SCI-Arc (Steve Fuchs)



Apr '04 - Aug '07

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    SCI-Arc F.A.Q. #2 (not Sci-ARC)

    Steve Fuchs
    Oct 28, '04 4:26 AM EST

    More answers to frequently asked questions... with a little late night twist (mostly uncensored because of a few beers and Zip after the KICKASS lecture presentation by plexus r+d. Shout out to Kevin, Jon and Rachel, you know the bright girl with the otherworldly, infectious laugh... you are truly one of a kind. Ya'll come back now, ya hear?)

    Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 10:30 PM
    Subject: So Steve...

    Steve... Let me introduce myself. Please see your blog:

    A: Hey, thanks for commenting! I'm not sure if I saw this one as the blog interface doesn't let me backtrack to older posts and comments as well as I'd like it to.

    Q: Now that I have inflated your ego some...I am considering going the route you went with SciArc. Could you elaborate on just what you did?

    A: Ego = bad. Ogee = bad, too... Haha. EOM = ?. Route = Los Angeles Harbor College (113 units from 1988 to 2003), Thomas Edison State College (40 units NEW and 80 unit max from LAHC = 120 units for a BSAST in Architectural Design from 2002-2004). Applied one year on a whim, not accepted to UCLA's Design|Media Arts program just to learn the system. Last year (in Fall) I applied to UCLA Architecture and SCI-Arc for graduate school.

    Q: 1. What kind of "online" bachelor degree did you get and whom from? Was it a pay your fee and basically get your degree type? Do you think SciArc would allow this again?

    A: I'm a computer geek, so getting a degree non-traditionally and online while still maintaining a family and working from home was a good solution for me. Also, the cost was CHEAP (less than $6k) for two years. Sure I cut a few corners, but the education and academic rigor was fantastic. I'm a bit more mature than the average college student, and believe me, I don't miss fawning, immature girls and all night parties. Ok, well... I didn't miss them that much. Now, even though SCI-Arc is non-collegiate, there are still fawning girls and all night parties... So get here ASAP! J/K. SCI-Arc does allow for a 4-year degree in an architecture related field, especially if you have a solid background in the discipline. For instance, I have a lot of work experience, including: 3 years in a firm, 3 years for myself, 7 years TA'ing two AutoCAD classes, and 2.5 architecture books with my community college professor. This added up to 3 really good recommendation letters from my professor (40+ years teaching and said I was in the top 1% of his 10,000 students), a previous employer/architect, and a consultant/client of mine who is a professional engineer. Believe me, I worked every angle to get into SCI-Arc. Though, I only worked on my portfolio for 2 weeks. You should for sure spend at least 2 months on your portfolio and have a diverse amount of work in it. Mine was full of architecture, opened with photography, and had a winning 500 word essay, too. What I'm trying to say is... Set a goal and GO FOR IT! That's precisely why I am here.

    Q: 2. What is the realistic cost of going to SciArc? I noticed the tuition is roughly $19,000 a year. So would that put the total of an M.Arch2 program at $47,500 + 5,000 (books materials) = $52,500?

    A: The realistic cost of going to SCI-Arc is loss of family/significant other and sleep. You may also awaken a drinking habit and/or smoking habit. As far as monetary cost, $52,000 is a decent, ballpark figure. Books and materials may be less so just say an even $50,000.

    Q: 3. What is the day to day schedule like for M.Arch2? Is each term a little less time demanding? I think I saw somewhere it is a 2-7pm MWF deal?

    A: #1, the schedule can change at a moment's notice, depending on the faculty. For instance, I thought we were going to have Thursdays free this semester then we're informed we have a 7-10 pm seminar. Though, Diego Petrate's (from Gehry's office) HardTECH class is great and I'd show up any time to watch one of his slick PowerPoint presentations. You will have to cut your work load back to at LEAST 20 hours per week and work from home or via telecommuting to make it feasible. SCI-Arc's M.Arch2 program is not about standard practice -- It's about becoming a member of the cult of the avant-garde... Turning everything that is solid into air. I'm serious. As far as hours go: MWF 2-7 is for in studio pinups and crits, not really much of this time is for actual work. Though you can work as you wait for a crit or after a pinup, etc. A LOT of work is done on non-studio time, including weekends -- though, I devote my Saturdays to family. Also, you'll be reading at every spare moment, including when you take-the-kids-to-the-pool or drain-the-main-vein, yes I did say that. I have a laminated copy of Michaels Speaks' reader next to my toilet to replace all the garbage I've been fed on these home improvement / interior design shows. If you are reading this Michael, we truly appreciate your focus outside the classroom and non-focus inside... seriously, you are great. Though, a good portion of us are finding it a challenge to "hold ourselves together" (from budgeting time or leaving intellectually juvenile persuits behind). Graduate school is quite a eye opener, and finding time to make a mature argument about one's own work is proving to be a challenge -- albeit a welcome one! SIDENOTE: New black backgrounds w/ fading transitions, now that is HOT :)

