Posts tagged with "Southern California Institute of Architecture":

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Peter Zellner to launch Free School of Architecture

In a recent article, Los Angeles—based architect and educator Peter Zellner called for a reassessment of the contemporary state of architectural education. His article, part cri de coeur, part manifesto, launched a great deal of debate, including a response by Todd Gannon, cultural studies coordinator at SCI-Arc. As a result, Zellner is now in the process of launching a new educational endeavor to hopefully carry out some of the changes he'd like to see made. His new project, the Free School of Architecture (FSA), will launch in the summer of 2017 as a “tuition and salary free” school seeking to “explore the edges of architectural education.” The Architect’s Newspaper talked to Zellner about FSA as he prepares for its inaugural semester. The Architect’s Newspaper: Can you describe what FSA is (or will be) and why you decided to start a school? Peter Zellner: The Free School of Architecture (FSA) was started partially as a direct follow up to the concerns I outlined in my article.

While the idea for FSA is still gestating, I can describe what it won’t be.  The Free School of Architecture will not be accredited, will not offer professional degrees, will not create a need or an opportunity to teach for salary, will not provide course credit or reciprocity with traditional institutions and will not have a permanent home.

FSA is a stand alone and autonomous organization and its primary goal is to absolve both students and teachers of conforming to established models of thinking.

We will see what emerges in 2017 but my hope is that over the course of a few years new, independent and diverse voices emerge from the school. Conversations originating at the Free School of Architecture may eventually be captured and published out by a sister organization being established next year, the Free Architecture Press (FAP).

What are the central tenants of FSA?

FSA’s central tenants are:

1. To promote free and critical thinking in architecture;

2. To encourage a diverse community of students and teachers to explore the edges of the profession and the discipline;

3. To create a free and safe zone for debate and new ideas to emerge;

4. To question the need to ratify or sanctify official architectural positions and doctrines;

And most importantly:

5. To create an academic milieu in which young, diverse and independent architectural voices can emerge organically.

What role does the fact that FSA is “tuition and salary free” play in the political objectives of the school?

I think the point of creating a “not tuition-driven, not-over-salaried-educator friendly architecture school” is pretty simple: Students and teachers will be no longer forced into their usual roles and ideas can be literally exchanged for free. That doesn’t release or excuse either the students or teachers at FSA from having to argue for the value of their ideas.  In fact, it elevates the need for real debate and exchange.

Your article for AN focused on the need to revisit the current conditions of so-called radical school from the prior generation. In this vein, how does FSA relate to Baudrillard's notion of the dialectical utopia? Well, I am no expert on Baudrillard but my understanding of his concept is that essentially utopias are “indissociable” from active social processes and therefore are in a continuous and dialectical, often “unharmonious,” relationship with the present or present situations. So I guess his point is that utopias exist now, not in the future, and they rub up against existing orders.

That said, I do believe that the present is built on the past (specifically, in several avant-garde architecture school cases—the works conducted in the 1970s and 1980s in London, Los Angeles and New York), so I am not at all naive about how we have arrived here or unabashed about referring the past to create a new present-future. By this I mean to radically re-open—without any nostalgia—the legacy of the Architectural Association in London under Alvin Boyarsky, SCI-Arc under Ray Kappe, as well as the academic and intellectual leadership of John Hejduk at the Cooper Union and Peter Eisenman at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies.

Old and good ideas are absolutely fair game, no one owns them and we all need to feel free to re-frame those academic moments and mine them for new approaches. Anyone who tells you otherwise or claims those ideas as their own or that they must belong to this clan or that school is being disingenuous. Architecture advances without hegemonies and FSA will not promote the usual academic hierarchies, it intends to upend them.

In your first year, how many students do you aim to have? How many courses do you aim to teach?

12 students will join 10 teachers in June and July of 2017 for 6 weeks.

12 courses will be taught of which I will teach two classes, to open and close the year.  The remaining 10 will be taught in 30, 60, and 120 minute blocks by the FSA’s 10 teachers.

