SCI-Arc, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, in Los Angeles is a school that considers architecture an art form capable of engaging with contemporary culture and public imagination. At the graduate level, the school offers creative individuals with an undergraduate degree in any field of study the opportunity to transition into the professional and academic world of architecture through its 3-year professionally accredited Master of Architecture 1 program.
Students in SCI-Arc’s M.Arch 1 come from a wide range of academic and professional backgrounds, but they all share an interest in cultural production. In order to familiarize students with problems central to the discourse of architecture, the program begins with a design studio that sets up a foundation of technical rigor and fine craft while utilizing contemporary architectural tools.
The first studio project uses Tony Smith’s sculpture, Smoke, whose angles offer a difficult drawing and modeling problem for students beginning architectural studies, to initiate a conversation about the techniques used to communicate ideas about geometry, form and space.
Transitioning from two-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional figures, students offer new readings of the formal parts that compose the matrix of Smoke as they build a family of closed physical models. These models launch the development of abstract ideas that shape the students’ proposals for a Hyde Park Branch Library in Los Angeles.
This first semester’s final drawings and models are thus reflections of the students’ individual creative positions, developed over the course’s rigorous exercises, and articulated through a small building proposal.
Following SCI-Arc’s studio model of the practicing architect as educator, this studio was coordinated by Anna Neimark whose professional practice, First Office, was a 2016 Finalist for MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program. To view more SCI-Arc student and faculty work, visit sciarc.edu or instagram.com/sciarc.