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Applied Studies focuses on cutting-edge methods of building design, construction, documentation, and delivery to link aesthetic impulses to contemporary building technologies.

Herwig Baumgartner portrait grey background

“SCI-Arc is and has always been geared towards speculating about the future of design and construction technologies.”

- Herwig Baumgartner, Applied Studies Coordinator

Heading titleUnderstanding the Built Environment

Examining how the production of architecture shapes the physical environment is the fundamental guiding principle of the Applied Studies curriculum at SCI-Arc. Applied Studies tasks students with investigating how the world is constructed, what constitutes an environment, and speculating about the ways in which the architecture of the next century might respond to global change.

Foundation courses cover topics such as building methodology, structural analysis, material development and tectonics, acoustics, lighting, and environmental systems. Advanced courses explore the design consequences of the continued material and technical development of architectural proposals in the built world.

luciano menghini

"An architect’s best friend is their set of tools and SCI-Arc is constantly navigating new frontiers of software and technology. Learning these tools has not only opened new ways of seeing for me and pushed my design skills further, but it has also increased my capability as a student to explore new and exciting forms of production."

Luciano Menghini B.Arch

Heading titleEngaging the Practice of Building

Elective courses in Applied Studies offer students the opportunity to further research and experiment with the specialized and emergent technologies currently redefining the conventions of architecture as a discipline and practice.

Recent elective courses have explored information modeling, parametric design, generative structures, composite tectonics, material research and development, complex assemblies, energy design, biomimicry, and robotic fabrication.

gray glass sails drawing by student

Study by B.Arch Students Kiwi Zhu, Wilson Chan, Ali Berk Senbas, Hassan Al-Sulaiti in Maxi Spina’s Tectonics + Materiality Applied Studies Studio.

large assembly by multiple robots in robothouse

Heading titleLearn from Leading Practitioners

Applied Studies faculty have played leading roles in the design and construction of iconic buildings including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Caltrans building, and BMW Welt, among others, during their tenures at global architectural firms such as Gehry Partners, Morphosis, and Coop Himmelblau.

Intensive Applied Studies workshops enlist top engineers, technologists, and architects from some of Los Angeles’s most innovative architecture and engineering offices to teach students to critically engage construction techniques and interpret their spatial and social consequences.

Throughout the Applied Studies curriculum, engineers from notable firms such as Arup and Buro Hapold provide students with one-on-one project consultation, simulating a professional environment and demonstrating the symbiotic relationship between pedagogy and practice.

Previous guest lecturers in Applied Studies have included Transsolar climate engineer Christiane Sauer, Mark Fahlbusch of structural engineering firm Bollinger Grohmann, and architect and roboticist Gilles Retsin.

exploded axonometric structural systems diagram
street view rendering of large building black white grey

Student work by Tony Avila, Javier Benavides, Jelvis Jiao, Lisa Liang, Raina Lin, and Erik Valle in Scott Uriu and Pavel Getov's Applied Studies studio