Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is well known for its progressive curriculum, and for a board of trustees that counts among its members such titans as Frank Gehry, Thom Mayne, and Eric Owen Moss. The school was founded in 1972 to shake up the traditional education in architecture, introducing a more radical way of thinking, where students are encouraged to experiment with both ideas and materials. It has earned its out-of-the-box reputation, producing compelling, cross-disciplinary practitioners who are not afraid to flirt with the latest technologies and make a profound impact in their fields.
Among the 4,000 alumni are Pritzker Prize laureate Shigeru Ban and Wolf Prix. The five-year bachelor’s program, a two- or three-year master’s and the one-year post-professional design research degrees attract approximately 500 students a year to the campus contained within a former freight depot in the Art’s District of downtown Los Angeles. A 5-week Introduction to Architecture summer program, Making + Meaning, is held in the same facility.
SCI-Arc’s newest facility is the Magic Box, a 4,000 square ft. addition dedicated to an array of digital fabrication tools that will keep experimentation rolling well into the future. Along with its six-axis robots, the Magic Box houses laser cutters, vacuum moulds and 3‑D scanners and printers. Its suite of digital tools rounds out the RAD Center (short for Robotics, Analog and Digital).