SCI-Arc Viewbook

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The Southern California Institute of Architecture, SCI-Arc, 2015/2016 online viewbook.

Detailed information about curriculum, faculty, application requirements, facilities and upcoming events can be found at

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Degree Programs

The Southern California Institute of Architecture offers undergraduate — Bachelor of Architecture — and graduate degree programs — Master of Architecture 1 and Master of Architecture 2. As well as four postgraduate degrees, known as SCI-Arc Edge, The Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture.

During the summer, SCI-Arc offers a four-week program for high school students — Design Immersion Days (DID) — and Making+Meaning, a five-week college level, intensive introductory program that explores design through experimental architecture.

SCI-Arc's undergraduate program is aimed at educating the next generation of young architects who will lead the discipline as designers, and who will inherently question the status quo while searching for new models of architectural inquiry. A fluid and holistic approach to architectural education is achieved through an emphasis on a wide range of conceptual and practical skills, from critical thinking to technical expertise. Advanced digital technologies and fabrication methods permeate the program, taking advantage of SCI-Arc's Fabrication Shop, which includes state-of-the-art equipment ranging from 3D printers, CNC mills, and vacuum-forming machines, to traditional forms of metal and wood working, to sophisticated automation and robotics. Parallel paths of the program feed the design studio as a platform for the synthesis of the curriculum. Design Studios, Cultural Studies, Applied Studies, General Studies and Visual Studies are all crafted to develop a rigorous awareness and knowledge of the discipline while understanding their inherent inter- relationships and bridging between these topics as students sequence through their five years of study.

The M.Arch 1 program is a three-year degree open to applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in any field of study. Rather than focus on a single ideology, methodology or technique, the M.Arch 1 program presents a broad range of approaches to the discipline of architecture, encouraging cross-pollination from other fields of study in a critical manner. Students are introduced to a more critical view of contemporary architectural issues – both theoretical and design-related – as a tool with which to examine the complex and shifting relationship between architecture and cultural, political, economic and social change. Students develop a framework of inquiry and experimentation through a series of rigorous core design studios that are integrally linked to various courses in Cultural Studies, Applied Studies and Visual Studies. On completion of the core sequence, students have acquired a set of skills, critical ideas and unique experiences that allow them to address more complex architectural issues while testing their own intellectual and design convictions. Students then progress to the vertical studio sequence, in which they are offered a choice of studios devoted to a wide range of topics chosen and taught by distinguished Los Angeles-based and international architects, as well as upper-level elective seminars taught by leading thinkers in their area of expertise. The program culminates in the public presentation of a thoroughly researched independent design Thesis project.

The M.Arch 2 program is a two-year degree specifically designed to build upon and reconsider knowledge gained from undergraduate degrees in architecture, and has as its aim the reappraisal of the discipline of architecture. Through the intensive study of the latest design software and means of fabrication and prototyping, and through the exploration of new materials, the program provides students with an understanding of new design methodologies, while placing them in their historical and contemporary contexts. On completing the core sequence, students can choose from Vertical Studios and elective seminars that either continue the focus of their core studies or broaden the scope of their education. The program culminates in the public presentation of a thoroughly researched independent design Thesis project.

The Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture, SCI-Arc Edge, offers four postgraduate degree programs in fields including architectural technologies, entertainment and fiction, design of cities, and theory and pedagogy, along with a fellowship in synthetic landscapes. Students are admitted into these programs in the Fall term only.

Master of Science in Architectural Technologies

Marcelo Spina, Faculty Coordinator

Technologies come and go, but the general problem of technology and what we do with it as architects remains the same. This program is committed to developing new applications, and it is not content to accept technologies merely as given to us. We want to master technologies and rethink them in order to produce radical architectural effects. Accordingly, this program has a dual focus. First, the program wants to provide hands-on experience with cutting edge technologies of architectural production. Whether it is robotic fabrication, computational methods of form generation, additive manufacturing, or machine vision, we want students in this program to acquire an intensive technical expertise. Second, in anticipation of future technologies and machines that we haven’t even seen yet, the program wants to develop a conceptual and critical framework for understanding technology’s longstanding relationship to architecture in general. As Cedric Price asked all the way back in 1966, “Technology is the answer, but what was the question?"