    Q: I say this because as mentioned I work full time and just get by. I am thinking I could maybe streamline a couple of days for the schedule above.

    A: From what it sounds like, you should live vicariously through me and my studio mates. Seriously, this is a commitment not unlike getting married. At some point you are a bachelor (of architecture) if you have a degree in the field. A masters is about marrying into the discipline and focusing your attention on the current discourse, including embracing trajectories that you may not initially agree with. After all the brainwashing, you will be a new man and ready to cope with making nothing outta nothing. You'll look back at your time at SCI-Arc and wonder why you didn't go sooner to "explore the darkside". It's not about streamlining... It's about understanding the cult.

    Q: Also, I have done some freelance home remodel plan work for friends and friends of friends, but it just proves too difficult doing that and working full time and pays so little. How are you pulling that off?

    A: Funny you should ask... I'm not. I say yes WAY too much to this kinda crap work, don't do it! A few times a month I just let projects go and second guess whether I should have followed up another "cheap" lead. Nothing good will come out of being someone's CAD monkey. The only good thing to come out of doing these sidejobs is that it has pushed me to get my graduate degree, period. Chasing mom and pop clients or friends and family jobs is a sad way to make a living. This may be a self critique, but it feels SO good to verbalize it :) You can quote me on this one, "I am not interested in Storybook Cottage aesthetics!" Seriously, I recently met with clients that were friends of a junior high school mate. They seemed nice, had money, and wanted to do a traditional addition. The wife was the type that watched HGtv a lot and had a hodge-podge interior decorating style. One room was hunting trophies, yes animal heads hanging on the wall, the next room was Victorian doll house with doilies, and her custom bathroom was straight out of Las Vegas' Venetian. My initial proposal/thoughts were to go extreme hunting lodge and give them a new focus, then I said to myself, "What the hell am I don't this crap for?" The punch line of the story is this... She called me two weeks later, after a 10 day hunting vacation, and wanted my thoughts on "Storybook Cottages". I slowly faded the conversation away and subsequently that part of my life.

    Q: Thanks in advance for your time and letting me pick your brain. Take care.

    A: I do this as much for you blog readers as I do for myself. Putting my brain on a platter for the world is mildly therapeutic. Incidentally, I've been trying to be as candid as possible so everyone understands what a lot of us are going to SCI-Arc for, especially those of us that have worked in the "real world". The key word is criticality.

    ** Side note to everyone at SCI-Arc and outside of SCI-Arc. The acronym for SCI-Arc is SCI-Arc... Not sci-arc, Sci-arc, Sci-ARC, sci-ARC, sci-Arc, Sci-Arc or SCI-ARC. Again, it is SCI-Arc (Southern California Institure of Architecture) SCI-Arc :) Being German has its disadvantages, precision can be a bad habit. *cough* SCI-Arc *grin*



    • Bula

      Excusez-moi à l'école de l'architecture de bâtiment de nuage de "SCI-Arc" et à l'Allemand...;)...won't happen again in my lifetime.

      You know, my good-ol teacher Mr. Larry Wood warned me about you fanshy smansy types at SCI-Arc and Berkley...staaaayyyy awayyyy he said, SLO is tha way to goooo... but I don't want to let the creative passions in my soul dry up dammit! I don't know, it just seems like the last 8 years have flown by and now with kids I find my natural born interest in art taking the very last seat in the priorities of my life. I will get licensed in Cali within a few years but since the inflated ego(=bad) of the NAAB board and two-thirds of the state architecture boards will not allow me to practice in their state without their stuck accredited degree my options are going to be limited. I just may move to Idaho Falls after getting my license (love to ski/snowboard) since it is one of the few who grant reciprocity w/ California.

