Inside SCI-Arc

Emerging Systems, Technologies & Media (ESTm)

Master of Design Research - 1 YEAR (3 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 post-professional program Emerging Systems, Technologies & Media, leading to the award of a Master of Design Research degree, is a rigorous, experimental 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. It is open to applicants who have already completed a professional degree in Architecture, or its equivalent abroad.

ESTm is focused on the status of architectural design within the context of rapidly evolving digital design, fabrication, and material technologies. It cultivates live prototyping, original scholarship, and design investigations, operating as an innovation center and design research laboratory, while at the same time working 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 ESTm prepares 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 a year, students are encouraged to imaginatively define next-generation architecture in the form of specific projects, structural morphologies, and advanced material/construction systems.

ESTm Seminar: Squished II, SCI-Arc Robot House (Spring 2014)

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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 ESTm program takes full advantage of the SCI-Arc Robot House, a research space for hands-on collaborative experimentation, advanced multi-robotic fabrication, and exploration of architectural agency. The lab includes six state-of-the-art Stäubli robots, each with a full sphere of motion, which operate together in one flexible configuration. 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.

More about the SCI-Arc Robot House

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Skills & Knowledge Integration

The trajectory of the 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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ESTm 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

ESTm 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 with an extensive background in architecture and/or related fields.

The deadline to apply for Fall 2016 admission into the MDesR ESTm post-professional program is January 15, 2016. Late applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The admission 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

For more info about ESTm or to schedule an informational interview, please contact the Admissions Office at or 213 356 5320.

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Click below to download the SCI-Arc Viewbook

Contact us at 213.356.5320, or Request Information.


Marcelo Spina
Program Coordinator
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Hernan Diaz Alonso
Principal, Xefirotarch

Tom Wiscombe
Undergraduate Program Chair
Principal, Tom Wiscombe Architecture

Marcelyn Gow
Principal, Servo Los Angeles

Elena Manferdini
Principal, Atelier Manferdini

Marcelo Spina
Principal, Patterns

Peter Testa
Principal, Testa & Weiser

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!"