The Architectural Technologies track is a one-year Master of Science Degree (M.S.) program that requires attendance in the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.

Master of Arts in Fiction and Entertainment

Liam Young, Faculty Coordinator

What we think the world looks like is largely determined today by fiction and entertainment. Fiction is an extraordinary shared language through which we exchange ideas and engage with the world. The importance and power of media in the production of culture should not be underestimated. In contemporary life, new worlds are designed and experienced in movies, ad campaigns, videogames, viral Internet videos, or search engines. Given the vast array of media potentially available to the architect, it is both critical and urgent for the architect to widen the scope of practice beyond just buildings alone. Why shouldn't the architect design the next Hollywood blockbuster? Or the next virtual reality environment? Or the next political campaign? This program is focused on building new forms of architectural practice allied with the worlds of film, fiction, animation, marketing, games, and documentary. Working with world-renowned collaborators from these disciplines and embedded within the entertainment industry of Los Angeles, the program is designed to be a place where we extrapolate the present to tell new stories about the alternative realities of the 21st century.

The Fiction and Entertainment track is a one-year Master of Arts (M.A.) program that requires attendance during the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.

Master of Science in the Design of Cities

Peter Trummer, Faculty Coordinator

Most of the world's population now lives in cities. We are witnessing today an astonishing process of urbanization that is unprecedented and taking place on a posthuman planetary scale. The sheer complexity of this massive movement has put into question the ongoing validity of traditional urban design concepts, and it is increasingly more urgent for architects to think about how cities should be designed. This program intends to study the full depth and drama of contemporary urban phenomena and commit to design innovation to address it. Though recent wisdom declares that cities are hopelessly complex networks of informal events outside the reach of any design model, this program fundamentally believes in the power of the architectural imagination to discover new possibilities and reestablish the design of cities as a uniquely architectural problem.

The Design of Cities track is a one-year Master of Science (M.S.) program that requires attendance during the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.

Master of Science in Design Theory and Pedagogy

David Ruy, Visiting Faculty

Where will the next generation of theorists and teachers come from? Because of how the world is changing, this question may be a complex one moving forward in architecture. The strict separation between practice and academia has been fading, but has now become completely ambiguous due to new research models at the university and new knowledge-based forms of practice. Accordingly, this program addresses a new kind of career that has emerged in architecture. In recent years, a new kind of architect-theorist-educator has become a progressively more important voice in design culture. Despite the importance of this new kind of architect, academia hasn’t been able to produce a program to specifically train talented young architects to occupy this new space and facilitate the development of these new protagonists. At the traditional university, we primarily find today professional programs to train practitioners and PhD programs to train scholars. This program is intended to occupy the space in between these two known models of education and target specifically a hybrid career in academia. Utilizing SCI-Arc itself as a hands-on teaching laboratory, the long-term project of this program is to develop new design pedagogies and construct a new apparatus for the production of design theory.

The Design Theory and Pedagogy track is a one-year Master of Science (M.S.) program that requires attendance during the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.

SCI-Arc's Design Immersion Days (DID) is a four-week summer program devoted to introducing high school students to architecture and design. Rising juniors and seniors will be offered the opportunity to explore careers in architecture and design or simply satisfy deep curiosities about how products, buildings, and environments are designed and made. Among skills students will acquire in the program are freehand sketching, photography, critical and analytical thinking, non-linear thinking, design drawing, design modeling, graphic presentation, and portfolio layout and design.

A platform for individual learning in a collective environment, Making+Meaning is an introduction to the discipline of architecture as engaged by SCI-Arc's design culture and community. The five-week summer program derives its strength from the diverse backgrounds of its students-from those gauging their interest and curiosity in architecture, to those beginning an architectural degree, to those looking to expand their skills in the tangent fields of education, film, industrial design and the fine arts.

