Inside SCI-Arc


Alumni Receive Award to Develop Digital Tool for Sustainable Urban Design

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected alumni Peter Arnold (M.Arch ‘94) and Hadley Arnold (M.Arch ‘94) of Woodbury University’s Arid Lands Institute as winners of the 2015 Latrobe Prize for their “Drylands Resilience Initiative: Digital Tools for Sustainable Urban Design in Arid and Semi-Arid Urban Centers.” The Latrobe Prize, named for architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, is awarded biennially by the AIA College of Fellows for a two-year program of research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession.

ALI case studies explore areas that have extensive contamination, sites that are well suited to infiltration, and sites that are a combination of the two.

The $100,000 award will enable the Arid Lands Institute and its cross-disciplinary partners to further develop and test a proprietary digital design tool, known as “Hazel,” that eventually will enable arid communities anywhere to design and build the infrastructure needed to capture, retain and distribute stormwater runoff. The jury was particularly impressed with the institute's research plan, the working partnerships that are part of the proposal, and the social justice at the center of the research.

As founders and co-directors of the Arid Lands Institute, Peter and Hadley Arnold aim to train designers and citizens to innovate in response to hydrologic variability brought on by climate change. Part of their research, they created a stormwater runoff model based on 30-year precipitation data, assessed soil types and ground surface impermeability, and analyzed zones contaminated with chemicals to pinpoint areas best suited for stormwater infiltration and capture.

Their Drylands Resilience Initiative addresses the critical global issue of securing low-carbon and sustainable urban water supplies within arid urban centers. The proposed technology to be funded by the Latrobe Prize builds on previous public and private sector funded research to maximize low-carbon localized water supply, shape water-smart urban planning, zoning and building policy, as well as develop pilot projects that are scalable and replicable.The resulting digital tool should enable engineers and architects to make more thoughtful decisions on the integration of stormwater capture and reuse in their projects.

Ramiro Diaz-Granados, Matthew Au to Complete Installation at Oregon State University

SCI-Arc design faculty Ramiro Diaz-Granados (B.Arch ’96) of Los Angeles-based Amorphis, in collaboration with alumnus Matthew Au (M.Arch ‘11), are currently at work on an interior intervention for a new building on the campus of Oregon State University.

Afterglow is built out of laser-cut aluminum sheets and anodized with gradient color.

Titled Afterglow, their design is being installed in the university’s new Student Experience Center (SEC), aiming to inject a vibrantly colored set of surfaces that produce an atmospheric effect similar to afterglows—optical phenomena associated with the scattering of light particles during sunset, producing a range of warm rosy hues in the sky.

Their proposal adheres to and takes its cues from the building’s architecture, serving as an eccentric counterpart to the building’s exterior facades. While the exterior of the building is intended to be contextual with the larger campus setting and its neo-classical import, the interior lobby has baroque ambitions. The plan geometry that defines the lobby is comprised of irregular and overlapping shapes based on a composition of arcs. As a result, the building’s interior has no single center, but several multiplied centers which are indexed in radial lines that break down the surfaces into strips, overwhelming the space with color, luminosity, shape and texture.

The main ceiling piece signals a frustration of the space with not terminating in a dome or atrium and is composed of an inverted ridgeline figure surrounding an ovoid plane of mirrored tiles. The tiling pattern is based on the orthographic projection of the hexagonal subdivisions of two intersecting domes.

Designed, fabricated and contracted by Amorphis in collaboration with Au, the project is scheduled to be completed at the end of April.

SCI-Arc Directors, Faculty Address the Holocaust Memorial in Panel Discussion at USC

The 2015 Conney Conference on Jewish Arts, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in partnership with the University of Southern California, will feature a stimulating panel discussion addressing the Holocaust memorial, featuring SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss, Graduate Programs Chair Hernan Diaz Alonso, guest panelist Robert Eisenman, and design faculty Russell Thomsen.

Scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 24, 7:30pm at the Doheny Library on the USC campus, the event is free and open to the public. The Doheny Memorial Library is located at 3550 Trousdale Parkway, University Park Campus, Los Angeles, CA 90089.

