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Vertical Studio Presentations for Spring 2021 Consider Historical Craft, Untidiness, and War

At the start of its spring 2021 semester earlier this month, SCI-Arc students, faculty, and leadership convened virtually once again to share and receive briefs outlining this term’s offerings for vertical studios. As part of its biannual Vertical Studio Lottery, a selection of faculty presented prepared course descriptions highlighting the specialized design studios that they will lead throughout the following months, and which students, at the culmination of the presentations, were given the opportunity to enroll in.

beige map plan watercolor ink
Samuel Holland, “Plan (no. 2) Shewing the ground whereon the citadel is proposed to be built.” Watercolor, pen, ink [1762]. Shelburne Papers. Map Division, Maps 4-C-12.

With studio briefs exploring topics ranging from the environment, building methodologies, social equity, technology, and more, groups of students from across each of SCI-Arc’s undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs gain the opportunity to work with SCI-Arc faculty as well as visiting architects navigating real-world design projects. The spring 2021 vertical studios are led by SCI-Arc leadership, distinguished faculty, department chairs, and renowned figures working in architecture in Los Angeles and worldwide.

Conducted via YouTube Live, the spring 2021 Vertical Studio Lottery presentations featured introductions delivered by leading SCI-Arc faculty for 15 individual vertical studios. An algorithm then placed each student into their respective studios in order of preference according to ballot rankings and GPA, with equal priority given to students in each program.

marble on wood palette
folded concrete by Analia Saban, artist

SCI-Arc Director Hernán Díaz Alonso, joined by guest lecturer Pedro Ferrazini (MS Architectural Technologies '19), presented his studio, “Rustic Untidiness,” which proposes looking at how primitive and traditional methods—of design, architecture, textiles, cooking, furniture, tools, and objects— can reveal notions of play, contamination, and mutation to be valuable foundations for new forms of architectural experimentation. Using the Paraná Delta in Rosario, Argentina consisting of several islands known as the Islas del Paraná as site, students will throughout the course of the studio engage and interact with local architects and planners to learn and construct “new possibilities in disorder, contaminations, and putrefactions of traditions.”

In her vertical studio entitled “Abstractions of War, War of Abstractions,” design faculty Anna Neimark outlined in poetic form the analogous relationships between acts of war, critical discourse, and architecture. Referencing formal positions of attack, the fort of Quebec, over fifty-years’ worth of artists’ works in LA, even the recent Capitol insurrection, Neimark purports through this studio that “to bring attention to geometric precision, to landscape infrastructure, to collective living, to political violence, we will work deliberately through research into design.”

textile Anni Albers studio
Anni Albers in her studio at Black Mountain College, 1937

Graduate Thesis Coordinator Florencia Pita alongside Jonathan Warner presented their studio “onWeaving,” which focuses on how the experimental practice of weaving, as introduced during the Bauhaus as the only ‘appropriate’ discipline for women, was in fact an intrinsically historical, structural endeavor inextricably linked from modern architectural practice. Following the titular book by Anni Albers, published in 1965, students will create a series of study models that consider “the case for a discipline that spans through time, through history, and through countless cultures, from Greece to Peru, from analog to technological, we find the loom inextricably attached to humanity.”

The complete list of instructors leading spring 2021 vertical studios is:

  • David Ruy (Synthetic Landscapes)
  • Thom Mayne/Eui-Sung Yi (Design of Cities)
  • M. Casey Rehm (Architectural Technologies)
  • Anna Neimark
  • Andrew Zago
  • Dwayne Oyler
  • Devyn Weiser
  • Coy Howard
  • Florencia Pita
  • Michael Rotondi
  • Tom Wiscombe
  • Ming Fung/Craig Hodgetts
  • Eric Owen Moss
  • John Enright
  • Hernán Díaz Alonso