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SCI-Arc Announces Fall 2017 Public Lectures and Exhibitions

SCI-Arc is pleased to announce its fall 2017 series of public events. SCI-Arc public lectures this coming fall will introduce speakers from a broad cross-section of today’s most exciting architects, artists, philosophers and theorists including Oana Stanescu, Carme Pinós and Simon Critchley, among others. Fear and Wonder: An Expedition through the Landscapes of Fiction, a symposium curated by Liam Young, will join an ensemble of directors, concept artists, video game designers and storytellers for an expedition through an atlas of imaginary worlds, fictional cities and speculative geographies.

The lecture series is complemented by several exhibitions including: the 2017 Selected Thesis Exhibition which will feature the 2017 Gehry Prize winning thesis alongside a selection of best graduate thesis projects. Ruy Klein (David Ruy and Karel Klein), a firm that examines contemporary design problems at the intersection of architecture, nature, and technology, will also exhibit their work in the SCI-Arc Gallery.

Admission to SCI-Arc-hosted public events and exhibitions is always free and open to the public.

a grey poster with pink flower written sci-arc and lecture series
  • Sept 15: Selected Thesis Exhibition Opening Reception
  • Sept 22 Tu Casa es mi Casa A Roundtable Discussion
  • Sept 27 Mark Wigley Lecture
  • Oct 02 Hernan Diaz Alonso and Peter Testa Conversation
  • Oct 04 Oana Stanescu Lecture
  • Oct 11 Monica Ponce de Leon Lecture
  • Oct 18 Lisa Iwamoto Lecture
  • Oct 20 Ruy Klein (David Ruy & Karel Klein): Apophenia Exhibition Opening Reception
  • Oct 25 David Benjamin Lecture
  • Nov 01 Carme Pinós Lecture
  • Nov 08 Simon Critchley Lecture
  • Nov 11 Fear and Wonder Symposium Curated by Liam Young
  • Nov 29 Dominique Perrault Lecture
  • Dec 6 Barbara Bestor Lecture

All events begin at 7pm unless otherwise noted. Lectures take place in the W. M. Keck Lecture Hall and are broadcast on SCI-Arc’s Facebook page. Gallery opening receptions are held in the SCI-Arc Gallery and Kappe Library Gallery spaces.


September 22, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Tu Casa es mi Casa: A Roundtable Discussion

This roundtable brings together Los Angeles and Mexico City­–based participants of the exhibition Tu casa es mi casa, on view at the Neutra VDL House, to discuss issues of cross-border exchange, the exigencies of domestic modernism, and contemporary Mexican design practice.

Tu casa es mi casa is produced in collaboration between the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, Neutra VDL Studio and Residences, Archivo Diseño y Arquitectura. The Neutra VDL Studio and Residences is preserved and managed by the College of Environmental Design (ENV) at Cal Poly Pomona.

Participants include:

Mexican architects: Frida Escobedo, Pedro&Juana: Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss, and Tezontle: Lucas Cantú and Carlos Matos

Angeleno writers: Aris Janigian, David Ulin, and Katya Tylevich

Curators: Mario Ballesteros, Andrea Dietz, Sarah Lorenzen, and Mimi Zeiger

September 27, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Mark Wigley Lecture

Mark Wigley is Professor and Dean Emeritus at Columbia GSAPP. He served as Dean from 2004 to 2014. Wigley has written extensively on the theory and practice of architecture and is the author of Constant’s New Babylon: The Hyper-Architecture of Desire (1998); White Walls, Designer Dresses: The Fashioning of Modern Architecture (1995); and The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida’s Haunt (1993). He co-edited The Activist Drawing: Retracing Situationalist Architectures from Constant’s New Babylon to Beyond (2001). In 2005 he co-founded Volume magazine with Rem Koolhaas and Ole Bouman as a collaborative project by Archis (Amsterdam), AMO (Rotterdam), and C-lab (Columbia University). Wigley curated the exhibition Deconstructivist Architecture at The Museum of Modern Art, and others at The Drawing Center, New York; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; and Witte de With Museum, Rotterdam. Mark Wigley was awarded the Resident Fellowship, Chicago Institute for Architecture and Urbanism (1989), International Committee of Architectural Critics (C.I.C.A.) Triennial Award for Architectural Criticism (1990) and a Graham Foundation Gran (1997). He received both his Bachelor of Architecture (1979) and his Ph.D. (1987) from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

