Inside SCI-Arc


Santa Monica Mayor Ken Genser, an early SCI-Arc student, dead at 59

As activist mayor of Santa Monica, Ken Genser was in the center of things. He held a similar place during his time as a student in the founding years of SCI-Arc.

Michael Rotondi, himself a founding student and later director of SCI-Arc, recalled Genser Monday as a person who "brought some DNA" to SCI-Arc. Genser died Saturday at age 59.

In the early years of SCI-Arc, "there were no rules of engagement written down, there were constant meetings being held," Rotondi said. "Ken always seemed to be in the middle of it. He was critically curious. Whatever the point, he would make us all pause and think about it."

SCI-Arc is now based in downtown Los Angeles in a former railroad depot, but was founded in Santa Monica in 1972.

Before attending SCI-Arc, Genser graduated with a degree in architecture from Berkeley. He is a great role model for architecture students considering career possibilities Rotondi said: Genser's education and passion led him to elected office.

In a Los Angeles Times letter to the editor following Genser's death, SCI-Arc founding director Ray Kappe expressed his pride in Genser as an alumn of the school and as a sincere and effective public official. "Ken's faith, courage and energy were a part of the beginning of the school. Because many of our classes involved social issues as well as design, I would like to think that perhaps the seeds of his passion and compassion began at SCI-Arc."

Santa Monica Daily Press
"Mayor Ken Genser, a champion of renters' rights, dedicated 30 years to serving the residents of Santa Monica." Read more >>