Two dynamic post-graduate programs offered by the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles have been charged with examining core contemporary issues facing architecture today. Spanning topics from advanced manufacturing methodologies and new building systems, to urban planning and design challenges faced globally, these post-professional tracks allow students to rethink architecture and design through the creative lens of the SCI-Arc community.
The architecture school’s Emerging Systems, Technologies & Media (ESTm) and Future Initiatives (SCIFI) programs are conceived as intensive one-year (three semesters) post-professional degrees in architecture, functioning as think tanks and research engines within the larger framework of the school.
Testing new levels of environmental performance, the ESTm program prepares students to successfully integrate formal, technical, logistical, and material processes into advanced architectural design. It is open to graduates in architecture, engineering, product design, computer sciences and others who wish to develop advanced research and design skills in the context of emerging materials and new production paradigms.
Among the students set to graduate from ESTm this year is Brian Harms, who previously completed his Bachelor of Architecture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. One of his recent SCI-Arc projects, Liquid Tomography involves a tomographic exercise using a flat screen TV mounted to a robot which successfully scans and slices through each frame of an animation. Harms says, “SCI-Arc encourages students to discover and rigorously pursue what genuinely interests them, which is robotics in my case.”
ESTm is led by long-time faculty member Marcelo Spina, whose hands-on approach to design research has students going beyond theories and computer simulations to learning how to swing a hammer and sew material. In parallel, the campus-operated, fully-equipped fabrication shop and robotics lab are both instrumental in encouraging craftsmanship and making things.
Furthermore, SCI-Arc’s positioning at the center of the changing urban landscape of Los Angeles provides opportunities for students and faculty to challenge the notions of the modern city. Dense city architecture involves inherent interaction of economic, social, political and technological forces demanding multi-disciplinary review and collaboration. The SCIFI program at SCI-Arc is dedicated to studying these issues, not only as they apply to the city of Los Angeles, but to cities around the world.
“Students come to SCI-Arc from all over the globe, bringing their own culture and ideas about urban architecture to the table,” said Janiva Henry, who graduated from the SCIFI program in fall 2012. “The school’s progressive community of faculty and students is a magnet that provides for an ideal environment to learn, grow and contribute,” added Henry.
Coordinated by Peter Zellner, who has been teaching at the college for 12 years, SCIFI is calibrated to incrementally build research skills, urban design expertise and strategic thinking about cities and urban regions. His program welcomes interdisciplinary applicants from fields such as architecture, planning, urban design, landscape architecture, real estate and geography.
Students enrolled in the two post-professional programs can expect to go head-to-head in reviews with internationally renowned architects teaching at the school such as Laurie Olin, Jesse Reiser, Nanako Umemoto, Peter Trummer, Andrew Zago, Peter Testa, Tom Wiscombe, Elena Manferdini, Eric Owen Moss, Marcelyn Gow, Ming Fung and Hernan Diaz Alonso. Guest critics and visitors to SCI-Arc programs include Thom Mayne, Stan Allen, Michael Maltzan, Greg Lynn, Jeff Kipnis, Neil Denari, Brett Steele, Wolf Prix, Sylvia Lavin, Nader Tehrani and Patrik Schumacher among many others.
More details about these programs, including project images, student news and video can be found on their media-rich blogs at www.estm.us and www.scifipostgrad.us.
For information about admission into ESTm and SCIFI, contact the SCI-Arc firstname.lastname@example.org or 213-356-5320. The early decision deadline for post-graduate admission into the 2013/14 academic year is March 1, 2013; extended deadline is April 15, 2013. More about SCI-Arc is available at www.sciarc.edu .