October 2, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Hernan Diaz Alonso + Peter Testa Conversation

Hernan Diaz Alonso and Peter Testa will discuss, Robot House: Instrumentation, Representation, Fabrication, a new publication by Peter Testa, with Forewords by Greg Lynn, and Eric Moss. Robot House features projects produced by one of the most innovative robotics design studios in the world, often interacting with a wide range of technologies from motion capture to material science—a realm far beyond conventional 3D modeling and the capabilities of 3D printing.

Hernan Diaz Alonso assumed the role of SCI-Arc director beginning in the 2015 academic year. He has been a distinguished faculty member since 2001, serving in several leadership roles, including coordinator of the graduate thesis program from 2007–10, and graduate programs chair from 2010–15. He is widely credited with spearheading SCI-Arc’s transition to digital technologies, and he played a key role in shaping the school’s graduate curriculum over the last decade. In parallel to his role at SCI-Arc, Diaz Alonso is principal of the Los Angeles–based architecture office Xefirotarch. His multidisciplinary practice is praised for its work at the intersection of design, animation, interactive environments, and radical architectural explorations. Over the course of his career as an architect and educator, Diaz Alonso has earned accolades for his leadership and innovation, as well as his ability to build partnerships among varied constituencies.

Peter Testa is Founding Partner at Testa & Weiser and Senior Design Faculty at SCI-Arc. He was born and raised in Lisbon. Testa holds a Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Science in Architecture (S.M.Arch.S. History/Theory) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Registered Architect in California. Previously he was Principal-in-Charge with Pritzker Laureate Álvaro Siza. His work is exhibited worldwide and is in the collection of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA). He was Associate Professor of Architecture at Columbia University (1990-1996) and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1996-2002). He has also taught as Visiting Professor at Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, and University of California. He is the author of three books on architectural theory and has lectured extensively in the United States and Europe. Testa is the recipient of numerous awards including the MIT Innovation Award, and Design Arts Award of the National Endowment for the Arts.

October 4, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Oana Stanescu Lecture

Oana Stanescu co-directs Family New York with Dong-Ping Wong. Family designs environments with the simple purpose of making better places to live. The New York based office is composed of architects, designers and strategists currently working on an array of civic, cultural, commercial and residential projects around the world. Regardless of type or scale, we believe that buildings, like the people that live and work within them, can actively contribute to making the environments all around us more productive, inspirational and fucking awesome. Our clients and collaborators include The Office of PlayLab, Friends of + POOL, Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh, 2x4, Arup, Nike, Tom Sachs, the New Museum, the Storefront for Art and Architecture and Kanye West. The first part of the lecture will focus on Family’s goals and the implicit creative process by illustrating a series of built and un-built projects. In the second part we will be discussing through a case study the impact of design, as well as today’s opportunities that allow us to circumvent the traditional architectural process, from inception to opening.

October 11, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Monica Ponce de Leon Lecture

Monica Ponce de Leon, a pioneering educator and award-winning architect, is dean of Princeton University's School of Architecture. Ponce de Leon has served as dean of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor from 2008 to 2015, where she is also the Eliel Saarinen Collegiate Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning. Before her appointment at the University of Michigan, Ponce de Leon was a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she served on the faculty for 12 years. A recipient of the prestigious National Design Award in Architecture from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian National Design Museum, Ponce de Leon co-founded Office dA, in 1991, and in 2011 started her own design practice, MPdL Studio, with offices in New York, Boston and Ann Arbor. MPdL Studio brings together an interdisciplinary team of practitioners with several years of experience working together at the former Office dA. We thrive in the diversity of our backgrounds, as well as the richness and wide range of our skills. With degrees in Fine Arts, Architecture, Material Systems, Environmental Design, Historic Preservation, and Urban Design, each member of our team brings a unique point of view to the design process. We have extensive experience on institutional projects and have developed methodologies that allow the projects to be on time and on budget while delivering innovative and meaningful design. While MPdL Studio is a relatively new venture established in 2011, the former Office dA was in practice for over twenty years. Our team of 10 designers and administrative staff includes two licensed professionals.

