Inside SCI-Arc


Darin Johnstone Showcases Art Center South Campus Drawings in New Exhibition, Drawn Out/Light Mass

A drawing exhibition and installation at the Art Center College of Design celebrates the coming opening of the school’s newly renovated South Campus building with an installation by SCI-Arc design faculty Darin Johnstone, the architect in charge of the six-month renovation and expansion project. The new building provides new space for the school’s Fine Arts and Illustration departments, among other state-of-the-art facilities. Classes have been held there since project completion in January. The official building opening reception scheduled June 19, starting 6:30pm, will feature tours of both the exhibition and the new building.

Dubbed Drawn Out/Light Mass, the installation will be on view at Art Center’s Atrium Galleries at 870 Raymond Street in Pasadena through August 15.

The installation describes the newest addition to the Art Center campus through architectural drawings, extending the building design with a full-scale architectural installation.

An architect and educator with twenty years of experience in the field of architecture and more than a decade spent educating young architects, Johnstone founded Los Angeles-based Darin Johnstone Architecture in 2004. His work engages architecture as an overarching discipline, tackling a wide range of design challenges, including architecture, urban planning, landscape design, interior design, furniture design, and graphic design. Another recent project by Johnstone is the redesign of EightyTwo, a popular arcade bar located in downtown LA’s Arts District.

At SCI-Arc, Johnstone teaches both design studio and visual studies seminars. He also coordinates Design Immersion Days, the school’s annual summer program for high school students, now in its fourth year. Starting fall 2014, Johnstone will spearhead a new partnership between SCI-Arc, the County of Los Angeles and Habitat for Humanity to help design and build affordable and sustainable homes in Los Angeles County.

For more information about Darin Johnstone Architecture, visit

Design Faculty Erick Carcamo Leads Advanced Architectural Design Workshops in Greece, Austria

SCI-Arc design faculty Erick Carcamo and partner Nefeli Chatzimina of X|Atelier are at work this summer organizing three international intensive workshops of advanced architectural design. Themed Functionless, X|A’s 2014 summer workshops will be organized by the two principals in Athens, Greece, as well as in Innsbruck, Austria.

The first two workshops will be held in Athens during June 30-July 11 and July 14-July 25 respectively, being organized under the auspices of the Hellenic Institute of Architecture and the Athens School of Fine Arts. The third workshop will be hosted at the University of Innsbruck from July 28-August 7. Participants will attend computation design workshops, academic lectures, final reviews and and a final exhibition at Benaki Museum, and at the University of Innsbruck respectively.

As part of an ongoing academic research, X|A workshops provoke participants to contemporary discussions of formal exploration in Architecture and Art. Through technical attainment of design and digital production, the X|A workshops give students the opportunity to challenge new design territories, with a goal to explore innovative, potential architectural expressions of the current discourse around form through computational tools such as Autodesk and MAYA.

Founded in 2007, X|Atelier is an architectural practice based in the use of multi-layered experimental techniques and production processes. Both principals hold a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and have graduated from SCI-Arc and N.T.U. Athens respectively. Their teaching expertise extends to SCI-Arc, University of Southern California, Columbia University, Yale SOA, UPenn, Pratt Institute, University of Kentucky, Die Angewandte, N.T.U. Athens and LTH in Sweden. X|A’s work has been internationally published and exhibited at galleries in New York, Los Angeles, London, Lexington and Barcelona. Their working experience is held in the offices of Bernard Tschumi Architects in New York, CoopHimmelb(l)au in Vienna, Asymptote NYC and Xefirotarch LA.

For more information, visit

SCI-Arc Robot House Demo on View at Rob│Arch 2014

As more and more architecture schools around the world are “arming” themselves with robots, the 2014 edition of Rob│Arch, hosted by the Association for Robots in Architecture between May 14-18th at the University of Michigan, provided robotics instructors with an open platform for introducing their latest projects.

The SCI-Arc Robot House team's demo of a live updating program involved two Stäubli TX60L industrial robots which were set up in the faculty research space at University of Michigan through the entire duration of the conference. Designed and programmed by SCI-Arc Robot House coordinator Jake Newsum, robotics researcher Curime Batliner (ESTm ‘11) and graduate student Nikita Troufanov (ESTm ‘14), the demo used Grasshopper to program and manipulate the two robots.

Visitors were invited to interact with the robots and modify their path in real time, while the general public also had an opportunity to observe the robots in action during the conference’s closing ceremony on Sunday, May 18.

Also at the event, Newsum in collaboration with Ammar Kalo of the University of Michigan presented their research into robotic incremental sheet metal forming as a method for prototyping parametric architectural skins. A paper documenting their work is included in the Rob│Arch 2014 subsequent publication, Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art & Design 2014 (Springer, 2014). The two researchers were awarded the KUKA Young Potential Award for the best scientific paper presented by a young researcher at Rob│Arch 2014.

