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Why the hate against Sci-Arc?

Aug 22 '12 91 Last Comment
1deviantC
Sep 4, 12 12:03 am

"But make your decision based on money manoverde84, it's not wise to gamble these days."

I second, what Editorial just stated ^^.

look mano...just go to sci arc (seems like you've already made up your mind) - just remember all your friends from archinect who warned you --

but I hope you don't and instead go to UCLA (simply for the sake of saving yourself some $crilla. avoid the possibility of surviving off of cans of tuna and cup o' noodles when you graduate to avoid starvation)

manoverde84
Sep 4, 12 12:08 am

what the...?! My goodness, is it that bad? Aren't you a Sci Arc grad, deviant? 

design
Sep 4, 12 12:09 am

You can do that anywhere you go in a way, Sci-Arc might just have a leg up due to their engagement with technology - digital and robotics. 

If I were you, I would stay in LA with your wife, attend whichever school ends up becoming more affordable,

if that ends up becoming UCLA, they are brainier so maybe you can hustle them into directly working with some robots, they engage with it in some form anyway... here

design
Sep 4, 12 12:15 am

Also the thing is, while sci-arc is super advanced on many levels, the price tag is a bit of a let down, compared to some other schools with bigger endowments. The risk of trying to be a starchitect is more feasible if you have some bank and lucky connections to back up your talent. If you get a fat scholarship from somewhere, go for it, but start looking now.

design
Sep 4, 12 12:25 am

it's not cheap or easy to be disruptive.

1deviantC
Sep 4, 12 12:45 am

i am a grad - and you still choose to not take my advice earnestly =(

and yes - it can be that baad.  it can also be great. 

I love generalizing - can you tell =)   ?  so I'm going to do it some more - i like to categorize sci arc students (maybe all arch. grad students?) into two groups. 

The first group is happy doing their design thang regardless of how little the might get paid.  They're cool with being starving artists (a lot of this group is fairly young and are financially supported by their parents - nothing wrong with that). 

The second group has to take out loans for tuition and have financial responsibilities - in other words these people have no financial safety net.  They must make ends meet upon graduation..  We're looking to make $$ whichever way we can to support our families, pay the mortgage, blah blah ...all that stupid shit. 

That usually means we're working in a full time gig that isn't necessarily related to design - and simultaneously moonlighting as a design consultant and working on getting commissions and small gigs from those you met in school.  You do that by making friends with other professionals (that's why I would have gone to UCLA in a heartbeat, that's what I'm trying to get you to do as well) and looking for commissions from them; not your fellow sci-arc'ers.  

UCLA is a damn good school -- and wtf is graduatearchitecture.com anyways?

manoverde84
Sep 4, 12 12:50 am

The scholarships aren't the issue. The program I am in almost guarantees scholarship money if one does really well in it. They're a feeder school to Sci Arc and the school has offered as much as 30k in scholarship money. 

If money isn't the biggest issue, is Sci Arc worth it? Connections? I am already making connections as far as networking. 

1deviantC
Sep 4, 12 12:54 am

dude, just go to sci arc...

just please report back in 3.5 yrs and give us an honest feedback report (maybe things will change, i can only hope).  we'll compare notes at that point

manoverde84
Sep 4, 12 12:55 am

Thanks Deviant! I am taking your advice to heart. I love Sci Arc but if it's not worth it, then UCLA is a great second choice. Don't lose hope in me, man. LOL I am new to arch and will ask a lot of repetitive, stupid and naive questions. 

What makes UCLA so much better in your eyes? Is it because it's cheaper and has a reputable university behind it? 

Sci Arc just strikes me like going to MIT or Columbia. UCLA more like UT Austin. 

I just like the design centered focus that could lead to other opportunities or are most arch schools like this anyways?

manoverde84
Sep 4, 12 7:14 pm

deviant?

Xenakis
Sep 4, 12 7:30 pm

" Like Sci Arc also produced stellar designers to go into other fields besides Architecture."

Video Game environment artist for one -

manoverde84
Sep 5, 12 1:27 am

I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing?

Jadzia
Sep 5, 12 7:04 am

I know I’m late to the party, but  I have to say that 1deviantC did an awesome job with laying it all out there for you. 
All in all you are 28 (?), majored in Government  and  you are the only person who can decide  whether  it’s a good or bad thing to model “dog poop” shaped houses in Maya or create Video Game environments for a living. ;-)

manoverde84
Sep 5, 12 12:31 pm

I get more sardonic quips than straight answers. But i guess I am too dense to get that designing shiz homes and video game design is a lame way to begin ones architecture career.

manoverde84
Sep 6, 12 12:02 am

Again, what was your point Jadzia?