Thinking the Future of Auschwitz, SCI-Arc Gallery, Fall 2014

Dubbed What is a Holocaust Memorial?, this panel discussion stems from a recent exhibition hosted at SCI-Arc in fall 2014, where Russell Thomsen and his late partner, Eric Khan, presented their own take on the future of Auschwitz through a through-provoking architectural proposal for the future of the Nazi concentration camps in Poland. While Kahn and Thomsen’s proposal was as an attempt to temporarily “blank” the site, rendering it inaccessible and invisible, SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss raised the question of appropriate or inappropriate uses of the memorial, citing Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust memorial in Berlin.

The HUC-hosted panel aims to advance the discussion began at SCI-Arc last fall.

For more information about the 2015 Conney Conference on Jewish Arts visit

Tom Wiscombe Completes Schematic Design of DTLA Museum

SCI-Arc design faculty Tom Wiscombe has recently completed his schematic design for the Old Bank District Museum (OBDM), commissioned by SCI-Arc trustee Tom Gilmore. Wiscombe, who heads the LA-based practice Tom Wiscombe Architecture, presented his designs to members of the LA development and arts community in late February.

On the roof of the Bankhouse Garage is a 35,000 SF. Sculpture Garden with a Café and Amphitheater, creating a new ground in the city.

The OBDM is a contemporary art and design museum located in the heart of the Old Bank District of Downtown Los Angeles. The project is part adaptive reuse and part new construction, capitalizing on the tension between historical and contemporary architecture.

Located beneath, inside of, and on top of the Farmer’s & Merchant’s Bank, the Hellman Building, and the Bankhouse Garage at 4th and Main Street, the Museum is a three dimensional space that weaves through these buildings, inhabiting their hidden or forgotten spaces. It is an unorthodox museum form, in the sense that it withdraws from iconicity and creates a world within a world.

A sequence of discrete objects draws visitors through the space. Objects penetrate through floors, peek over rooftops, and inhabit dark interior voids.

The main 45,000 SF. exhibition space is located in basement and sub-basement spaces that include turn-of-the-century bank vaults that become part of the ensemble.

Unlike generalizing forms of coherence we have become familiar with in this late period of digital architecture, such as smoothness and continuity, this project is based on a new, non-literal form of coherence produced by the uniqueness of specific objects and the vicarious relations between them.

Wiscombe currently teaches design studio and applied studies at SCI-Arc, and is the coordinator of the school's applied studies curriculum. Read more about his work at

Elena Manferdini Installs Glass Façade for New LA County Medical Center

SCI-Arc design faculty Elena Manferdini kicked-off the New Year with the installation of her designs for the interior lobby and outdoor open space of the Zev Yaroslavsky San Fernando Valley Family Support Center in Van Nuys. Her design inspires a new personal vision for wellness through shifting the viewer’s point of view.

The glass is an example of painterly effects applied to the theatricality of the building façade.

Two years ago, Manferdini was selected by the LA County Arts Commission to design the lobby ceiling, relative indoor and outdoor floors and a glass façade that lead to the entry of the building. In January of this year, she installed the Center’s glass façade, which marks the project’s first phase.

The Zev Yaroslavsky San Fernando Valley Family Support Center is an architectural project designed by HKS that offers a new model of service delivery for the County of Los Angeles. Through the creation of this interdepartmental campus, the Center is designed to provide essential assessments, integrated services and referrals to clients of the Departments of Health Services, Mental Health, Public Social Services, Probation, Child Support and Children and Family Services. The building will be complete in the summer of 2015.

Elena Manferdini graduated from the University of Structural Engineering in Bologna, Italy with a professional degree in engineering and later from University of California Los Angeles with a Master in Architecture. In 2004, she founded Atelier Manferdini, an artist studio that has been recognized internationally for its ability to create new, distinctive and unique characters for public spaces by means of imaginative public art installations. In 2011, she was awarded a prestigious grant from the United States Artists (USA) Foundation for her achievements in architecture and design.

Manferdini currently teaches design studio and visual studies at SCI-Arc, and is the coordinator of the school's graduate thesis program. Read more about her work at

Anna Neimark Exhibits in Graham Foundation Group Show in Chicago

SCI-Arc design studio faculty Anna Neimark and partner Andrew Atwood of Los Angeles-based First Office are exhibiting their work in a Graham Foundation-hosted group show curated by designer Jimenez Lai. Hosted at the foundation’s Chicago headquarters, the exhibition Treatise: Why Write Alone? brings together fourteen young design offices to consider architectural treatise as a site for theoretical inquiry, experimentation and debate.

