Inside SCI-Arc

SCI-ARC EDGE — Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture

It is time to extend the domain of architecture. Today, architecture is multiplying its territories and perpetually colonizing new frontiers. In the 21st century, everything is potentially an architectural problem. SCI-Arc EDGE is a platform for studying this proposition. What will be the new practices of architecture? What will be its new forms of knowledge? What will be the next disruptive innovations of architectural production? How will architecture be manifest in the milieus of the worlds to come? Like no other time in the past, our reality is a designed and constructed phenomenon. We invite you to come build it with us.

SCI-Arc's newly launched EDGE, Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture offers four postgraduate degree programs in fields including architectural technologies, entertainment and fiction, design of cities, and theory and pedagogy, along with a fellowship in synthetic landscapes. Students are admitted into these programs in the Fall term only.

The admissions deadline for Fall 2016 admission is January 15, 2016. Late applications may be considered on a case by case basis.

For more information or to apply, contact the SCI-Arc Admissions Office at 213.356.5320,

Learn more about the program on SCI-Arc Channel.

Master of Science in Architectural Technologies
Marcelo Spina, Faculty Coordinator

Technologies come and go, but the general problem of technology and what we do with it as architects remains the same. This program is committed to developing new applications, and it is not content to accept technologies merely as given to us. We want to master technologies and rethink them in order to produce radical architectural effects. Accordingly, this program has a dual focus. First, the program wants to provide hands-on experience with cutting edge technologies of architectural production. Whether it is robotic fabrication, computational methods of form generation, additive manufacturing, or machine vision, we want students in this program to acquire an intensive technical expertise. Second, in anticipation of future technologies and machines that we haven’t even seen yet, the program wants to develop a conceptual and critical framework for understanding technology’s longstanding relationship to architecture in general. As Cedric Price asked all the way back in 1966, “Technology is the answer, but what was the question?"

The Architectural Technologies track is a one-year Master of Science Degree (M.S.) program that requires attendance in the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.

Master of Arts in Fiction and Entertainment  
Liam Young, Faculty Coordinator

What we think the world looks like is largely determined today by fiction and entertainment. Fiction is an extraordinary shared language through which we exchange ideas and engage with the world. The importance and power of media in the production of culture should not be underestimated. In contemporary life, new worlds are designed and experienced in movies, ad campaigns, videogames, viral Internet videos, or search engines. Given the vast array of media potentially available to the architect, it is both critical and urgent for the architect to widen the scope of practice beyond just buildings alone. Why shouldn't the architect design the next Hollywood blockbuster? Or the next virtual reality environment? Or the next political campaign? This program is focused on building new forms of architectural practice allied with the worlds of film, fiction, animation, marketing, games, and documentary. Working with world-renowned collaborators from these disciplines and embedded within the entertainment industry of Los Angeles, the program is designed to be a place where we extrapolate the present to tell new stories about the alternative realities of the 21st century.

The Fiction and Entertainment track is a one-year Master of Arts (M.A.) program that requires attendance during the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.

Master of Science in the Design of Cities  
Peter Trummer, Faculty Coordinator

Most of the world's population now lives in cities. We are witnessing today an astonishing process of urbanization that is unprecedented and taking place on a posthuman planetary scale. The sheer complexity of this massive movement has put into question the ongoing validity of traditional urban design concepts, and it is increasingly more urgent for architects to think about how cities should be designed. This program intends to study the full depth and drama of contemporary urban phenomena and commit to design innovation to address it. Though recent wisdom declares that cities are hopelessly complex networks of informal events outside the reach of any design model, this program fundamentally believes in the power of the architectural imagination to discover new possibilities and reestablish the design of cities as a uniquely architectural problem.

The Design of Cities track is a one-year Master of Science (M.S.) program that requires attendance during the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.

Master of Science in Design Theory and Pedagogy  
David Ruy, Visiting Faculty

Where will the next generation of theorists and teachers come from? Because of how the world is changing, this question may be a complex one moving forward in architecture. The strict separation between practice and academia has been fading, but has now become completely ambiguous due to new research models at the university and new knowledge-based forms of practice. Accordingly, this program addresses a new kind of career that has emerged in architecture. In recent years, a new kind of architect-theorist-educator has become a progressively more important voice in design culture. Despite the importance of this new kind of architect, academia hasn’t been able to produce a program to specifically train talented young architects to occupy this new space and facilitate the development of these new protagonists. At the traditional university, we primarily find today professional programs to train practitioners and PhD programs to train scholars. This program is intended to occupy the space in between these two known models of education and target specifically a hybrid career in academia. Utilizing SCI-Arc itself as a hands-on teaching laboratory, the long-term project of this program is to develop new design pedagogies and construct a new apparatus for the production of design theory.

The Design Theory and Pedagogy track is a one-year Master of Science (M.S.) program that requires attendance during the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.

Fellowships in Synthetic Landscapes  
Marcelyn Gow and Margaret Griffin, Advisors

We are slowly discovering that nature is not what we thought it was. We are discovering that nature is something that civilization has always been complicit with, and we are realizing that we ourselves have been forces of nature all along. What we are beginning to see more clearly now in the traumatic conditions of the Anthropocene epoch are landscapes where the boundaries between the machinic and the natural have eroded. This is especially evident in the highly artificial landscapes of Los Angeles itself. It is becoming increasing clear that the path forward in the discipline of landscape architecture is a full acknowledgment of the artificiality of landscape design.

To begin our long-term investigation of Synthetic Landscapes, we are offering two fellowships to talented young landscape architects interested in examining the possibilities of landscape design in the Anthropocene.

Recommended prerequisite for SCI-Arc EDGE programs: Introduction to Digital Design, a short, intensive workshop offered prior to the fall program start date, is intended to provide entering students with the foundation in digital tools necessary to successfully undertake the demands of the program. Students entering the program should also become familiar with the following software packages: Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD, Maya, Rhino, and Flash.

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Contact us at 213.356.5320, or Request Information.