October 18, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Lisa Iwomoto Lecture

Lisa Iwamoto is Founding Partner with Craig Scott of IwamotoScott Architecture. IwamotoScott has received numerous awards including the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices and Young Architects, Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard, over twenty AIA Design Awards, a P/A Award and numerous other architecture and interior awards. Their work has been published in hundreds of journals, and exhibited in over fifty museums and galleries. Lisa received her Master of Architecture degree with Distinction from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Structural Engineering from the University of Colorado. She is author of Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques published in 2009 by Princeton Architectural Press, and is Professor at the University of California Berkeley. In Michael Heizer’s “Double Negative” from 1969, two voids: one, the edge of an existing canyon; the other, a machine-made cut, intersect to infer a third – the double negative. This artwork and the wider spatial implications of the double negative serve as touchstones for our work; we privilege the design of void and volume over syntax and surface. Unlike earthwork sculpture however, architecture cannot rely upon the mere act of digging to unveil the magical and unified confluence of form, site, space and material. Instead, we grapple with how to create resonance, abstraction and multiple readings using formal geometry and common building materials assembled in innovative ways. This has become a pervasive question in our work where we try to achieve a unique design synthesis across multiple scales. Lisa Iwamoto will discuss the work of her firm, currently in a moment of transition from installations and speculative proposals toward building.

October 25, 7pm in W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

David Benjamin Lecture

David Benjamin is Founding Principal of The Living and Assistant Professor at Columbia GSAPP. He and the firm have won many design prizes, including the Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League, the New Practices Award from the AIA New York, the Young Architects Program Award from the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, and a Holcim Sustainability Award. Clients include the City of New York, Seoul Municipal Government, Google, Nike, 3M, Airbus, BMW, Miami Science Museum, and Björk. Recent projects include the Princeton Embodied Computation Lab (a new building for research on next-generation architecture technologies), Pier 35 EcoPark (a 200-foot-long floating pier in the East River that changes color according to water quality), and Hy-Fi (a branching tower for MoMA PS1 made of a new type of biodegradable brick). The Living combines research and practice, exploring new ideas and technologies through prototyping. The studio’s work embraces the complexity at the intersection of ideas, technologies, materials, culture, humans, non-humans, and the environment. Focusing on the intersection of biology, computation, and design, the studio has articulated three frameworks for harnessing living organisms for architecture: bio-computing, bio-sensing, and bio-manufacturing. The studio welcomes rapid change, embraces design with uncertainty, develops rules rather than forms, and designs with unknowable forces.

November 1, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Carme Pinós Lecture

For the last 25 years, Carme Pinós has worked on numerous projects ranging from urban refurbishments and public works to furniture design. Her sharp approach to design, anchored by a constant focus on experimentation and research, has made her work garner worldwide recognition at the same time that Barcelona architecture has cemented its own identity and reputation throughout Europe and South and North America. Her current projects include the Regional Office of the Generalitat in Tortosa (Spain); the architectural set composed by Gardunya Square in Barcelona; and the Masterplan for the historic centre of Saint Dizier (France). Among her most significant completed recent projects are the Departments Building of the Vienna University of Economics and Business (Austria), the Cube and Cube II Towers in Guadalajara (Mexico), the Caixaforum Cultural and Exhibition Centre in Zaragoza (Spain), the metro station Zona Universitaria in Barcelona and the Crematorium in the Igualada Cemetery (Spain). Carme Pinós combines work as an architect with teaching and lecturing, and has been guest professor at universities and institutions worldwide, and her work has been widely exhibited. The Centre Pompidou acquired the scale models of the Caixaforum Zaragoza in Spain, the Hotel Pizota in Mexico, and the Maison de l’Algérie of Paris. The model of the Cube I Tower currently belongs to the collection of New York’s MOMA.

November 8, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Simon Critchley Lecture

Simon Critchley is Hans Jonas Professor at the New School for Social Research. His books include Very Little…Almost Nothing (1997), Infinitely Demanding (2007), The Book of Dead Philosophers (2009) and The Faith of the Faithless (2012). Recent works include a novella, Memory Theatre, a book-length essay, Notes on Suicide and a book on David Bowie. He is series moderator of ‘The Stone’, a philosophy column in The New York Times and co-editor of The Stone Reader (2016). He is also 50% of an obscure musical combo called Critchley & Simmons. Ponders End, their new album, was recently released.