Jadzia
Sep 6, 12 2:46 am

You are very serious about what other people, especially future employers, will think of your Sci Arc education.  That’s an important point alright.
But do also consider that studying architecture is intense and you have to love what you’re gonna do the next 2-3 years 24/7.
I have this feeling you are very into this “avantgardistic” attitude as you mentioned in your OP.  That’s ok! So I think you should go for it.  And it’s not lame at all. It’s just a very special realm within architecture.

OP17
Sep 6, 12 8:24 am

Manover, have you thought about University of Michigan, Taubman College?  Some of the faculty and professors are from SCI-Arc of old circa 1990.  University of Michigan also offers a large range of digital fab tools that would make SCI-Arc's small shop look like child's play.  And besides, it helps having one of the largest alumni associations to back you up during these hard economic times.  Just my two cents.

manoverde84
Sep 6, 12 12:03 pm

Thanks guys for the info. OP17 I would love to go to Taubman but my circumstances have me planted in LA for now or at best Houston,TX where my family is from. 

So it's down to UCLA, Sci Arc or even USC. I have yet to hear about USC and how good that school is. 

Jadzia, I am into the avanta garde schools but if the pay off is not worth the mountain of debt, then I will have to pass on it. I can circumvent a 100k debt load but any more than that and I will drowning. 

1deviantC
Sep 6, 12 12:07 pm

manoverde...i don't think jadzia was being sardonic...this little virtual community tends to have a 'dry' sense of humor -

thats just the way we talk to each other - it's all love and gravy babeee =)...

there's nothing wrong with being a digital artist or designing spec homes - if that's what is required to stay within the field then so be it.  I don't look down on it, and I don't think anyone else should either.  Architecture is tough - it's even tougher out of school.  That is what we are all generally trying to tell you and that you should keep that in mind when determining how much student loan debt to take on.  There really isn't much more that we can lay down for you.  You've sparked a healthy debate through your post (good job)...read it carefully if you must as there are a lot of gems and nuggets dropped by us all...and just as jadzia stated - you "you are the only person who can decide" which school is for you.  and for the last time -  i'll say it again:

sciarc is great, it's cool, it's sexy - it's also pretty far removed from the real world.

manoverde84
Sep 6, 12 12:29 pm

cool, sexy and being far removed from the real world is what I am normally attracted to. LOL

But sometimes the mainstream traditional world cares not for people thinking outside the box and I know too many smart people who are paying for it (low wage work) in all fields, because they thought outside the box. 

manoverde84
Sep 6, 12 2:50 pm

I have yet to hear anything about USC. Any grads? 

OP17
Sep 6, 12 10:09 pm

"But sometimes the mainstream traditional world cares not for people thinking outside the box and I know too many smart people who are paying for it (low wage work) in all fields, because they thought outside the box."

Having graduated from SCI-Arc, I can tell you firsthand that very few exceptional students are capable of landing a permanent job at one of their instructor's offices.  This is a small tightly nit, avante-garde-esque group of faculty who are more than willing to put their work ahead of your creativity.

There are many good points about SCI-Arc brought up in this discussion.  Just be aware of what your getting yourself into.  SCI-Arc just isn't what it used to be.

tranz kafka
Sep 6, 12 11:05 pm

It is not avanta garde, it is not avante-garde, it is not what you think it is. Look it up and understand what it is before you buy. So far what I understood from your questions and interests, you could just go hang out in a hipster neighborhood and satisfy all your ambitions for a price of a cappuccino.

manoverde84
Sep 7, 12 12:10 pm

Good god, must you be so cold? A hipster neighborhood? As opposed to what, a yuppie hangout that you probably frequent? I mean what was the point of that?

I was just wondering if it was a good investment or not. I like what I like but it would never justify a mountain of debt with no pay out in the end.

zero fraction, is a bit jaded, so I'll just forgive his little sardonic quip and attribtue it to a lack of wit.

