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SCI-Arc – Redefining the lines of Architecture

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), founded in 1972, approaches  architecture from an innovative and experimental perspective than traditional schools. SCI-Arc operates as one of the country’s independent Architecture Schools, encouraging students to rethink assumptions, create, explore and test the limits of this discipline.

A unique strength of SCI-Arc is that it operates as an institute, rather than a university– exploring new territories and methods and writing its own rules of engagement and research. Here, innovation is at the heart of the curriculum, where approximately 500 students and 80 faculty members work together in a fluid, non-hierarchical manner. Faculty is comprised of the most internationally recognized practitioners and scholars who are actively engaged in contemporary architectural production and are not constrained by dated practices and teaching methods.

Immersed in Los Angeles’ well known culture of image production and design, SCI-Arc students are spoilt when it comes to inspiration. Located in the heart of the Los Angeles Arts District, SCI-Arc is an anchor in this vibrant community of innovators, comprised of a growing number of galleries, studios and think tanks.

Photo courtesy of the Southern California Institute of Architecture

Graduate programs at SCI-Arc are a journey of exploration through technological and cultural trends that affect society. The curriculum is a continuously evolving, dynamic pathway for students, promoting a spirit of intellectual thought and inquiry where they can inspire a new wave of architectural ideas and development.

SCI-Arc offers two Master programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The M.Arch 1 program is a three-year, professional Master of Architecture degree that welcomes students from any undergraduate discipline and provides a strong foundation for the field as well as a framework for experimentation and critical inquiry. Upon completion of the core sequence, students choose from a variety of advanced studios and seminars in which they will investigate and analyse the latest innovations in technology, also seeking ways to innovate the sector through applied research and development. The program places particular emphasis on the production of Architecture and the ways in which making produces a unique intelligence in the field.

Academic courses in visual, cultural, and applied studies compliment studio to provide comprehensive insights into the relationship between architecture and technological advances, representation and global context. These courses are designed to enhance a student’s ability to address complex architectural issues with each progressive semester, while pushing their own intellectual and design convictions to the next level.

Photo courtesy of the Southern California Institute of Architecture

The M.Arch 1 program concludes with a thoroughly-researched independent architectural thesis, which students present in a public exhibition. They are expected to have developed unique ideas and theories and to present them in balanced manner, with a view of preparing them to enter into the professional world of Architecture.

The School’s M.Arch 2 program is a two-year, five-term professional Master of Architecture program, aimed at the reappraisal of architecture. Students assess, build upon and reconsider knowledge gained from a prior undergraduate degree in the field. The program, which is open to applicants with a minimum of a four-year degree in architecture, introduces students to advanced critical perspectives on contemporary architectural issues and examine the shifting relationships between architecture and cultural, political, economic and social change.

Of the 154 NAAB accredited programs in the United States, SCI-Arc proudly ranks among the top in multiple categories in Design Intelligence’s America’s Top Architectural Schools 2017 – ranked in more categories than any other school across the US. The School placed number four in Graduate Programs Most Admired by Deans and Chairs; number three for Top Regional Graduate Program in the West; number three in Computer Applications; and number four in Design Skills.

Hernan Diaz Alonso, director and CEO of SCI-Arc, says: “The ethical questions of architecture are poignant for an institute so dedicated to innovation. It isn’t hyperbole to posit that the very existence of architecture as a profession and as a way of thinking and knowing is at stake. Architecture needs its own heroes, but more importantly the world needs architects to take on that position and to conjure images of what the future might become. We experiment and keep taking risks to remake the real.

“Architecture is an act of optimism.”

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