbul, Turkey and two in Athens, Greece.
Part of an ongoing academic research which introduces participants into contemporary discussions of formal exploration in Architecture and Art, the workshops explore innovative, potential architectural expressions of the current discourse around form through computational tools such as Autodesk MAYA.
The workshops focus on technique elaboration, material intelligence, formal logic efficiencies and precision assemblies as an ultimate condition of design. They introduce a discourse based in the use of multi-layered techniques and production processes allowing for control over intelligent geometries, calibration of parts, and behavioral taxonomies, normalizing an innovative held of predictability.
Within this context, each student will operate within an expertise towards intuition by means of software and advancement of the discipline through a precise contemporary understanding of architecture’s reliance on surface performance, unspecified systems, scale within scale, mechanical parts and absurd precisions to expand its discourse.
Dubbed Prothesis, the three workshops are organized under the auspices of the Benaki Museum, the Helenic Institute of Architecture, the Athens School of Fine Arts and the Istanbul Technical University, respectively.
Workshop sessions are scheduled June 17-28th in Istanbul, Turkey and July 1-12th and July 15t-26th at the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece.
More information is available at http://www.xatelier.com/xaworkshops2013.
In conjunction with the school’s 40th anniversary, the SCI-Arc Alumni Council sponsored a competition for the design, management, and construction of “40/40”—an installation of alumni work from 40 graduating classes, aspiring to honor over 4,000 alumni that have attended the school.
Eugene Kosgoron and Evelina Sausina in front of "Fractal Projections"
The winning entry, “Fractal Projection” by recent alums Evelina Sausina (B.Arch ’11) and Eugene Kosgoron (M.DesR ’12), was deemed by the council to be the most original, appropriate and responsive to the site. "The design was meant to re-connect the past and the present," says Kosgoron. "The past is imitated by a cube which represents the general assumption in the industry that expects us to build boxes, while the projected images, combined with the lighting effect, represent current trends at SCI-Arc."
Engagement with the audience was a key intention of the exhibition's design. On view in the Farmers and Merchants Bank building on Main Street during April's Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk, the interactive installation drew hundreds spectators.
"The installation engages the audience through its reflective surfaces," says Sausina. "The walk-through sliver in the cube shows the audience refracted illusions of themselves, creating a heavily animated environment that is tangible and yet evokes the ethereal."
Alumni Council Chairwoman Cara Lee (M.Arch '96) regarded the competition and exhibition as extremely successful in introducing SCI-Arc and alumni work to the Los Angeles community. "This was a unique opportunity for SCI-Arc alumni across generations to collaborate on a project that showcases SCI-Arc and the talent of its alumni. Hopefully this will be the first of many opportunities," added Lee.
SCI-Arc graduate students Nan Yen Chen (M.Arch ’14) and Danny Karas (M.arch ’14) are exhibiting their studio work as part of a comprehensive group exhibition of architectural drawings hosted at the WUHO Gallery from May 4—12th. Titled 2D3D-4: Quick and Dirty, the exhibition includes work by students from six established Southern California architecture and design schools, including SCI-Arc, UCLA and Cal Poly Pomona.
Drawing in architecture plays a multivalent role, alternatively representing, visualizing, reconfiguring, slicing, measuring, fabricating, patterning, envisioning, designing, discovering, questioning, positioning, or some combination thereof. Presented at WUHO Gallery in Los Angeles—a city that’s the epicenter of innovative drawing technologies from aerospace to automotive to animation—2D3D-4: Quick and Dirty examines the status of architectural drawing in the post-digital age.
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A group of three undergraduate students in their fourth year at SCI-Arc, Clifford Ho (B.Arch ‘14), Jessica Hong (B.Arch ’14) and Manori Sumanasinghe (B.Arch ’14), were selected to participate in a design charrette hosted in February at the Los Angeles offices of Gensler. The three-day event invited student teams from seven architecture schools in the Los Angeles area to compete in developing a design concept for a continuing care facility for the elderly.
LABC 2013 Competition │ Team SCI-Arc: Clifford Ho, Jessica Hong, Manori Sumanasinghe
Following the announcement of the competition site—an area next to the Martin Luther King Jr. Complex in Los Angeles—students had only three days to develop a large-scale, mixed-use design proposal including site plans, site sections, renderings and drawings.
Team SCI-Arc’s proposal (shown here) includes a 200-unit assisted living facility and an independent living facility with 120 units, totaling 320,000-sq.ft, in a scheme that promotes social engagement, healthy living and active lifestyle among seniors.
The recently published Architecture & Design issue from Installation Magazine, a weekly publication for the iPad and iPhone, includes an exceptional profile on SCI-Arc and several of the school's alumni from the past four decades who have significantly contributed to the advancement of the profession.
In one of its most ambitious weekly issues to date, Installation celebrates the school's tradition of architectural experimentation with an interactive “Discover SCI-Arc@40” anniversary timeline of notable alumni, including images of some of their most radical projects providing new responses to the real needs and aspirations of today's world. The issue offers readers an opportunity to look back at the accomplishments of the school and to look ahead to the creative minds that inspire and shape the future, in Los Angeles and around the world.