RyuArch
Sep 7, 12 4:47 pm

I think you drank the kool-aid before even attending.

sameolddoctor
Sep 7, 12 7:19 pm

As a person who (a while back) had the choice to go to Grad School to either SCIARC or UCLA (and I did choose UCLA, thankfully), please allow me to weigh in. I have worked in a few "cutting edge" firms here in LA as well, and do know a little bit of what I am talking about. Sorry if some of it is harsh.

1. In what I have seen, there is a very less proportion of Sciarc students that actually know about architecture. By which I mean, if you think architecture is indeed the practice of constructing buildings. These students are exceptional, and this knowledge of theirs is basically from other internships that they have done, and blending it with the knowledge gained at Sciarc. However, this proportion is very low, and most employees that are Sciarc grads tend to be Rhino, or Maya or Grasshopper monkeys, who can really model anything, but do not know, say, how large is the room that they just parametricized the hell out of.

2. It is JUST NOT WORTH THE FEE if you want to practice architecture. After 10 years of graduation, you will be lucky to be making $75,000 a year, which is NOT going to cover your lifestyle, kids etc. However, if you want to go into other fields like video game development etc then it might be worth it.

3. Sciarc does not create managers or leaders. Most of the sciarc grads I have interacted with are, as I mentioned, very good at Rhino, Maya etc, but are not THINKERS WHO CAN ADDRESS REAL-LIFE ISSUES. People hire UCLA grads for that (just kidding!)

4. As for the difference between UCLA and Sciarc, the one market advantage that UCLA has over Sciarc is that is part of a much larger university, with all that it has to offer. While I was at UCLA, I took classes at the Film School, and the language school as well. It killed me, but it felt that it  was way more enriching than sitting rotating maya models all day and night long. And being part of a larger university also helps a lot in the long run, for jobs and contacts.

5. Campus. Sure, the Sciarc campus is in a rather "edgy" neighborhood but that basically means that you are isolated from the real world. This shows in the work, attitude and outlook of a lot of the grads.

6. Building. Sciarc HAS adhered to one of its oldest tenets of adhering to the act and methods of building, but now it seems limited to crafting wonderful  3d models, without real regard for how it gets constructed.

That is all. Save your money and go to UCLA!

w. wynne A.I.A.w. wynne A.I.A.
Sep 7, 12 9:05 pm

I too attend, graduate UCLA...but, reconsidering it...maybe Sci-Arc would have been a better fit, ...beside Gehry just give a small prize to the graduate with the best "schlong", I mean best thesis at SCIARC!

I only attended UCLA, because I thought it would be more recognized as a real school!

manoverde84
Sep 7, 12 9:08 pm

SameOldDoctor, thank you! And Deviant too. I appreciate all the advice guys. I think I am going to focus on passing the intro basic courses at my prep program first before I even think of getting starchitect dreams. I just ate a big slice of humble pie my first two classes. 

 

Must get to work!  w.wynne again, not sure where you're going with your posts, but you're funny. 

design
Sep 7, 12 9:21 pm

As a person who (a while back) had the choice to go to Grad School to either SCIARC or UCLA (and I did choose Sci-Arc, thankfully), please allow me to weigh in. I have worked in a few "cutting edge" firms in LA and abroad, and do know a little bit of what I am talking about. Sorry if some of it is harsh.

1. In what I have seen, there is a very less proportion of UCLA students that actually know about experimenting and being creative. By which I mean, if you think architecture is just about how to put stud walls together. These students are average, and this knowledge of theirs is basically regulated by a sideways desire for emulating, and blending it with the knowledge gained at UCLA. However, these types of grads are everywhere, and most employees that are UCLA grads tend to be Revit jockeys with a little Grasshopper/CNC knowledge, who can really leech off of the energy from Sci-Arc, but do not know, say, how to create compelling architecture.

2. UCLA is WORTH THE FEE if you want to practice architecture. After 10 years of graduation, you will be lucky to be making $75,000 a year, which is NOT going to cover your lifestyle, kids etc. However, if you want to go into other fields like contracting etc then it might be worth it.

3. UCLA does not create managers or leaders. Most of the grads I have interacted with are, as I mentioned, very good at Revit etc, but are not THINKERS WHO CAN DESIGN AT AN INTERNATIONAL SCALE. People hire Sci-Arc grads for that (just kidding!)