Study Abroad

Through our Exchange Programs, semesters abroad, and travelling studios, SCI-arc prepares students to engage global issues, and to operate with sensitivity in a globalized cultural, social and economic context. Students study in cities such as Kyoto, Japan; Seoul, Korea; Mexico City, Mexico; Milan, Italy; and Vienna, Austria.


SCI-Arc's faculty represents a wide range of contemporary approaches to Architecture and related disciplines. Among its members are renowned theorists, critics and historians and some of the world’s leading architectural practitioners who have devoted their careers to investigating how broad aesthetic, social and cultural concerns can be integrated into an overall understanding of the built and natural environments. Meet a few of the SCI-Arc faculty.

At A Glance


500 students are split evenly between undergraduate and graduate programs, 64% male, 36% female.


The student body comes from 48 different countries.


15-1 student to faculty studio ratio.


Over 1,000 models are produced each semester.


Students use 24 state-of-the-art software packages including Rhino, Maya, Grasshopper, ZBrush, Ketia, AutoCAD, 3D Studio Max and Adobe CS6.


The majority of students live 5-15 minutes walk or bike ride from their studio work space.


Fridays at Five, a social event organized by students for students, allows students and faculty to exchange ideas outside the classroom.


There are study abroad programs, exchanges and studio visits available in 11 different countries including Australia, Austria, Korea, Japan, the Netherlands, Mexico, United Kingdom, Italy, Israel, Japan and China.


The Robot House focuses on multi-robot collaboration using six state-of-the-art Stäubli robotic systems.


SCI-Arc campus tours provided Mondays and Fridays at 2:30pm. Email to make reservation.


SCI-Arc, located in downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District, was founded in 1972 and is NAAB and WASC accredited.


SCI-Arc’s faculty and leadership have garnered more than 500 national and international design awards, including American Institute of Architecture (AIA) awards, and the prestigious Jenks award and Pritzker prize.


Design Intelligence ranks SCI-Arc as #3 undergraduate and #4 graduate program in the west.


SCI-Arc has 4,000 alumni working around the world.


SCI-Arc offers a Bachelor’s program, two Master’s programs and four Postgraduate degrees. In addition, there are two summer programs, DID and Making + Meaning.


SCI-Arc students are part of a close-knit community, sharing their passion and commitment in an immersive studio culture. Each student has a dedicated workspace where faculty engage in one-on-one dialogues guiding students through contemporary thought, practice and expertise. The dialogue continues throughout the studios, emerging through the student’s work. Mid-term reviews, final reviews and thesis reviews are culminating moments for the design studio, where students present their work to a panel of prominent architects from around the world.

Lecture Series

Each semester’s lecture series offers an eclectic selection of speakers from multiple disciplines, including architects, designers, artists, film-makers, engineers, theoreticians, and performers. The series often includes symposia focusing on a comprehensive array of accomplished panelists. Speakers are selected by a forum of students, faculty, alumni, and administrators. The lecture series is free and open to the public. SCI-Arc lectures are webcast for simultaneous viewing at Click below to visit the SCI-Arc Media Archive, over 1000 hours of continually–updated videos of architecture and design lectures, symposia and events featuring the most significant voices in architecture since 1974.

Gallery Exhibits

The SCI-Arc Gallery program allows exhibitors to experiment with new materials, concepts, or fabrication methods, reflecting SCI-Arc's encouragement of an experimental approach to construction materials and its emphasis on learning through building. Students have the opportunity to participate in workshops in which they work closely with the invited architect to assist in the fabrication and installation of the exhibit. Below are some previous exhibits.


> Apply Now

With 80 faculty members and 500 students, SCI-Arc is committed to shaping student experiences as they pursue undergraduate, graduate and post-professional degrees. We receive applications from prospective students from all over the U.S. and around the world, and we believe your experience at SCI-Arc will prepare you not only to perform well in the profession, but will also lead you to take the discipline in new directions, as you re-think assumptions, create, explore and test the limits of architecture.

