Inside SCI-Arc


Layer LA Alumnae Unveil New WeHo Installation

Alumnae Emily White (M.Arch 2 ‘06) and Lisa Little (M.Arch ‘06), co-principals of Layer LA, will present their installation, the Three Horned Beast, at Plummer Park in West Hollywood on Saturday, March 15. The powder-coated aluminum structure will be unveiled during a ceremony hosted from 10am to noon by WeHo’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission.

Three Horned Beast installation at Plummer Park in West Hollywood

White holds an M.Arch degree from SCI-Arc and a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College. She has lectured and published on topics ranging from manufactured islands to the history of code in fibrous architecture. Her work has been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries. She has taught design studios at the University of Southern California, the University of California at Berkeley and Woodbury University.

Little holds an M.Arch from SCI-Arc and a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Little worked as an associate at Patrick Tighe Architecture for three years, and prior to that, she was a designer in the office of Pugh + Scarpa Architects. At these firms she worked on retail, affordable housing, and single-family residential and commercial projects. Previously, she was the director of the Flame and Inferno software development team at software developer Discreet Logic and a hardware design engineer at Abekas Video Systems, developing hardware systems for film and television post production.

Read more about the event >>

Tampa Based Alumnus Takes Design to New Heights

SCI-Arc alumnus Ross-Alan Tisdale (M.Arch ‘06) didn’t always dream of becoming an architect. Fueled by a lifelong passion to be an astronaut, he started college as a cadet in the U.S. Air Force Academy. While on hiatus from the Academy, he went to Yale University, where a series of architectural history classes he took with Prof. Vincent Scully sparked his interest in architecture. It wasn’t long before he decided to switch to architecture as a full-time interest and enroll in the university’s Bachelor of Architecture program.

After graduating from Yale, Tisdale worked in the Albuquerque offices of Antoine Predock, FAIA and spent several years with an architectural and engineering firm in Boston. In 2003, his pursuit of architecture landed him in the Master of Architecture program at SCI-Arc, where his research and explorations focused on architecture that can look both forward and back.

Seagrape House, Anna Maria Island, Fla., Designed by Traction Architecture

He also never gave up on his childhood dream. In turn, he transformed it into reality by marrying his architectural expertise with research into the exploratory field of space architecture—loosely defined as design to support human habitation outside the confines of planet Earth. Tisdale worked at the NASA Ames Research Center designing human habitation for the Moon, and had his work published in the first textbook on space architecture—Out of This World – The New Field of Space Architecture.

In 2012, Tisdale joined his wife and SCI-Arc alumna Jody Beck, AIA (M.Arch ‘06), whom he met while at SCI-Arc, in heading a joint architecture practice, Traction Architecture, founded by Beck a couple of years prior. Based in Tampa, Florida, their architectural office focuses on both residential and commercial designs, and has recently received a Design Honor Award from AIA’s Tampa Bay Chapter.

Traction’s work has been featured by Wall Street Journal and Sarasota Magazine, and their recently completed beachfront Seagrape House (shown here) located on Anna Maria Island, Fla. has been awarded LEED Platinum certification.

Tisdale talks about his work in the field of space architecture and his expertise in designing storm resilient structures in an interview published this month on the AIA website. For more about his practice, visit

Alumni, Faculty Celebrate LA Architecture On the Road

Los Angeles is a city developed around and defined by houses rather than large architectural monuments. The singular residential unit is an elastic object, having long nurtured experimental pursuits and critical inquiry. This coming Sunday, November 17, the third installment of On the Road, a yearlong series of architecture, art and design programs, involves a participatory event intended to frame a moment in time within the contemporary context of city of Los Angeles.

For this event, On the Road organizers invited a group of artists and designers, including several SCI-Arc faculty and alumni, to each select a house located west of downtown Los Angeles, to engage with and respond to through the medium of drawing. These drawings have been reproduced in a standard 4”x6” postcard and will be placed inside each house’s mailbox on the morning of November 17.

A map highlighting the locations of these homes (linked here) acts as an invitation for visitors to navigate the various sites from 10am-4pm on Sunday and collect the postcards. The public will move at will between some or all of the sites, pulling postcards from the various mailboxes and curating their own collection—simultaneously engaging both the physical and representational object of the house.

The day’s event will culminate in a discussion about contemporary modes of communication within architectural production, featuring design faculty Heather Flood and moderated by Hammer Museum curatorial fellow Ellen Donnelly. The talk, starting 4pm, will take place at 6114 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles.

SCI-Arc faculty and alumni participating in the event include Heather Flood (M.Arch ‘04), Heather Peterson (M.Arch ‘04), Mark Ericson (M.Arch ‘06), and Wendy Gilmartin (M+M ‘02). Artists Bryne Rasmussen-Smith, Jaime Kowal, Leon Henderson Jr. and Maya Santos of FORM follows FUNCTION will capture and ultimately tell the story of the evening’s activities through photographs and video projects.