Shotgun House by First Office is on view at the Graham Foundation through March 28.

The project grew out of a recent Graham Foundation grant to Lai, whose interest in discursive practices and non-conformist approaches to architecture led him to ask his peers working in the realm of conceptual architecture: Why write? And, why write alone? In response to these questions, Treatise features more than 200 works, from drawings and models to multi-media installations, by design offices that utilize diverse—and often unexpected—strategies, forms and materials.

The show is complemented by a publication series, also titled Treatise, to be published in March 2015. Rather than a compilation or ongoing series, this set of single-authored treatises takes cues from the publication series Pamphlet Architecture as it originated in the 1970s under the direction of Steven Holl and William Stout. In contrast to Pamphlet Architecture, the Treatise project will publish all fourteen treatises at once in order to investigate the collective and individual stakes that emerge from assembling this temporary alliance. Both the complete set and individual volumes will be available for purchase online and in the Graham Foundation bookshop.

First Office is a Los Angeles–based architecture and design collaborative founded by Andrew Atwood and Anna Neimark. Built projects include a collaboration on the Pinterest office headquarters in San Francisco, a dome stage in Afghanistan, a temporary screening room at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, and the rehabilitation of a shotgun house in Lexington, Kentucky. Their work has been exhibited in the United States and abroad, including the Beijing Biennale, the Pacific Design Center, the WUHO Gallery, and the SCI-Arc Gallery in Los Angeles, among others.

Exhibiting in Treaties alongside First Office are design firms Bittertang (New York); Bureau Spectacular (Chicago); CAMES/Gibson (Chicago); Design With Company (Chicago); FAKE Industries (New York); Pieterjan Ginckels (Brussels, Belgium); is-office (Chicago); Andrew Kovacs (Los Angeles); Alex Maymind (Los Angeles); Normal Kelley (Chicago and New York); Point Supreme (Athens, Greece); SOFTlab (New York); and Young & Ayata (New York).

The Treatise exhibition will be on display through March 28, with a book launch scheduled on March 18. Read more about the show and publication at

SCI-Arc Alumni, Faculty and Trustees Honored with 2014 AIA LA Awards

The Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects this year is recognized several SCI-Arc faculty, alumni and trustees with prominent awards conferred at the institute’s annual gala in October. Hosted at the ACE Hotel on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, the ceremony incorporated local design and architecture journalists, academic and civic leaders as well as community movers and shakers.

SCI-Arc design faculty Tom Wiscombe, along with alumni Jeff Allsbrook (M.Arch ‘95) and Yianna Bouyioukou (B.Arch 01), crossed the stage to receive the institute’s prestigious 2014 Next LA Awards for unbuilt work. Wiscombe was recognized for his design of the Kinmen Passenger Service Center in Taiwan. Allsbrook and partner Sylvia Kuhle were recognized for their design of the garden-wrapped Salford Meadows Bridge, while Bouyioukou received an award for her Innovative Bioclimatic European School Complex.

Tom Wiscombe’s proposal for the Kinmen Passenger Service Center, Taiwan

Built work such as the Pico House designed by alumna Angela Brooks (M.Arch ‘91) and partner Lawrence Scarpa of Brooks+Scarpa received a 2014 AIA LA Design Awards. Additional alumni recognized with AIA LA Design Awards include Christof Jantzen (M.Arch ‘89) of Studio Jantzen for the City of Santa Monica Parking Structure #6, Miriam Mulder (M.Arch ‘83) of the City of Santa Monica for the Tongva Park + Ken Gensler Square developed together with James Corner Field Operations and Frederick Fischer & Partners; and Kevin Wronske (B.Arch ‘02) for his design of the Buzz Court apartment complex in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Alumna Jennifer Marmon (M.Arch ‘01) of Platform for Architecture + Research received AIA LA’s coveted Emerging Practice Award.

AIA LA’s 25-Year Award in 2014 went to SCI-Arc trustee Thom Mayne and longtime faculty and honorary trustee Michael Rotondi. Previous 25-year award recipients from SCI-Arc included Director Eric Owen Moss and Frank Gehry.

For a full list of awards and photos of the work, visit the AIA|LA website.