4. As for the difference between UCLA and Sciarc, the one slight advantage that UCLA has over Sciarc is that is part of a much larger university, with all that it has to distract you. While I was at Sci-Arc, I didn't take classes at say a Film School, but I got to take courses in architectural robotics and biomaterials. It killed me, but it felt that it  was way more enriching than sitting rotating revit models all day and reading Greg Lynn. And being part of a larger university also doesn't really matter a lot in the long run, for jobs and contacts, when you have a unique body of work.

5. Campus. Sure, the UCLA campus is a rather "bloated" neoclassical campus but that basically means that you get to live in the "real world." This shows in the work, attitude and outlook of a lot of the grads, like a more cautious version of Sci-Arc

6. Building. UCLA has adhered to one of its oldest tenets of adhering to the act and methods of building, but now it seems limited to crafting wonderful revit models, without any deep engagement with technology.

That is all. Get a scholarship and go to Sci-Arc!

BenC
Sep 7, 12 11:59 pm

That might be one of the worst posts ever. Congratulations.

Not only is the "reverse copying" thing just, well, stupid, but your last sentence paints a pretty ignorant picture of yourself, and in some ways other graduates from there. "Just get a scholarship and then go!" Are you f***ing kidding me? Time to get in touch with reality.

design
Sep 8, 12 2:37 am

I didn't go to sci-arc, and the above is text generated from script.
The scholarships are real bro, seems like the script knows something you don't. :(

sameolddoctor
Sep 8, 12 3:25 am

Sciarc and scholarships. Ha! Yes, I do know of those, where they cover 15,000$ out of your 120,000$ fee. Get real, Editorial.

I can understand the allure of the life at Sciarc, but dont even try to justify the expense that goes behind the lifestyle, to make awesome Rhino/Maya jockeys.

I would also love to know which of the Sciarc recent grads have been designing AND building PROJECTS AT AN INTERNATIONAL SCALE. If I do find them I will hire them for $15 an hour.

I have this amazing desire to go to thesis this weekend and the stinking pile of excrement that is being produced at the end of blowing through the $120,000 fee (which the students will keep paying for 30 more years).

manoverde84
Sep 8, 12 12:10 pm

Editorial, you didn't go to Sci Arc, but did you believe anything you wrote or was it just a jab at people comparing the two schools? 

sameolddoctor, is anything editorial said even remotely true?

design
Sep 8, 12 4:04 pm

I'm simply giving you the counter-logic based upon internet data, so your options are crystal clear. From the financial side of your situation, if sciarc doesn't give you enough money, scholarships exist outside of the institution. The risks are yours to take, just don't drown yourself in debt wherever you decide to go. That has happened to a lot of architects.

In terms of the work, think of it as a gamble. At sci-arc you will get to gamble big, at UCLA you will play things a little more safe.
 

 

I'll speculate that sameolddctor is either out of your demographic range,someone from the 80's-90's era or simply out of touch with academia.

manoverde84
Sep 8, 12 4:08 pm

Interesting info, thanks editorial. 

sameolddoctor
Sep 8, 12 11:22 pm

Editorial, and I speculate that you are Eric Moss' left testicle, or still in school. But, I think you are hitting upon the essential argument. "Academia" is actually meant to be a support, or rather a stepping stone to "Practice". The type of academia practiced at Sciarc is really not a stepping stone to architectural practice, but to 3d graphics.

Enough said, the advice I would lend is if you really like Sciarc, be sure to try and work at other offices whenever you get time, as that is what will keep you grounded.

manoverde84
Sep 8, 12 11:33 pm

sameolddoc, i think you've dissuaded me from Sci Arc. UCLA might be the better option. 

sameolddoctor
Sep 9, 12 12:00 am

I thought you had already started school? I will still maintain that UCLA is the better school and the more realistic choice. Just be sure to work as much as possible in real firms whenever you get the chance.

design
Sep 9, 12 12:04 am

The type of academia practiced at Sciarc is really not a stepping stone to architectural practice, but to 3d graphics.
almost as brilliant as your reference to testicles and poo.

Have a look for yourself manoverd, at the kind of architecture sameolddoc loves
 

nothing much to excited over.
talk about same old, huh huh.

sameolddoctor
Sep 9, 12 2:20 am

Hey Editorial, maybe you should look at the principals:

http://www.fisherpartners.net/studio/about/

David Ross is actually a Sciarc graduate, and he is actually the lead these days, I think. And I do like their work.

And, my old post refers mostly to the hot receptionist, not their work - so yeah...

design
Sep 9, 12 2:29 am

was saving that one, that is why these threads are so retarded.

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