ESTm post-graduate student Nikita Troufanov joined the team from SCI-Arc courtesy of a special grant awarded by conference organizers in partnership with ABB Robotics. As part of the selection process, he submitted a chapter from his Anisotropic Formations proto-architectural project developed in a SCI-Arc studio last fall, which mixes robotics with vector-based 3D printing.

Robot House Student Project on View at Arch Record Innovation Conference in Los Angeles

Architectural Record’s acclaimed Innovation Conference will be hosted for the first time in Los Angeles on May 21 at the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. Themed “Breakthrough: Design at the Intersection of Art, Science and Technology,” the event brings together influential designers including SCI-Arc trustee Thom Mayne, visiting faculty Michel Rojkind, architects Jeanne Gang and Thomas Phifer, multimedia artist Doug Aitken, and landscape architect Walter Hood, among others, in panel discussions addressing topics ranging from the integration of contemporary art, technology and design, to the merging of landscape and architecture, to the growing influence of Mexico’s architects.

LA architecture schools SCI-Arc, UCLA and USC have been invited to each exhibit a student project on the garden terrace of the Concert Hall, where attendees will be gathering in-between sessions. Students from the “Squished II: Supercomponents and Metaseams” seminar led by SCI-Arc design faculty Tom Wiscombe, with Robot House coordinator Jake Newsum and robotics researcher Curime Batliner, will exhibit a robot lab project exploring the renewed relevance of the joint and the seam in contemporary composite construction.

Black Seams, Nikita Troufanov, Brennen Huller, Cheng Lu, Squished II Seminar
SCI-Arc Robot House, Spring 2014

Wiscombe’s seminar looked at traditional Japanese wood carpentry for its complex, structural joinery free of hardware, as a model for building with large, lightweight composite super-components. The goal was to produce alternatives to the homogenizing, and often operationally unattainable, smoothness associated with composite tectonics. Robots were used to fit and fasten components together, using multi-step processes involving locking, keying, friction-fitting, and gluing. Ultimately, the class explored the scaling-up of components to massive sizes, and imagined new methods of construction sequencing and delivery that would support this new way of building.

Tickets and more information about the Architectural Record event are available at

SCI-Arc to Host 2014 Regional Session for Mayors’ Institute on City Design

Following a nationwide selection process, SCI-Arc was announced as a regional partner and host of one of three regional sessions presented this year by the Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD). The school will organize a two-day design workshop where eight mayors from the West region will convene in a closed-door session with a team of interdisciplinary design professionals to discuss design and development issues that each participating city is currently facing.

The invited mayors will represent a diversity of cities and bring a wide variety of design issues to the table. The resource team, led by SCI-Arc faculty David Bergman and Heather Flood, will include members ranging from architects and planners to public policy specialists, developers, preservationists, lawyers, landscape architects, transportation planners, and housing experts, as well as practicing professionals and distinguished academics. Each mayor will present a design issue from his or her city to be analyzed by the other mayors and the design professionals, who will then propose design solutions to help solve the problem.

The conference is supported by funding from the American Architectural Foundation through the MICD Partnership. The Mayors’ Institute on City Design is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors with support from United Technologies Corporation. It is designed to foster an understanding of and appreciation for the role of design in urban centers, and the importance of mayors as advocates for good design. Regional sessions—hosted in the South, Northeast, and West—are geared towards mid-to-small-sized cities, the institute format encouraging a high degree of participation and exchange, sparking lively debate, opening new perspectives, and leading to creative proposals for how contemporary civic design can help create more vibrant and livable cities. This conference is supported by funding from the American Architectural Foundation through the MICD Partnership. The Mayors’ Institute on City Design is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors with support from United Technologies Corporation.

The other two MICD regional partners selected this year are Syracuse University School of Architecture and the Florida Center for Community Design and Research (FCCDR) at the University of South Florida.

More info about MICD is available at

SCI-Arc Welcomes Parents to Campus

The last week in August marked a successful beginning to SCI-Arc’s 41st year. Over 180 new students were welcomed to the school during the three day orientation. Friday, August 30th concluded orientation week with a welcome reception for parents followed by a whole-school reception.

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Parents joined the event from all regions of the globe, including: Canada, Greece, Korea, Lebanon, India, Venezuela, and Spain—no surprise given the impressive international makeup of SCI-Arc’s student body. Directors were on hand at the event to welcome families to SCI-Arc and offer the opportunity to learn more about the school.

Moss Speaks at Berlin International Architectural Education Summit 2013
SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss will address new directions in architecture education at the 3rd International Architectural Education Summit (IAES) held Sept 13-14th in Berlin.