For more information about the event, visit

SCI-Arc Alumni, Faculty and Trustees Honored with 2013 AIA LA Awards

The Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects has again recognized several SCI-Arc faculty, alumni and trustees with prominent awards conferred at the institute's annual gala in October. Held at the Broad Stage Theater at the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center, the ceremony incorporated local design and architecture journalists, academic and civic leaders as well as community movers and shakers.

SCI-Arc design faculty Elena Manferdini was honored with the institute’s prestigious 2013 Educator Award, which has been conferred in previous years to Graduate Programs Chair Hernan Diaz Alonso, and to SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss.

The Building Blocks system proposed by Hodgetts+Fung offers the programmatic elements needed to construct a school

Next LA Awards for unbuilt work went to Craig Hodgetts and SCI-Arc Director of Academic Affairs Ming Fung, principals of Los Angeles based Hodgetts+Fung for Building Blocks (shown above), a modular classroom infrastructure designed for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Next LA Awards were also conferred to Angela Brooks (M.Arch ‘91) and partner Lawrence Scarpa of Brooks + Scarpa for their Interfaith Chapel at University of North Florida, and to Iris Anna Regn (M.Arch ‘94) and partner Tim Durfee for their L.A. Frame House.

AIA's Building Team of the Year award recognized the team behind the LAX: Tom Bradley International Terminal/CTA Renovation Phase 1, , which included the AECOM team featuring SCI-Arc alumni Carlos Madrid III (M.Arch ’95), project designer; Jed Zimmerman (B.Arch ‘87), principal in charge; and Yan Wang (M.Arch ‘06), design team.

St. Thomas the Apostle School designed by Griffin Enright Architects was completed in 2010

Built work such as the St. Thomas the Apostle School (shown here) designed by SCI-Arc Undergraduate Programs Chair John Enright and design faculty Margaret Griffin of Griffin Enright Architects received a 2013 AIA LA Design Award for excellence, along with two projects by Brooks + Scarpa, the Metalsa Center for Manufacturing Innovation and the CAM Museum of Art, the L House designed by alumni Cara Lee (M.Arch ‘96) and Stephan Mundwiler (M.Arch ‘95) of Lee + Mundwiler, and the Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery designed by alumnus Jeffrey Allsbrook (M.Arch ‘95) and partner Silvia Kuhle of Standard. SCI-Arc trustee Thom Mayne received two Design Awards, one for the Perot Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas, and the second for designing LA’s biggest net-zero office for his very own Culver City-based practice, Morphosis.

AIA LA’s 25-Year Award for 2013 went to SCI-Arc honorary trustee Frank Gehry for his design of the California Space Museum. The institute’s Community Contribution Award went to alumni Hadley Soutter Arnold (M.Arch ‘97) and Peter Arnold (M.Arch ‘94) for their Arid Lands Institute established at Woodbury University. Presidential honorees this year included, among others, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, artist James Turrell and LACMA CEO Michael Govan.

For a full list of winner, click here.

Alumna Jennifer Siegal Featured in Microtopia Film

SCI-Arc alumna Jennifer Siegal (M.Arch ’94), principal of Office of Mobile Design, is featured in a new documentary by international Swedish filmmaker Jesper Wachtmeister. A film about micro dwellings, downsizing and living off the grid, Wachtmeister’s Microtopia examines modern alternative dwellings and mobile lifestyles.

Jennifer Siegal's Joshua Tree PreFab House, portrayed in Microtopia, is a 900 square-feet get-away-from-it-all weekend house that sits in an expansive desert environment

The film profiles Siegal’s first prototype for prefab dwelling, the Joshua Tree PreFab House, a fully functional mobile dwelling that also embodies responsible, sustainable, and aesthetically beautiful design.

Microtopia has already received international acclaim, drawing attention to current trends in dwellings and use of space, as well as looking to the future for the impact and influence design will have on lifestyles and resources. You can watch a preview of the film here.

Currently, Siegal is working on developing a mobile retail environment in Seoul, Korea.

More about Office of Mobile Design >>

Alumnus Adds Fresh Perspective to KCRW DnA Show

SCI-Arc alumnus Guy Horton (M.Arch '06) was recently picked by KCRW to be one of its new Design Journalists for DnA: Design & Architecture, produced and hosted by Frances Anderton. He will be contributing writing and on-air segments to the show and podcast. His first aired interview was with Denise Scott Brown.

Horton is a Los Angeles writer and author of the critical blog, The Indicator on, which covers issues ranging from the culture, politics, and business of architecture to theory and aesthetics. He is a frequent contributor to The Architect’s Newspaper, The Atlantic Cities, Metropolis Magazine, Architectural Record, Architect Magazine, and GOOD Magazine. He holds an M.Arch from SCI-Arc and formerly studied in the humanities, pursuing a Ph.D in modern Chinese literature and theory at UCLA.

Installation Publishes SCI-Arc@40 Special Feature

The recently published Architecture & Design issue from Installation Magazine, a weekly publication for the iPad and iPhone, includes an exceptional profile on SCI-Arc and several of the school's alumni from the past four decades who have significantly contributed to the advancement of the profession.