      I would definitely love to go to SCI-Arc and it sounds exactly like the creative spark…uh, camp fire …uh no I mean FORREST FIRE to re-ignite my passion. …..but reducing my work hours to 20-hr weeks..…alas I must choose to take care of my family first. I mean I have two 2 & 4 year old Brittney Spearsish looking daughters…do you have any idea how much that is going to cost me!?! I do envy you Steve and I’ll pray (or hope for the best if you’re an atheist) that you pull this off without any major catastrophes. You must have a pretty cool wife and understanding kids to permit your adventure. Just mentioning this to my wife sent her to depcon 5 panic mode (though she would probably come around someday…I’ll just blame my regret on her… yeh, that’s what I’ll do). So let’s see how high I can go in life without a fancy degree…hell, some of the best architects from long ago were self taught (I feel better now). In the mean time I’ll operate at my slightly above sub-critical level with hopes of achieving criticality.

      If I ever run into anyone (with a lot of money to give) that needs a web site designed I’ll send them your way. Man, you need to start a fundraiser ASAP! Again, take care and maybe I’ll see in the water someday (when I’m like 80 and get my life back).


      P.S. We’ll be watching you…. so don’t screw this up!!! ;)

      Oct 28, 04 5:39 pm  · 

      Thanks Bula. Admittedly, I took a curious tone last night, but being here at SCI-Arc can do that to people. If I can say anything, my wife is amazing and has been the most supportive of my goals for our family and the career I am building to support us. In addition, at least half the reason I am in graduate school is to show my kids that they can do it. No one in my family, including my wife's, has attended graduate school -- and very, very few have undergraduate degrees.

      Oct 28, 04 6:22 pm  · 
      Kadam- F

      sorry... this may not relate to ya topic, but let me bitch for once....

      what the hell EOM is thinking w/ SCI-FI...

      what a lame name it is..

      and this.."Directed by Jeffrey Inaba, Produced by Paul Nakazawa
      Adapted from the original screenplay by Michael Speaks;
      Executive Producer, Eric Owen Moss; Advisor, Ming Fung"... gosh.. what a great advertising campaign...

      there is no such a big different between this SCI-FI class and the previous MR+D class.... EOM, everyone know who build this program.. and u will not be able to take the credit from him....

      Nov 1, 04 3:03 pm  · 

      hey, it was humorous to see your fascination with plexus r+d. jordan williams, one of two principals of the firm, is my 3rd year studio teacher. i am not quite as enthralled. he is really pushing us to think the way he does and some of us feel pressured (?) by that and are slightly rebelling. i guess it takes an outsider to really appreciate the influence.

      i am also interested to know what his presentation to your school was like. during our first year, his firm slammed us with a rapid montage of indecipherable images on a large projector screen. i think it was a little early in our education for that type of presentation, as all he recieved were blank faces.

      Nov 5, 04 12:29 am  · 

      ya... we were slammed with three (3) huge screens at a time! just about all of us cheered at the end of the lecture. one screen was a high speed server dump of images. the other was some sci-fi animation related to their lecture concept. and last, was a slower "for client consumption" reel. they began with a comical drive thru some town talking about how lame the developments are and the state of architecture today. they ended with an engaging summary of the work and a q&a about the presentation and some of the work. honestly, i've seen a lot of lecture at SCI-Arc and this was one of the best, in my opinion.

      Nov 5, 04 5:46 am  · 

      Steve, I love your blog. You're doing a great (and accurate) job of representing the school. I just want to make one minor correction regarding the cost of attending sciarc. I am also in the 2.5 year program and it's fine to estimate that the tuition may be around $50k, but most if not all people also take out loans for living expenses, which can be another 13k per year. My loans are at about 70k total right now, and there are definitely people who took out more than me. School in general is very expensive, and if one is coming out of undergrad with a lot of loans, there is some wisdom to trying to get into a good state school like UCLA where you get Cali residency in one year, even while you're attending school.

      Sciarc is great, and I think it's totally worth it. But that's a decision everyone has to make for themselves.

      Nov 7, 04 4:15 pm  · 

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