Organized by ANCB The Metropolitan Laboratory in partnership with UCLA Architecture and the IE School of Architecture, Madrid, the summit will focus on the acute issues at the intersection of three thematic panels: “The Role of Alternative Architecture Education Platforms,” “Interdisciplinary Strategies in Architecture Education” and “Collaboration between Architecture Education and Non-Academic Partners.”

Participants include: Hithosi Abe, UCLA; Beatriz Colomina, Princeton University; Marcos Cruz, The Bartlett School of Architecture; Winka Dubbeldam, University of Pennsylvania School of Design; Nikolaus Hirsch, Städelschule, Frankfurt; Winy Maas, Delft University of Technology; Motte Ramsgaard Thomsen, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts; Michael Speaks, Syracuse University; Martha Thorne, IE School of Architecture, Madrid; Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Tokyo Institute of Technology; Sarah Whiting, Rice University; Mark Wigley, Columbia University GSAPP; and Xu Weiguo, Tsinghua University, Beijing.

More about IAES >>

Faculty, Alumni Contribute to New Architectural Journal
The second edition of Project, a journal founded by SCI-Arc faculty Jonah Rowen, includes several pieces by faculty and alumni including Andrew Zago, Joe Day (M.Arch ’94), visiting faculty Peter Trummer, Albert Pope (B.Arch ’78) and Jason Payne (B.Arch ’94).

The publication investigates the idea of a project in architecture—that is, the pursuit of an intellectual problem or critical agenda that transcends an architect’s individual works.

Project is available for purchase at and at the
SCI-Arc Store.

“Fractal Projections” Showcases Alumni Work at DTLA Artwalk

In conjunction with the school’s 40th anniversary, the SCI-Arc Alumni Council sponsored a competition for the design, management, and construction of “40/40”—an installation of alumni work from 40 graduating classes, aspiring to honor over 4,000 alumni that have attended the school.

Eugene Kosgoron and Evelina Sausina in front of "Fractal Projections"

The winning entry, “Fractal Projection” by recent alums Evelina Sausina (B.Arch ’11) and Eugene Kosgoron (M.DesR ’12), was deemed by the council to be the most original, appropriate and responsive to the site. "The design was meant to re-connect the past and the present," says Kosgoron. "The past is imitated by a cube which represents the general assumption in the industry that expects us to build boxes, while the projected images, combined with the lighting effect, represent current trends at SCI-Arc."

Engagement with the audience was a key intention of the exhibition's design. On view in the Farmers and Merchants Bank building on Main Street during April's Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk, the interactive installation drew hundreds spectators.

"The installation engages the audience through its reflective surfaces," says Sausina. "The walk-through sliver in the cube shows the audience refracted illusions of themselves, creating a heavily animated environment that is tangible and yet evokes the ethereal."

Alumni Council Chairwoman Cara Lee (M.Arch '96) regarded the competition and exhibition as extremely successful in introducing SCI-Arc and alumni work to the Los Angeles community. "This was a unique opportunity for SCI-Arc alumni across generations to collaborate on a project that showcases SCI-Arc and the talent of its alumni. Hopefully this will be the first of many opportunities," added Lee.

SCI-Arc Robot and Wild Cards Featured at San Francisco ACADIA Conference

Robot House faculty members Brandon Kruysman (ESTm ‘11) and Jonathan Proto (ESTm ‘11), traveled to San Francisco in October together with the lab’s Staubli TX60L 'baby robot' for a day-long workshop on 5-axis robotic fabrication held at the ACADIA 2012 Synthetic Digital Ecologies conference. Focused on technical and creative applications using robots, the workshop featured a demonstration of the custom robot control plugin for Maya developed by Kruysman and Proto at SCI-Arc.

On view during the 2012 ACADIA weekend was the Wild Cards exhibition at the California College of the Arts, which explored ideas of leveraging material and materiality as a 'wild card' in the design process. Contrary to many recent digital design processes where emergent complexity is internalized in a controlled model, in this exhibition materials and material properties act as wild cards: "objects of low probability, but high impact." Modes of control and precision were questioned through the unpredictability of materiality, recombined with digital techniques and precision. Approaches to craft and fabrication, previously focused on precision and control, were reconceived as techniques opened to play, fluctuation and erratic behavior. An intentionally vulnerable position, these projects relinquish design agency in order to embrace risk and material propensity.

Exhibiting SCI-Arc faculty and alumni included Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu of Oyler Wu Collaborative, Elena Manferdini of Atelier Manferdini, Brandon Kruysman (ESTm ‘11) and Jonathan Proto (ESTm ‘11) of Kruysman│Proto, and Benjamin Ball (B.Arch ‘03) and Gaston Nogues (B.Arch ‘94) of Ball-Nogues Studio.

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