Among alumni featured are Rania Alomar (M.Arch ’97), Jeffrey Allsbrook (M.Arch ’95), Matthew Au (M.Arch ’11), Annie Chu (B.Arch ’82) and Rick Gooding (B.Arch ’84), Samson Chua (M.Arch ’02), Tiffany Shaw-Collinge (M.Arch ’12), Benjamin Ball (B.Arch ’03) and Gaston Nogues (B.Arch ’93), Barbara Bestor (M.Arch ’92), Eric Cheong (M.Arch ’05), Joe Day (M.Arch ’94), Michael Folonis (B.Arch ’79), Adam Goldstein (M.Arch ’01), David Hertz (B.Arch ’83), Hyon Cara Lee (M.Arch ’96) and Stephan Mundwilder (M.Arch ’95), Christopher Mercier (M.Arch ’91), Dean Nota (B.Arch '76), Matthew Rosenberg (M.Arch ’09), F.Myles Sciotto (M.Arch ’09), Nick Seierup (B.Arch ’79), Liz von Hasseln (M.Arch ’12) and Kyle von Hasseln (M.Arch ’12), and Kevin Wronske (B.Arch ’02).
A weekly curated arts and lifestyle publication, Installation is available for the iPad and iPhone, and can be downloaded at the Apple Store. Its Architecture + Design issue can be downloaded at www.installationmag.com.
Faculty member Florencia Pita is the recipient of a Graham Foundation grant to support a solo exhibition and catalog presenting a comprehensive survey of her work. Organized by the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art (UMMA) and curated by Joseph Rosa, Florencia Pita/fpmod explores the provocations and intersections of digital technology, material experimentation, femininity, and ornament in the work of Argentina-born, Los Angeles-based architect and designer.
Florencia Pita, Machinic Tendencies installation at the Beijing Architecture Biennial, 2010, Beijing. Lapset Playground Competition, Finland, 2009. fpMod Team: Ed Kim.
The exhibition, on view at UMMA from January 19 to June 16, and its related publication trace the evolution of Pita’s design ideology through installation pieces, urban design, tableware, furniture, and architecture, as well as small adornments. Pita’s boldly colored works draw from literary, art, and biological sources; employ cutting-edge architectural fabrication techniques; and cross borders of visual art, architecture, and design.
The Skinscape submission by SCI-Arc graduate students Jaegeun Lim (M.Arch 2 ‘14), Woongyeun Park (M.Arch 1 ‘14), Haejun Jung (ESTm ‘13) and Karam Kim (M.Arch 1 ‘15) received an Honorable Mention in the 2013 Skyscraper competition organized by eVolo magazine.
Skinscape: Morphing Contiguous Skysrapers
Their project was inspired from the idea that the natural environment modifies architecture as time passes by, and in some instances, nature even reclaims it. Similar to the Banyan trees covering the 12th century Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia—which today’s experts have decided not to remove due to their effect on the building’s structural system—this proposal explores the possibility of creating a building tissue between skyscrapers. This tissue would not only add to the buildings but also modify them to allow for new programs.
The idea is that buildings need to evolve with time because their initial design intentions and programs morph with time. Vacant spaces become active and a new hybrid emerges from the integration of two distinct buildings.
Established in 2006, eVolo’s skyscraper competition puts together each year an international panel of renowned architects, engineers and designers to jury entries from participants from around the world, including professional architects and designers, as well as students and artists. Jurors this year included Vincent Callebaut of Vincent Callebaut Architectures, Giacomo Costa of The Chronicles of Time, SCI-Arc alumnus Julien De Smedt of JDS, SCI-Arc graduate programs chair Hernan Diaz Alonso of Xefirotarch, Matthias Hollwich of HWKN, Ed Keller of aUm Studio, Mark Kushner of HWKN, Francois Roche of R&Sie(n), Roland Snooks of Kokkugia, SCI-Arc design faculty Tom Wiscombe of Tom Wiscombe Design, and several competition winners from previous editions.
Check out the 2013 eVolo Skyscraper full list of winners HERE.
A fundraising campaign to reprint “Instrumental Form,” the first monograph of J,P:A and SCI-Arc design faculty Wes Jones, has been launched by the Los Angeles architecture firm on kickstarter.com with the goal to print a second edition of the sought-after out-of-print book. Originally published in 1999 by Princeton Architectural Press, “Instrumental Form” is the first publication of “Words, Buildings: Machines” produced by Wes Jones and the office of J,P:A.
Instrumental Form: Words, Buildings, Machines│Jones, Partners: Architecture, 1997
The publication, whose bold graphic design won an AIGA award, documents the work of the office and its unique ongoing engagement with technology, from the office’s inception in 1993 until 1997.
The ideas and works presented in this volume have been influential not only to J,P:A’s continuing practice, but to a wider cultural discourse within architecture. Including both essays and projects, as well as built work, this book traces the evolution of a uniquely consistent approach to technology and its relation to architecture.