Inside SCI-Arc


SCI-Arc's advanced studios? Everything from a river to robotics

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 14, 2010 -- Ten advanced studios offered at SCI-Arc in the spring 2010 term connect students to such diverse topics as robotics, theatrical expressions, the LA River, solar housing and a synagogue.

The elective vertical studios pair small groups of upper-level students with leading architects on the current faculty and from around the world. This year those architects include theorist Raimund Abraham, whose work includes the Austrian Cultural Forum, a micro-skyscraper in midtown Manhattan.

2011 Solar Decathlon Competition, Wes Jones Studio

The vertical studio lottery, held on the first day of classes, brought together more than 200 upper-level students.

Studios this spring include:

  • Partners from the Olin Studio—Laurie Olin's landscape architecture practice—present the River? What River? studio as part of the SCIFI program. The studio explores the urban re-arrangement of Los Angeles, using the Los Angeles River as a laboratory and vehicle for exploration of urban water management, multi-functional infrastructure, and evolving models of city form.
  • The studio taught by architect Michele Saee looks at the designer as a director of sensorial experiences. It investigates the creation of morphological/environmental characters that convey dramatic expressions through the choreography of topologies, ambiances and colors, using as an example two cultural icons: Shakespearean Theatre and the Peking Opera.
  • Hernan Diaz Alonso's XLAB studio tests new design territories such as scripting, robotics, biogenetics, genetic codification, and cellular systems. Each semester, XLAB proposes to re-examine the possibilities of form generation as an autonomous entity.
  • The directors' studio–taught by SCI-Arc directors Eric Owen Moss, Hsinming Fung and Chris Genik – investigates the design and building of a new synagogue for the IKAR community at the Westside Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles.
  • The Wes Jones studio launches a two-year process to design and build (on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.) an energy neutral 800-square foot house for the national Solar Decathlon competition. The first step: create a winning design.
  • Studio 20/10, taught by Robert Mangurian and Mary-Ann Ray will put on the table some rethought and repositioned "scraps from the past" – including hand drawing, sketching, making notes, diagramming, and the 8.5x11. The content of the project(s) will be the places where people live (these days including work + other).
  • XLAB_Recon, taught by Peter Testa, provides a platform to explore the convergence of generative computing and advanced materials. Projects will involve innovative recombination of the technologies of the robotics company KUKA, and construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar.
  • Playtime, the Mediascapes studio led by Jean Michel Crettaz, explores ambient technologies and the development of an experiential and immersive environment/installation.
  • The Coy Howard studio is designed to promote a more robust personal aesthetic. Specifically, through a set of readings, exercises, and projects, it challenges the current dominance of reductive abstraction as the sole acceptable aesthetic taught in architectural education.