Inside SCI-Arc


Tampa Based Alumnus Takes Design to New Heights

SCI-Arc alumnus Ross-Alan Tisdale (M.Arch ‘06) didn’t always dream of becoming an architect. Fueled by a lifelong passion to be an astronaut, he started college as a cadet in the U.S. Air Force Academy. While on hiatus from the Academy, he went to Yale University, where a series of architectural history classes he took with Prof. Vincent Scully sparked his interest in architecture. It wasn’t long before he decided to switch to architecture as a full-time interest and enroll in the university’s Bachelor of Architecture program.

After graduating from Yale, Tisdale worked in the Albuquerque offices of Antoine Predock, FAIA and spent several years with an architectural and engineering firm in Boston. In 2003, his pursuit of architecture landed him in the Master of Architecture program at SCI-Arc, where his research and explorations focused on architecture that can look both forward and back.

Seagrape House, Anna Maria Island, Fla., Designed by Traction Architecture

He also never gave up on his childhood dream. In turn, he transformed it into reality by marrying his architectural expertise with research into the exploratory field of space architecture—loosely defined as design to support human habitation outside the confines of planet Earth. Tisdale worked at the NASA Ames Research Center designing human habitation for the Moon, and had his work published in the first textbook on space architecture—Out of This World – The New Field of Space Architecture.

In 2012, Tisdale joined his wife and SCI-Arc alumna Jody Beck, AIA (M.Arch ‘06), whom he met while at SCI-Arc, in heading a joint architecture practice, Traction Architecture, founded by Beck a couple of years prior. Based in Tampa, Florida, their architectural office focuses on both residential and commercial designs, and has recently received a Design Honor Award from AIA’s Tampa Bay Chapter.

Traction’s work has been featured by Wall Street Journal and Sarasota Magazine, and their recently completed beachfront Seagrape House (shown here) located on Anna Maria Island, Fla. has been awarded LEED Platinum certification.

Tisdale talks about his work in the field of space architecture and his expertise in designing storm resilient structures in an interview published this month on the AIA website. For more about his practice, visit