The inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, North America’s largest survey of contemporary architecture, opened to the public in early October with an ambitious collection of gallery installations, performances, talks and tours scattered across the city. The event features an impressive list of international studios selected by co-artistic directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda. SCI-Arc participants include design faculty Marcelo Spina of P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, whose project “Oblicuo” (shown here) was designed in collaboration with design faculty Casey Rehm, and computational design faculty Satoru Sugihara of ATLV, whose biennial project was proposed in collaboration with SCI-Arc alumna Erin Besler (M.Arch ‘12) of Belser + Sons.
Oblicuo, on view at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, designed by Marcelo Spina of
P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S in collaboration with Casey Rehm.
The inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial takes its title, The State of the Art of Architecture, from a 1977 conference organized by architect Stanley Tigerman, which invited leading American designers to Chicago to discuss the current state of the field. The Biennial’s goal was to expand the spirit and scope of this event by inviting both emerging and established practices from across the world to Chicago to demonstrate how groundbreaking advances in architectural design are tackling the most pressing issues of today. With an incredible breadth of design approaches, research interests, and cultural perspectives, the Biennial offers a global stage for debate and the exchange of ideas, while at the same time enriching Chicago’s unique role in history as a crucible of architectural innovation.
SCI-Arc’s B.Arch Program launches a Liberal Arts Masterclass series this fall designed as an integral part of a deep and immersive curriculum for undergraduate students in art, philosophy and culture. The series brings leading thinkers, theorists and philosophers into direct and informal contact with undergraduate students to engage their learning and develop their expertise.
The first Masterclass features philosopher and scholar Graham Harman as guest lecturer, engaging with students on issues related to ontology, objects, and their potential relationship to architecture. In addition to Masterclass, Harman will hold a public lecture at SCI-Arc on October 5.
Participants are expected to act as discussants and interlocutors on sophisticated and advanced topics, not within an introductory model of survey thinking, but to build critical thinking and communication to the highest level of confidence and ability. Broadly speaking, the Masterclass series is designed to move students pedagogically from “discourse consumers” to “discourse producers.”
SCI-Arc has appointed noted Los Angeles developer Tom Gilmore as Chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees.
“I am deeply honored to be named Chairman of SCI-Arc and am committed to growing our legacy of excellence and achievement in architecture and design,” said Gilmore, whose appointment coincides with a series of leadership changes at the school.
“I cannot think of a more suitable candidate to serve as Chairman of the SCI-Arc board than Tom Gilmore,” said Director Hernan Diaz Alonso. “He has been one of SCI-Arc’s pillars for many years, and we are grateful for his renewed commitment to guide the school in exploring new areas of fundraising and institutional growth.”
A member of the SCI-Arc Board since 2001, Gilmore succeeds Jerry Neuman, Real Estate, Land Use and Government Relations partner in Liner LLP, who served as chairman since 2010.
“The inauguration of a new Chairman and new Director provides an extraordinary opportunity for SCI-Arc,” added Gilmore. “Our predecessors have assembled an outstanding board and faculty who share a vision for innovation, creativity, and real-world experience in our undergraduate and graduate programs. I look forward to enthusiastically supporting Hernan Diaz Alonso along with faculty, students and alumni in our goal to build on this tradition where SCI-Arc is recognized globally as the standard by which other creative institutions are measured.”
A native New Yorker and architect by training, Tom Gilmore is a downtown Los Angeles-based developer of residential and commercial properties whose early projects in the city’s historic core led to the largest resurgence of real estate investment and development the city has experienced in nearly a century. Following his move to Los Angeles in the early 90s, Gilmore partnered with Jerri Perrone to form an independent development firm, Gilmore Associates, with the goal to embark upon the redevelopment of the city’s historic core. His vision for Downtown Los Angeles as a thriving, self-sustaining urban community led him to purchase four abandoned historic buildings: the Continental, the Hellman, the San Fernando, and the Farmers and Merchants National Bank—collectively renamed by Gilmore and Perrone as the “Old Bank District.” Gilmore was the first developer to utilize the newly minted Adaptive Reuse Ordinance of 1999, which enabled him to convert historic commercial buildings into mixed-use residences, ultimately catalyzing the widespread redevelopment and revival of Downtown.
Gilmore’s ingenuity and tenacity has been recognized through major projects he has spearheaded, most notably Vibiana, a development of the former St. Vibiana’s Cathedral as a performing arts center, event facility, and restaurants. Current projects include the transformation of historic spaces within the Hellman Building and the former Farmers and Merchants National Bank into a contemporary museum showcasing Los Angeles, dubbed the Main Museum. Since Gilmore’s first historic building opened to residents in 2000, more than 60,000 new residents now call downtown Los Angeles their home and more than $5 billion in residential, business, entertainment and arts projects have been introduced to the city center. Gilmore’s commitment to the civic identity of Los Angeles is also evident in his former roles as Commissioner Chair for the LA Homeless Services Authority and Executive Committee Member of the Central City Association. He continues to be involved in civic affairs as Chairman of Sister Cities Los Angeles and as board member of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Bureau.
Twelve winning design teams have been announced for the United States Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, including design faculty Florencia Pita and Jackilin Hah Bloom of Pita+Bloom and Andrew Zago of Zago Architecture, and alumnus Albert Pope (B.Arch ‘78) of Present Future. The exhibition is titled The Architectural Imagination and will explore the possibilities of Detroit as a laboratory for “the innovative power of architecture.”
The 12 winners of the open call for portfolios will travel to Detroit this fall for site visits and community meetings and to begin work on their designs. Their mission: to propose urban solutions that can be applied in cities around the world to address 21st-century social and environmental issues. Curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon selected the 12 teams of architects from more than 250 submissions.
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 ateliermanferdini.com.
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 ivrvhouse.squarespace.com.
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 awaplusd.org.
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 onenightstand-la.com.
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.
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.”
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.