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. During the second year, students are engaged in Visual Studies and Design Studio courses that consider the role of ‘Multiples’ in Art and Architecture, and enable students to create stunning visual techniques that are unique to the vibrant environment that SCI-Arc cultivates.
Through a seminar specific Grasshopper-Kangaroo software script, students rigged and animated 3D arrangements of parts (ears, head, nose, body, etc.), then produced physical models in a range of materials using 3D printing, CNC milling, and laser cutting. Students also had the opportunity to experiment with several advanced imaging technologies, including Augmented Reality, Stroboscopic Animation, and Real-time Projection Mapping in SCI-Arc’s Robot House. This comprehensive set of techniques in Visual Studies supported the development of conceptual, theoretical and formal proposals in Design Studio for a new Disney Animation Studio in Burbank California.
Following SCI-Arc’s studio model of the “practicing architect as educator”, this Visual Studies seminar and related Design Studio was coordinated by Devyn Weiser whose professional practice, Testa & Weiser, was selected for the Canadian Centre for Architecture landmark exhibit Archeology of the Digital: Complexity and Convention at the CCA and Yale University in 2017.