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Graham Harman Joins SCI-Arc’s Liberal Arts Faculty

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) has announced the appointment of philosopher Graham Harman to its Liberal Arts Faculty as "Distinguished Professor of Philosophy." Harman will fill the post in this fall. Harman is a well-regarded figure within the discipline of philosophy, respected for his contribution to contemporary speculative realism movement and for his development of object-oriented ontology. He has published 12 books including The Quadruple ObjectGuerrilla Metaphysics: Phenomenology and the Carpentry of Things, and Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy, and is currently editor of the Speculative Realism book series at Edinburgh University Press. "During my lectures over the years, I have rarely felt as challenged and inspired as I do when speaking at schools of architecture," said Harman speaking of his appointment. "Along with the chance to give whatever I can to the SCI-Arc community, I see this move as a remarkable learning opportunity.” Harman engages in critical discourse involving science, art, and architecture, landing him on a list of the top 100 most influential people in the art world, as collated by Art Review. “We are thrilled and honored that someone of Graham’s stature and reputation will join our faculty,” said SCI-Arc Director Hernan Diaz Alonso in a press release. “This appointment clearly demonstrates our mission to deepen the school’s Liberal Arts agenda to one of architecture as a human endeavor.” Chair of the B.Arch. Program, Tom Wiscombe, said of his appointment, “Graham is a unique and notorious figure in philosophy and the arts. His fresh metaphysical project offers a way of understanding reality not as a product of the human mind, but rather as a cornucopia of independent and vibrant objects, large and small, human and non-human. Graham is irreverent, with as many adversaries as acolytes; he is at home in the battlefield of ideas. His remarkable imagination and style, and his ability to leap in and out of realms of ideas and aesthetics will be huge assets for our school. In the coming years, Graham will no doubt engage and provoke the speculative design culture of SCI-Arc, as well as being a crucial contributor to our Liberal Arts Program."
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On View> "Coop Himmelb(l)au: Dynamischer Raumplan" at SCI-Arc

  Coop Himmelb(l)au: Dynamischer Raumplan Southern California Institute of Architecture 960 East Third Street Los Angeles Through March 8, 2015 Environmental consciousness and energy conservation have overhauled the blueprint for urban planning. With efficiency at its heart, today’s back-to-nature paradigm will realize the potential of self-sufficient cities powered instead by clean, renewable resources including the sun, wind, water, and earth. The Dynamischer Raumplan is a spatial installation by Vienna-based firm Coop Himmelb(l)au that operates like a machine to visualize the energy lines that shape a city’s morphology.   A 21st century game-changer, the influence of energy conservation is as powerful and radicalizing as the advent of the automobile in the 20th century, which mandated all-new infrastructure. The installation can be read in several scales, from a city block to a city district to an urban region, in which the energy lines of an imaginary site are displayed one by one to show how they might converge and adapt according to the needs of the system “like the brain, like a cloud, like a city.”
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In 3D-Printed Sugar


A team of SCI-Arc–trained architects establish a sweet set up in Southern California.

Liz and Kyle Von Hasseln wanted to bake a birthday cake for a friend but, unfortunately, their rented apartment didn't have an oven. Not to be deterred, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) alumni hit upon a solution that would leave most bakers scratching their heads: They decided to 3D print one. Earlier that year, the couple had been awarded the school's inaugural Gehry Prize for their work on Phantom Geometry, a 5-axis fabrication study of UV-cured resin within a shallow vat system that responded to real-time feed back and feed-forward mechanisms. "In our graduate work, we were really interested in the way free form fabrication would influence architecture," Kyle recently told AN. "We thought a lot about the potential for the intersection of culture and technology that would be accessible to the public, so printing sugar was that."
  • Fabricators Sugar Lab
  • Designers Liz and Kyle Von Hasseln
  • Location Los Angeles
  • Date of Completion 2012
  • Material sugar
  • Process Maya, 3D printing
The Von Hasselns began working on a combination of SCI-Arc machinery and printers they built themselves. The initial ambition to 3D-print the entire cake was scaled-back to 3D printing just a sparkling cake topper made only from sugar, a process that Liz likened to a micro architectural challenge. As with any material, working with sugar presented inherent propensities and limitations. However, Liz said the process of working with food had its own distinct challenges. "Because it's a food object, we've found it becomes important to consider those inherent characteristics," Liz said. "People have expectations about what food looks, tastes, and feels like, and its really important to hit those notes, otherwise you have a cool design that might not look like dessert." Once the designers embraced the inherent qualities of the material, they developed a proprietary 3D-printing process capable of fusing sugar crystals together without deforming or discoloring them. The finished product is as white and sparkling as a sugar cube. Though they missed the birthday by a long shot, the end result spelled their friend's name in a cursive scrawl made entirely from sugar. Sugar Lab, the Von Hasseln's company, has yet to build an entire town out of sugar like the utopian village brought to life by Richard Brautigan in his novel In Watermelon Sugar, but the couple has received hundreds of inquiries from around the world. They are also excited about the role of the designer in the 3D printing revolution. "We think what will move the field forward in the future is not solely additional technological enhancement, but how artists, architects, and designers utilize those capabilities," Liz said. "A 3D printer is a tool and what comes of skilled artisans wielding that tool is what will make the technology resonate with people, and make it culturally relevant."