Inside SCI-Arc

Emerging Systems and Technologies|Media (ESTm)

Master of Design Research - 1 YEAR (three terms)

About the program
SCI-Arc Robot House
Skills & Knowledge Integration
ESTm in the Context of SCI-Arc
Public Events, Competitions and Global Network
Visit the ESTm blog for Project News, Images & Videos
Applying/Contact Us

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About the program

SCI-Arc's Emerging Systems, Technologies & Media post-professional program, leading to the award of a Master of Design Research in Emerging Systems and Technologies|Media (M.DesR/ESTm), is a rigorous, experimental post-professional degree program focused on data-based and physical investigations into the rapidly evolving fields of digital design, innovative fabrication methodologies and new building systems. The program is positioned as a leading center for advanced research into emerging materials, robotics and sustainable engineering. The ESTm program is open to applicants who have already completed a professional degree in Architecture, or its equivalent abroad.

Focused on the status of architectural design within the context of rapidly evolving digital design, fabrication, and material technologies, the ESTm program cultivates live prototyping, original scholarship, and design investigations. Operating as an innovation center and design research laboratory, the ESTm program works in partnership with a wide range of industry and institutional leaders.

Testing new levels of environmental performance that will be the basis for experimental design practice in the 21st century, the M.DesR/ESTm program prepares its students to successfully integrate formal, technical, logistical, and material processes into advanced architectural design. It is open to graduates in architecture, engineering, product design, and computer sciences who wish to develop advanced research and design skills in the context of emerging materials and new production paradigms, such as robotics and sustainable engineering. Over the course of one year of study, students are encouraged to imaginatively define next-generation architecture in the form of specific projects, structural morphologies, and advanced material/construction systems.

SCI-Arc ESTm Graduate Thesis – SYNchronous Objectives.

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The ESTm program is founded on a curricular structure that integrates emerging building and systems design considerations while also addressing the "sustainable" building revolution in a unique context tied to the most advanced formal and aesthetic approaches in architectural design. The program curriculum includes academic investigations and applied research across the following fields:

  • Advanced Composite Materials
  • Computational Geometry
  • Concept Modeling
  • Digital Prototyping and Simulation
  • Generative Design
  • Robotic Fabrication and Construction
  • Structural Morphology
  • Sustainable Engineering
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SCI-Arc Robot House

The M.DesR/ESTm program will take advantage of the newly launched SCI-Arc Robot House, made possible through generous grants from Staubli Robotics and the Fletcher Jones Foundation. The double-height, 1,000-square-foot lab is a research space for hands-on collaborative experimentation, advanced multi-robotic fabrication, and exploration of architectural agency. Its multi-robot platform includes six state-of-the-art Stäubli robots, each with a full sphere of motion, which operate together in one flexible configuration—a multi-robot work cell.

The Robot House offers a new design interface extending beyond a production facility. It creates unprecedented emulation, simulation and animation environments in which computational geometry, material agency and fabrication logistics merge.

SCI-Arc's new robotics facility, complemented by a robotics simulation component, provides a new type of design environment that pushes beyond the current production-based robotics labs in place at other architecture schools. Together, the robot room and the robotics simulation room will launch a new digital and material interface—a research environment in which real-time data generated from digital design and materials fabrication is analyzed and processed simultaneously.

More about the SCI-Arc Robot House

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Skills & Knowledge Integration

The trajectory of the M.DesR/ESTm program allows students to pursue design and technology positions in architecture firms and opens a host of new career tracks in allied fields, including cutting-edge civil engineering; building systems design (an emerging field to which this program can make significant contributions); product design; and infrastructure design within large engineering and architecture conglomerates that are global players. It also supports the development of cutting-edge independent practices.

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The MDesR/ESTm Program in the Context of SCI-Arc

Widely regarded as one of the top contemporary architecture schools in the world, SCI-Arc educates architects and designers who will imagine and shape the future of our built environment and the way we live and interact. Less concerned with identifying design and construction trends, SCI-Arc's academic programs emphasize experimental approaches to new materials, concepts, and fabrication methods.

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Public Events, Competitions & Global Network

The M.DesR/ESTm program promotes and extends its academic mission nationally and internationally via publications, public forums, exhibitions, and competitions. Additionally, it draws on the expertise of an extensive global network of peers established to support its mission.

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Applying/Contact Us

ESTm is open to applicants who have already completed a professional degree in Architecture (B.Arch), or its equivalent abroad.

The early decision deadline for Fall 2014 admission into the MDesR ESTm post-professional program is March 1, 2014. Regular admissions deadline is April 15, 2014. Late applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The application for the MDesR ESTm post-professional program is available ONLINE.

Please mail all supporting materials to:

SCI-Arc Admissions Office
960 E. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
213.613.2200 x320

For more information about the MDesR ESTm post-professional degree program or to schedule an informational interview, please contact SCI-Arc's Admissions Office at or 213 356 5320.


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Contact us at 213.356.5320, or


Marcelo Spina
Program Coordinator
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Hernan Diaz Alonso
Graduate Programs Chair
Principal, Xefirotarch

Marcelyn Gow
Principal, Servo Los Angeles

Elena Manferdini
Principal, Atelier Manferdini

Marcelo Spina
Principal, Patterns

Peter Testa
Principal, Testa & Weiser

Tom Wiscombe
Principal, Emergent


Brian H.

"I think the most exciting thing about architecture is that it is extremely multifaceted—especially as an academic pursuit. It provides opportunities to explore both very broad territories and very specific niches in the same arena, all of which affect each other in some way." Read more >>

Peter V.

"It's fascinating to build...and to destroy! At SCI-Arc, we all share a certain curiosity for capital A, Architecture, a will to build, and of course to discuss this whole process. " Read more >>

Francisco Javier M.

"It's amazing to build, and to change things!"