In one of its most ambitious weekly issues to date, Installation celebrates the school's tradition of architectural experimentation with an interactive “Discover SCI-Arc@40” anniversary timeline of notable alumni, including images of some of their most radical projects providing new responses to the real needs and aspirations of today's world. The issue offers readers an opportunity to look back at the accomplishments of the school and to look ahead to the creative minds that inspire and shape the future, in Los Angeles and around the world.

Among alumni featured are Rania Alomar (M.Arch ’97), Jeffrey Allsbrook (M.Arch ’95), Matthew Au (M.Arch ’11), Annie Chu (B.Arch ’82) and Rick Gooding (B.Arch ’84), Samson Chua (M.Arch ’02), Tiffany Shaw-Collinge (M.Arch ’12), Benjamin Ball (B.Arch ’03) and Gaston Nogues (B.Arch ’93), Barbara Bestor (M.Arch ’92), Eric Cheong (M.Arch ’05), Joe Day (M.Arch ’94), Michael Folonis (B.Arch ’79), Adam Goldstein (M.Arch ’01), David Hertz (B.Arch ’83), Hyon Cara Lee (M.Arch ’96) and Stephan Mundwilder (M.Arch ’95), Christopher Mercier (M.Arch ’91), Dean Nota (B.Arch '76), Matthew Rosenberg (M.Arch ’09), F.Myles Sciotto (M.Arch ’09), Nick Seierup (B.Arch ’79), Liz von Hasseln (M.Arch ’12) and Kyle von Hasseln (M.Arch ’12), and Kevin Wronske (B.Arch ’02).

A weekly curated arts and lifestyle publication, Installation is available for the iPad and iPhone, and can be downloaded at the Apple Store. Its Architecture + Design issue can be downloaded at

Alumni Win 2013 National AIA Honors Award for Interior Architecture

Alumna-led firm RA-DA has won the 2013 National AIA Institute Honors Award for Interior Architecture. Principal Rania Alomar (MArch ’97), together with fellow alumni Sofia Ames (M.Arch ’97) and Jesse Madrid (B.Arch ’08) were awarded an AIA honor for their design of Doc Magic–the offices of a Torrance, Calif. based technology company.

Doc Magic, Torrance, Calif │ RA-DA │ Photo by Ralf Strathmann

The project features strategic use of light in the interior corridors of the building to epitomize the blur between the physical and virtual world.

"We approach each of our projects with a goal of exploring and implementing something new. It often takes us a while to reach the solution that we settle upon," says Alomar. "For Doc Magic, we wanted to convey the company's virtual presence in a physical reality—we envisioned it as a "fuzzy space."

For more information on Doc Magic and RA-DA, see the full article on the AIA website or visit

A slideshow with project images is available at

Alumni Council Launches Competition for 40th Anniversary Exhibition Design

On April 11th, one winning entry in the 40/40 installation design competition launched earlier this week by the SCI-Arc Alumni Council Media & Exhibits Committee will occupy the lobby space of the Farmers and Merchants Bank in downtown Los Angeles and serve as a canvas to depict SCI-Arc alumni work during April’s Downtown LA Art Walk.

Dubbed 40/40, the installation will celebrate SCI-Arc’s original 40 founding students and the school’s 40 years of operation, while at the same time honoring the work of over 4,000 alumni that have since passed through the school.

The competition for the design, management and construction of this installation is open to SCI-Arc alumni only. Submission deadline is March 8, 2013.
Click HERE to visit the competition page.

The exhibition will also be reinstalled at SCI-Arc as the centerpiece of the Alumni Lounge during the school’s 40th anniversary celebration weekend held April 19th-20th. More about the 40th anniversary is available at

Alumna, New Theme Principal Combines Work with Play

SCI-Arc alumna Beth Holden (B.Arch ’98), principal of Los Angeles-based NEW THEME, kept busy in 2012 working on her widely-publicized, 6,200-sq.ft. Hollywood Hills residence redesign for renowned photographer Jill Greenberg. Featured in last fall's AIA│LA Home Tours, the Greenberg residence invited acclaim from several architectural publications and is currently featured in Angeleno Interiors—where it also graces the cover.

New Theme │ Greenberg Residence │ Hollywood Hills, 2012

In addition to her client-driven projects, Holden and her husband, Wolfgang Melian, acquired and remodeled their NEW THEME studio space, combining it with a storefront art gallery. The space showcases exhibitions from local artists and features their own custom-designed furniture built locally in their North Hollywood shop. The two are currently building a calendar of exhibitions for 2013—the first of which will feature personal works of architectural photographer Ethan Pines.

Despite Holden's involvement in a wide array of ongoing projects, she has still found time to "play," which in her case meant the design of a state-of-the-art playhouse affectionately named La Folie. The Hayvenhurst Folie was conceptualized after Holden completed a restoration of the main Hayvenhurst residence in 2010, and is currently featured in Standard Magazine.

For more information about Holden and NEW THEME, visit

This content requires the Adobe Flash Player. Get Flash