Applications must include the following materials:

  1. Online application form
  2. $85 application fee (non-refundable)
  3. Portfolio of creative work
  4. Personal statement
  5. Resume
  6. Three (3) letters of recommendation
  7. Academic transcripts
  8. Test scores, if applicable (SAT or ACT, GRE)
  9. TOEFL or IELTS (for International students)

Application materials must be submitted electronically through SlideRoom at

SCI-Arc values diversity and welcomes applicants who demonstrate the interest and ability for the study of architecture, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or physical abilities.


Bachelor of Architecture
B.Arch, Advanced Placement (Spring 2016): October 15, 2015
B.Arch, First Year Placement (Fall 2016): January 15, 2016
B.Arch, Advanced Placement (Fall 2016): May 1, 2016

Master of Architecture
M.Arch 1 (Fall 2016): December 15, 2015
M.Arch 2 (Fall 2016): December 15, 2015

Postgraduate Degrees, SCI-Arc Edge
April 15, 2016

Summer Programs
Design Immersion Days: June 6, 2016
Making+Meaning: July 1, 2016

Financial Aid

For accepted SCI-Arc students, your eligibility for financial aid is based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), SCI-Arc Financial Aid forms and your federal tax returns. The Financial Aid Office offers information on many programs to incoming and continuing students. Students must apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA online in January. SCI-Arc’s financial aid application and other required forms are made available each January for students who wish to receive financial aid in the following academic year. It is recommended that all students complete their applications by the deadline to ensure that there is no delay in receiving their funds. International students are not eligible to receive federal or state financial assistance. However, international students may be eligible for educational loans through private lenders, banks and other financial institutions or organizations.


Each year the Admissions Committee awards admissions scholarships to entering students. All applicants who submit a completed application to SCI-Arc are automatically considered for a scholarship. No additional forms must be submitted. Admissions scholarships are awarded on the overall merit of an applicant’s application submissions and his/her potential to succeed at SCI-Arc. All entering students, domestic and international, are considered for admissions scholarships. All currently enrolled SCI-Arc students are eligible to apply for continuing student scholarships after completing their first two semesters of study.


SCI-Arc has 4,000 alumni from its 40 year history. To provide career support for alumni and students, the Alumni Council hosts Open Season, a series of career networking events created to connect SCI-Arc alumni and professional partners in the architecture and design field and SCI-Arc students. These day-long events invite potential employers to observe and recruit SCI-Arc students as they present their studio and thesis work to faculty and jurors for academic review. Below are companies that hire SCI-Arc graduates and the cities where they work.