November 11, 3pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Fear and Wonder: An Expedition through the Landscapes of Fiction, Curated by Liam Young Symposium

Our perception of the world is largely shaped through the mediums of fiction. Our political positions are informed by fake news, we live out our lives in the pixelated territories of video games and we escape into the pages of a novel or the flicker of the movie screen. In film, games and literature, we have always imagined alternative worlds as a means to understand our own world in new ways. In Fear and Wonder we join an ensemble of directors, concept artists, video game designers and storytellers for an expedition through an atlas of imaginary worlds, fictional cities and speculative geographies.

Liam Young, SCI-Arc Fiction and Entertainment Coordinator and Design Faculty, is an Australian born architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He is founder of the think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today, a group whose work explores the possibilities of fantastic, speculative and imaginary urbanisms. Building his design fictions from the realities of present, Young also co-runs the Unknown Fields Division, a nomadic research studio that travels on location shoots and expeditions to the ends of the earth to document emerging trends and uncover the weak signals of possible futures. He has been acclaimed in both mainstream and architectural media, including the BBC, NBC, Wired, Guardian, Time Magazine, and Dazed and Confused and his work has been collected by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. He has taught internationally including the Architectural Association and Princeton University and now runs an M.A. in Fiction and Entertainment at SCI-Arc. Young manages his time between exploring distant landscapes and visualizing the fictional worlds he extrapolates from them.

November 15, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Daniel Libeskind Lecture

Polish-American architect, Daniel Libeskind is an international figure in architecture and urban design. Informed by a deep commitment to music, philosophy, and literature, Mr. Libeskind aims to create architecture that is resonant, original, and sustainable. Libeskind established his architectural studio in Berlin, Germany, in 1989 after winning the competition to build the Jewish Museum in Berlin. In February 2003, Studio Libeskind moved its headquarters from Berlin to New York City to oversee the master planner for the World Trade Center redevelopment, which is being realized in Lower Manhattan today. Daniel Libeskind’s practice is involved in designing and realizing a diverse array of urban, cultural and commercial projects around the globe. The Studio has completed buildings that range from museums and concert halls to convention centers, university buildings, hotels, shopping centers and residential towers. As Principal Design Architect for Studio Libeskind , Mr. Libeskind speaks widely on the art of architecture in universities and professional summits. His architecture and ideas have been the subject of many articles and exhibitions, influencing the field of architecture and the development of cities and culture.

November 29, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Dominique Perrault Lecture

Praemium imperial award winner (Japan), the French architect and urban planner, Dominique Perrault, is a professor and director of the Underground Architecture Laboratory (SUB) at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. He is also the founder of DPAx, a multidisciplinary research platform exploring architecture from a wider perspective, and DPA Lab, a laboratory of research and innovation developing processes that reinvent the vocabulary of architecture. Along with the Bibliothèque nationale de France, his main projects to date include the Olympic Velodrome and Swimming Pool in Berlin, the extension of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg, the Olympic Tennis Stadium in Madrid, the EWHA Woman’s University in Seoul and the Fukoku Tower in Osaka. In recent years, Dominique Perrault inaugurated the tallest tower of Austria in Vienna, the DC Tower 1, and led various heritage rehabilitation projects, including the new public entry pavilion for the Château de Versailles. Current studies and urban research projects include the Olympic Village – Paris 2024 and the “Mission Ile de la Cité,” an urban study commissioned by the president of the French Republic that reflects upon the future of the thriving, historical center of Paris from now until 2040.

