Inside SCI-Arc


Alumna Receives AIA│LA 2014 Presidential Honor, International Architecture Award

SCI-Arc alumna Jennifer Marmon (M.Arch ‘01) is one of AIA│LA’s 2014 Presidential Honorees to be honored at the institute’s upcoming Design Awards Ceremony this October. Her design studio, PAR, short for Platform for Architecture + Research, is being recognized as an Emerging Practice pushing the boundaries of design innovation and advancing Los Angeles architecture. As Marmon describes it, “PAR is a platform for mixing keen analysis, formal exploration and pragmatic performance in an effort to realize project potentials.”

Clad in a translucent skin of fritted ETFE and high-performance glazing that encompasses roof, ceiling, wall and terrace, PAR's Taichung Cultural Center is oriented to optimize natural light and frame views of the nearby Taiwan Tower.

One of PAR’s recent projects, the Taichung Cultural Center in Taiwan, was met with critical acclaim, receiving an International Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum. In 2013, the Taichung city government invited architects to put forth their most daring visions for an expansive new cultural center. The tilted loop structure designed by PAR (shown here) sought to integrate the programmed elements of a library and a museum with an outdoor gallery and an open urban plaza. The structure’s form, replete with ramps and stairs that create connections throughout its stacked diagonal orientation, produces a dynamic space meant to attract curious passers-by who drift into the central plaza.

PAR has offices in Los Angeles (shown above) and New York City

Marmon, who founded PAR in Los Angeles after completing her master's degree at SCI-Arc, is currently at work on a hotel in Uruguay, houses in LA and DC, an art gallery in London and several international competitions. She has exhibited her work at the National Building Museum, the European Center for Architecture and the New York Center for Architecture. Since 2010, she serves as an ongoing visiting critic at SCI-Arc and USC. She has also been a guest critic at Harvard GSD and Columbia GSAPP, and a juror for the international WAN Awards competitions. Learn more about PAR at

Alumni Selected for Worldwide Storefront Series

Two projects by SCI-Arc alumnae Laurel Consuelo Broughton (M.Arch ‘06) and Mimi Zeiger (M.arch ‘98) have been selected for the international WorldWide Storefront (WWSF) series organized by the Storefront for Art and Architecture this upcoming fall.

The initiative includes a simultaneous, multi-locus of alternative spaces around the globe, coupled with a digital platform for the expression and exchange of latent desires within contemporary art and architecture practices.

Laurel Broughton’s entry, Gallery Attachment, developed together with Andrew Kovacs, will feature a space designed and constructed under a bridge in Los Angeles. It will serve simultaneously as an architectural object and as a container for a series of events, exhibitions and performances.

Mimi Zeiger’s Host: Natural Histories will be located at The Neutral VDL Research Site in the Silverlake district of Los Angeles. The project explores the multivalent meaning of the word “host”: a talk-show host, a parasitic host body, a host house or city, via an exhibition and series of events.

From September 19 to November 21, 2014 the 10 selected entries located around the world will open simultaneously, offering a two-month program of exhibitions and events. Recordings of the events will be broadcast through the WWSF online platform and presented at the Storefront for Art and Architecture Gallery in the installation WWSf Portal, a collaborative design by Marc Fornes and Jana Winderen.

Read more about WWSF here.

ESTm Students Advance into Second Round of International Digital Fabrication Competition

A group of graduate students in the Emerging Systems Technologies & Media post-graduate program at SCI-Arc teamed up this summer to participate in the Plasticity design competition hosted by Tex-Fab. Their design prototype, PUFF’D, developed under the coordination of SCI-Arc design faculty Tom Wiscombe, is among four finalist projects selected to advance into the second round of the competition.

PUFF'D advances a novel construction technique for full scale architecture.

Inspired by Japanese joinery, puffy jackets and jet fighter airplanes, PUFF’D explores plasticity of composite construction and the role of the seam and joint in architecture. Instead of following parametric paneling and module-based logics, PUFF’D employs large monolithic building components or “mega panels,” suggesting new ways of full scale assembly on site.

Designed by Brennen Huller (ESTm ‘14), Nels Long (ESTm ‘14) and Nikita Troufanov (ESTm ‘14), the project follows up on the students’ previous explorations with mega-panels, joinery and robotic assembly. Their original prototype designed for a seminar led by Wiscombe during spring 2014 used the language of stitching and wood joinery to study how composite mega-panels may come together as assembly.

Instead of milling a foam block and laying up fiberglass, students proposed sewing two sheets of uncured ‘pre-preg’ fiberglass and injecting spray foam inside.

For the Plasticity competition proposal, the young designers and their instructor scaled up and developed an inflatable composite sandwich technique to minimize waste and explore new formal and structural possibilities.

A total of 70 entries were reviewed in the first round of Tex Fab’s 2014 competition. Each finalist team is scheduled to receive a stipend to develop their prototypes for an exhibition at the ACADIA: Design Agency conference forthcoming in October in Los Angeles, where the winning team will be announced following the conclusion of the second round of the juried competition.

Read more about Plasticity at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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