Michael Rotondi Awarded 2014 Richard J. Neutra Medal

Long-time architect and educator Michael Rotondi received the Richard J. Neutra Medal for Professional Excellence from the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona. Awarded annually, the Neutra medal rewards individuals who have dedicated their careers toward researching and developing new environments in which to work, live and play. “Michael Rotondi was selected for his commitment to architectural education, for the concern he shows in his work for society and the environment, and for the inventiveness of his architecture,” says SCI-Arc alumna Sarah Lorenzen (MRD ’04), who serves as associate professor and chair of the Department of Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona.

The Pacoima Neighborhood City Hall designed by ROTO Architects

Rotondi’s architectural work has included the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood, Silverlake Conservatory of Music, Liberty Wildlife center in Phoenix and the Prairie View A&M University School of Architecture. He has also made an impact as an architecture educator for the past 30 years, including at SCI-Arc, where he was a founding student, served as director of graduate studies from 1980 to 1987, and as the school’s director from 1987 to 1997. “Education paired with architecture is RoTo’s way. Michael is a great recipient of prestigious Neutra award, which is given to exceptional architects who take the profession to higher levels of artistry and creative thinking and building,” says SCI-Arc alumnus Orhan Ayyüce (B.Arch ‘81), a senior editor at Archinect.

Past recipients of the Neutra medal have included architectural practitioners, such as Raphael Soriano, Thom Mayne, Ray Kappe and Tadao Ando; landscape architecture practitioners, including Lawrence Halprin, Garrett Eckbo, Roberto Burle-Marx and Francis Dean; as well as individuals who have made notable contributions to environmental design and public policy such as former Vice President Al Gore. The medal has been awarded since 1980.

Spina’s Jujuy Redux Wins American Architecture Award

SCI-Arc design faculty Marcelo Spina and partner Georgina Huljich of Los Angeles-based P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, along with collaborators at MSA, have been selected to receive a 2014 American Architecture Award for their Jujuy Redux, a multi-family housing project in Rosario, Argentina. The prestigious American Architecture Award is a distinguished building award program that honors new and cutting-edge design by US-based architects.

P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S’ Jujuy Redux designs will be showcased in a special exhibition featuring the 65 award-winning buildings at the annual symposium "The City and the World" hosted at the Istanbul Design Biennale in Turkey, November 10-25.

Consisting of thirteen small, shared-floor units and a duplex organized in a cross-ventilated layout, the mid-rise apartment building proposes a subtle delineated mass, operating both at the scale of the entire volume and the scale of each apartment. The exhibition was organized by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, with a goal to help promote American architecture and design nationally and globally.

Read more about the project at

Alumna Receives AIA│LA 2014 Presidential Honor, International Architecture Award

SCI-Arc alumna Jennifer Marmon (M.Arch ‘01) is one of AIA│LA’s 2014 Presidential Honorees to be honored at the institute’s upcoming Design Awards Ceremony this October. Her design studio, PAR, short for Platform for Architecture + Research, is being recognized as an Emerging Practice pushing the boundaries of design innovation and advancing Los Angeles architecture. As Marmon describes it, “PAR is a platform for mixing keen analysis, formal exploration and pragmatic performance in an effort to realize project potentials.”

Clad in a translucent skin of fritted ETFE and high-performance glazing that encompasses roof, ceiling, wall and terrace, PAR's Taichung Cultural Center is oriented to optimize natural light and frame views of the nearby Taiwan Tower.

One of PAR’s recent projects, the Taichung Cultural Center in Taiwan, was met with critical acclaim, receiving an International Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum. In 2013, the Taichung city government invited architects to put forth their most daring visions for an expansive new cultural center. The tilted loop structure designed by PAR (shown here) sought to integrate the programmed elements of a library and a museum with an outdoor gallery and an open urban plaza. The structure’s form, replete with ramps and stairs that create connections throughout its stacked diagonal orientation, produces a dynamic space meant to attract curious passers-by who drift into the central plaza.

PAR has offices in Los Angeles (shown above) and New York City

Marmon, who founded PAR in Los Angeles after completing her master's degree at SCI-Arc, is currently at work on a hotel in Uruguay, houses in LA and DC, an art gallery in London and several international competitions. She has exhibited her work at the National Building Museum, the European Center for Architecture and the New York Center for Architecture. Since 2010, she serves as an ongoing visiting critic at SCI-Arc and USC. She has also been a guest critic at Harvard GSD and Columbia GSAPP, and a juror for the international WAN Awards competitions. Learn more about PAR at

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