  • Ahmedabad
  • Alexandria
  • Amman
  • Amsterdam
  • Ankara
  • Athens
  • Baltimore
  • Bangalore
  • Bangkok
  • Barcelona
  • Basel
  • Beijing
  • Beirut
  • Belgrade
  • Berlin
  • Beverly Hills
  • Bogota
  • Bombay
  • Bordeaux
  • Brooklyn
  • Buenos Aires
  • Burbank
  • Cairo
  • Calgary
  • Caracas
  • Changzhou
  • Chengdu
  • Chennai
  • Chiba
  • Chicago
  • Copenhagen
  • Culver City
  • Damascus
  • Denver
  • Dubai
  • Dublin
  • Düsseldorf
  • Florence
  • Frankfurt
  • Glasgow
  • Guang Dong
  • Guangzhou
  • Guatemala
  • Haifa
  • Halifax
  • Hamburg
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Hokkaido
  • Hollywood
  • Hong Kong
  • Indianapolis
  • Istanbul
  • Jakarta
  • Jeddah
  • Johannesburg
  • Khartoum
  • Kingston
  • Kobe
  • Kyoto
  • Laguna Beach
  • Lahore
  • Las Vegas
  • Lima
  • Lisbon
  • London
  • Los Alamitos
  • 2POP
  • 4RM Studio
  • 8484 Architecture
  • A :: Lab
  • A.Polis
  • A+@ architecture studio
  • A4 Architects
  • aArts Architects
  • Abrahams & Eyster Architecture
  • Amador Whittle Architects
  • Anshen + Allen
  • Architecture 350
  • Array Design
  • At-Six Architecture
  • BMW
  • Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  • Bulthaup- Los Angeles
  • Caldwell Architects
  • Callison
  • Chiron Corporation
  • Clive Wilkinson Architects
  • CO Architects
  • Cuningham Group Architecture, P.A.
  • Design Cycles
  • Design Universal Architects
  • DiMarzio | Kato architecture llp
  • Disney Imagineering
  • DLR Group WWCOT
  • Enclosures Architects
  • EwingCole Arch. Engineers Interiors Planners
  • Frederick Fisher & Partners
  • Gabor + Allen
  • Gehry Partners, LLP
  • Gehry Technologies
  • Gensler - Costa Rica
  • Gensler- Los Angeles
  • Gensler- New York
  • Gensler- Newport Beach
  • Gensler- San Francisco
  • Gensler- Shanghai
  • Gensler- Washington, DC
  • Gkkworks
  • Griffin & Enright Architects
  • Greenscreen
  • Gruen Associates
  • Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co.
  • HGA Architecture Engineering Planning
  • Hinerfeld-Ward, Inc.
  • HKS
  • Hodgetts & Fung
  • HNTB
  • HOK
  • Los Angeles
  • Macau
  • Madrid
  • Malibu
  • Maracaibo
  • Melbourne
  • Mexico City
  • Miami
  • Montevideo
  • Montreal
  • Moscow
  • Mumbai
  • Nairobi
  • Nara
  • New Delhi
  • New York
  • Newport Beach
  • Ontario
  • Orlando
  • Osaka
  • Oslo
  • Paris
  • Pasadena
  • Penang
  • Portland
  • Prague
  • Pyrgos Ilias
  • Quebec
  • Quito
  • Reykjavik
  • Riyadh
  • Rome
  • Rotterdam
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San José
  • San Juan
  • Santa Monica
  • Sao Paulo
  • Seattle
  • Seoul
  • Sevilla
  • Shanghai
  • Shenzhen
  • Singapore
  • Staten Island
  • Stuttgart
  • Sydney
  • Taichung
  • Taipei
  • Tehran
  • Tel Aviv
  • Thessaloniki
  • Tokyo
  • Torino
  • Toronto
  • Tucson
  • Universal City
  • Vancouver
  • Venice
  • Veracruz
  • Verona
  • Victoria
  • Vienna
  • Washington DC
  • Zurich
  • Hurley
  • Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.
  • JAG Architects
  • Jerde Partnership
  • Kanner Architects
  • Kelly Wearstler
  • KGM Lighting
  • KMA Architecture and Engineering
  • KMD Architects
  • KPF
  • Lauterbach & Associates Architects, Inc.
  • Lautner Associates
  • Lehrer Architects LA
  • Livinghomes
  • Looking Glass Architecture + Design
  • Lookinglass Architecture and Design
  • Marmol + Radziner
  • Marriott Vacation Club International
  • Martinez and Amador Architects
  • Metro Design Group
  • moNAD
  • Moore Rubell Yudell Architects & Planners
  • Nadel Architects, Inc.
  • Nahbih Youssef & Associates
  • NBBJ
  • Nike
  • Nike Inc.-DTC Global Retail Design
  • Old Navy
  • Perkins+Will Los Angeles
  • Perkins+Will- San Francisco
  • Perkowitz + Ruth Architects
  • Pierre-Yves Rochon
  • Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP
  • Rios Clementi Hale Studios
  • RMJM
  • RMJM Singapore
  • Roto Architects
  • RTKL Associates, Inc.
  • Silber Architects
  • Silverwood Builders, Inc.
  • Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
  • Standard LLP
  • Stantec
  • Stedman Blower
  • Steinberg Architects
  • Steven Erlich Architects
  • Studio 440 Architecture & Acoustics
  • Sussman/Prejza & Co., Inc.
  • Thornton Tomasetti
  • Undercovers- Warner Bros./Bad Robot Prod.
  • Universal
  • Westfield
  • Xefirotech
  • Zaha Hadid Architects