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DID 2020 'In the Clouds' Embraces Radical Imagination in Design for Youth

SCI-Arc is proud to announce plans for its upcoming 2020 iteration of Design Immersion Days, this year celebrating its 10th anniversary. This round of the popular summer program, entitled In the Clouds, will launch online June 22 through July 10. DID provides an immersive platform for high school students all over the world to come together for three-week-long series of courses, project, lectures, virtual field trips, and more, which plunge into contemporary design topics, tools, and techniques. The legacy of SCI-Arc’s Design Immersion Days continues this summer as the program explores the creative potential of design and collaborative learning within a fully digital interface. All high school students interested in architecture, design, visual culture, and digital gaming are encouraged to participate. No prior knowledge or experience is required.

graphic with clouds and building tools

Continuing its traditions in concept as well as explorations of scale through cutting-edge design platforms, the curriculum will incorporate new methods for content and project delivery to engender a collaborative and fun social environment. The program will offer a suite of design assignments ranging in scale from a room, to a building, and ultimately to an extensive and shared digital urban landscape. The design exercises will incorporate physical and digital outputs and will be supported by daily tutorials. In addition to the design projects, the students’ experiences will be enhanced by virtual field trips to architecturally relevant sites, as well as a series of chats by influential designers in the field. Students will also be guided through the process of collecting and formatting their work in a thoughtful portfolio format.

DID Program Coordinator Mira Henry acknowledges the challenge of how to extend not just the program but also the culture of DID within the context of stay-at-home ordinances due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We're doing it really through a lens of optimism,” she says, “because we're pretty excited about being able to address the novel and strange scenario we're in—seeing what kinds of new formats of collaboration and ways in which we can experiment with our technologies, all within the context of play and fun—which is really what DID is about.”

SCI-Arc Coordinator Mira Henry

SCI-Arc’s DID program was also founded on the mission to provide the opportunity for all students to enjoy the expansive creativity of architectural education. “One of the more meaningful aspects of the program where students from many different parts of the city are coming together in this shared platform of design,” adds Henry of DID’s expressed mission of equity and inclusivity, “because it really makes the program experience for the students and for us really much richer.” Full and partial scholarships are made available for all students with expressed financial need.

student with art installation
DID 2019

An added benefit of hosting DID online this summer will be the opportunity for students from all over the world to take part. With the spirit of unity and inclusion that has always driven the program's outreach, recruitment, and curriculum, DID 2020 will remotely unite US teens with teens from China. “In many ways, the spirit of DID is going to become even more global because we are remote,” adds Henry, “particularly because we are moving towards a kind of extensive urban landscape, knitting together these moments globally—it can welcome a global perspective.”

Henry and DID instructors including SCI-Arc faculty Angelica Lorenzi and alum Leah Wulfman (Fiction and Entertainment ’18) conceptualized this year’s theme In the Clouds around the idea of not only being in “the cloud,” or online, but also referring to having one’s head in the clouds, shares Henry, “as a beautiful image of both working in a remote way but also in this broad imaginary—I think that's what we're trying to spark.”

people talking in a circle
SCI-Arc Undergraduate Program Chair Tom Wiscombe (right) with DID 2019 student
people in art exhibition
DID 2019 Final Exhibition

Design Immersion Days is generously supported US Bank Foundation and Goodwin Family Memorial Trust, and recognized for its excellence at three levels of government—with support from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts, and the California Arts Council.

Applications for Design Immersion Days 2020 are now open on the SCI-Arc website. To learn more about this year’s program, join SCI-Arc’s DID Online Information Session on May 27. Register here.