December 5, 7pm in the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall

Barbara Bestor Lecture

Barbara Bestor, FAIA is founding principal of Bestor Architecture. Since 1995, Bestor Architecture has actively redefined Los Angeles architecture with a practice that rigorously engages the city through design, art, and urbanism. Increasingly, the firm applies L.A.’s lessons to national undertakings. Projects such as Beats by Dre headquarters, Blackbirds small-lot housing development, and Intelligentsia café illustrate Bestor’s continued exploration of architectural form through experimentation, research, and graphics. Bestor is faculty at Woodbury University School of Architecture and executive director of the university’s Julius Shulman Institute. She is author of Bohemian Modern, Living in Silver Lake. Bestor Architecture is a twenty-five person firm based in Los Angeles. Founded by Barbara Bestor, FAIA in 1995, Bestor Architecture has designed a number of award-winning projects including headquarters for Beats by Dre and Nasty Gal, Blackbirds, a groundbreaking new typology for dense housing in Echo Park, and a variety of experimental residences and commercial establishments. The varied, creative, and aesthetically progressive body of work expands the territory of architecture into atmospheric urbanism. Recent projects include the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, which creates a vibrant musical haven by inserting an internal urban village within the shell of a classic Hollywood warehouse, a new winery and event center in Napa, and headquarters for multiple high tech firms.


September 15 – October 1, 2017 in the SCI-Arc Gallery

Selected Thesis Exhibition Opening Reception

Friday, September 15, 7pm: Exhibition Opening

A juried exhibition of exceptional thesis projects by 2017 graduates, featuring the 2017 Gehry Prize winning thesis, and a selection of best graduate thesis projects, will be on view in the SCI-Arc Gallery.

October 20 – December 10, 2017 in the SCI-Arc Gallery

Ruy Klein, David Ruy + Karel Klein: Apophenia Exhibition

Friday, October 20, 7pm: Opening Reception

Ruy Klein examines contemporary design problems at the intersection of architecture, nature, and technology. Encompassing a wide array of experimentation, projects study the mutual imbrications of artificial and natural regimes that are shaping an ever more synthetic world. The office probes the indeterminacies of 21st century architecture, locating territories in a frontier no longer outside the city walls, but unexpectedly found within the city itself. Despite the spatial uncertainties of the new synthetic world, provocative opportunities are evident as the computational and the ecological movements merge and attention shifts to the sublime horizon that is glowing with feral technologies. The work of Ruy Klein has been widely published, exhibited, and has been the recipient of numerous awards recognizing the office as one of the leading experimental practices in architecture today.

Karel Klein is an architect and co-director of Ruy Klein. Investigating craft, precision, and the evolution of design expertise in the digital age, Karel continues to foreground the persistence of the designer in contemporary culture. She received her MArch degree from Columbia University and also holds a BS degree in civil engineering from The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Previously at The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Design and Pratt Institute, she currently teaches graduate design studios at Columbia University.

David Ruy is an architect, theorist, and director of Ruy Klein. David received his M.Arch degree from Columbia University and his B.A. degree from St. John’s College where he studied philosophy and mathematics. Ruy Klein examines contemporary design problems at the intersection of architecture, nature, and technology. Encompassing a wide array of experimentation, Ruy Klein’s projects study the mutual imbrications of artificial and natural regimes that are shaping an ever more synthetic world. The work of Ruy Klein has been widely published and exhibited and has been the recipient of numerous awards recognizing the firm as one of the leading experimental practices in architecture today. Their work is part of the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City and The Frac Centre in Orléans, France.


Public Programs

SCI-Arc exhibitions and public programs are made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs.

Parking and admission are free. No reservations are required. Events are broadcast live online on SCI-Arc’s Facebook page.

SCI-Arc Public Programs are subject to change beyond our control. For the most current information, please visit or call 213-613-2200.

Parking and Hours

The entrance to SCI-Arc's parking lot is at 350 Merrick Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013, between Traction Avenue and 4th Street in Los Angeles. The SCI-Arc Gallery is open daily from 10am–6pm; the Library Gallery is open daily from 12pm-6pm.

About SCI-Arc Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is dedicated to educating architects who will imagine and shape the future. It is an independent, accredited degree-granting institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture. Located in a quarter-mile-long former freight depot in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles, the school is distinguished by its vibrant studio culture and emphasis on process. SCI-Arc’s approximately 500 students and 80 faculty members, most of whom are practicing architects, work together to re-examine assumptions, create, explore and test the limits of architecture. SCI-Arc faculty and leadership have garnered more than 500 national and international design awards and recognitions, including Progressive Architecture awards, American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards, and the prestigious Jencks and Pritzker architecture prizes. SCI-Arc is located at 960 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.