SCI-arc Director Search Questionin​g Committee


SCI-arc Student Body:

In both the immediate SCI-Arc community and Architecture as a whole, a condition has emerged where all those involved have become a shattered group of individuals, unable to join cohesively in order to communicate about the issues directly at hand. This threatens our position as a student body, as we are, inherently responsible for the progression of the field of Architecture we stand to inherit. In a way, it is our duty to consolidate our many abilities so that we can actively take some action in the events that emerge before us. This letter is therefore a call to the student body to gather productively to discuss how we may engage ourselves as a constituency of Architecture.


SCI-arc Students

Jun 30, 14 3:27 am
Specific language please?
Jun 30, 14 9:30 am

Take your proposal to the current administration.  

Jun 30, 14 12:14 pm

Why not sign your names instead of sounding like a passive aggressive nondescript lobby with no sway?

Jun 30, 14 5:03 pm

Interesting that for all of Moss's rhetoric to the contrary that SCI-Arc is still run like Animal Farm.  But to bugsmetoo's point, it would be substantially better to come out into the light and sign your names to a petition: it's hard to take an appeal to openness seriously when the petitioners are themselves anonymous.

It's just school - if you mean it, this is the time to make noise and stir things up while you don't need to worry about losing your job or feeding your kids!

Jun 30, 14 5:59 pm

I think everyone knows who it might be. 

Jun 30, 14 10:35 pm

As a student of SCI-Arc I find this embarrassing and immature. This is simply a small group of loud students in the institution who substitute their lack of creativity and hardwork with constant strings of over dramatized complaints. This is their only way to make themselves feel meaningful within the institution which is rather competitive.

The letter is poorly written, it automatically jumps to conclusions and makes demands instead of first asking questions to clarify the situation. The letter was first posted on Facebook and Archinect with a focus of calling out the committee chair and to complain. It is fine to voice an opinion and request communication, but it is concerning a small group of students are parading as the official spokesperson of the entire student body and hiding behind anonymity when they have no understanding of really anything. 

Jul 1, 14 3:25 am

Sciarcstudent, I agree entirely with everything you've said.

I'm embarrassed that this letter, which is written in such a way that it claims to speak for the entire student body, was sent to the board of directors. I would appreciate it if the small, anonymous group posting this everywhere (and yes, it's obvious who you are) would stop. This is a poor representation of my class and peers, almost all of whom are fantastic to work with and wouldn't want to be spoken for like this.

Jul 1, 14 5:01 am

^ So, as current SCI-arc students, are either of you ok w/ how this has gone down?

Speaking from the Alumni perspective, most (as noted by the AC reps) have been pretty disconcerted with how, after all the effort and time was put into vetting criteria, etc. the decision was 'made' in a matter of weeks (at a time when the larger student body was absent). This, in spite of Jerry/Jamie's implied promises to the contrary re: due process and discourse via presentation. It certainly clarifies the fact that it was a pre-determined choice, and the BoD and Admin. oversight were never interested in entertaining something other than the status quo.

Keep in mind the school has been around for 4 decades and there is a larger legacy out there. EOM, throughout his 3 terms, did a pretty impressive job at alienating all but the current crop of students. A pretty depressing era when you can't count on Alumni donations (time or money) and (for concise example) the 20-year Reunion consciously decides to not involve current Admin. Lack of trust all around.

Jul 1, 14 1:39 pm

Faculty and chair search committees are some of the most political and contentious groups imaginable.  Students who get overly involved are wasting precious energy on something over which they have zero control.

Instead, focus on something over which you have a great deal of control:  your studio work, your studies, and your research.

Toss the petition.  Go to a museum.  Read a book.  Do a beautiful sketch.

(And if you insist on continuing your quest, get someone to proofread and correct your writing.  Poor, error-prone writing only hurts your case.)

Jul 1, 14 2:34 pm

Hernan Diaz Alonzo is wierd xD

Jul 1, 14 4:20 pm

Get some good, established Director, not idiots (like currently chosen)

Jul 1, 14 10:24 pm

I read through the letter and personally do not think it is attacking anyone or complaining. Instead, I see a group of young students asking for their rights. However, it is disappointing to see some individuals are purely interested in condemning the students who bring up the topic instead of being concerned about what the issue really is and how to repair the trust and communication between the students and the school. Instead of encouraging open and constructive discussion, some comments are obviously trying to shut people up. 

Jul 1, 14 11:47 pm

Kudos to those students willing to speak up.   It is dangerous when the governing body  works in secrecy and there is mistrust.  It is harmful when a particular group or person is in power for too long.  We were in a similar situation during my undergrad - a director making appointments without approval of the student body, a director controlling the position for almost 2 decades, faculty made up of mainly friends, some with questionable background etc.  Had it not been some brave students who spoke up, there would've been no change, money still squandered, little progress to the school given the old mindset some faculty function on etc.  Do not feel afraid to speak up students even though it might be hard considering it could be profs you deal with or your own director.  There must be accountability. Remember, you pay them to work for you.  Not the other way around.

Jul 2, 14 8:03 am

Is this true that Hernan Diaz Alonzo has been selected as the next director? If so an unfortunate choice I think.......I believe the students are right to question this choice. 

Jul 2, 14 6:57 pm

^his work looks like something Patrick Schumacher would produce after a 3 day crystal meth binge.   

Jul 3, 14 4:27 am

From a comment above

"This is simply a small group of loud students in the institution who substitute their lack of creativity and hardwork with constant strings of over dramatized complaints"

Hermetic school comment

I could care less about how hard you think you work and how creative you think are compared to other students.  What I do care about is the school I went to and it's reputation.   

The fact is Hernan, as director, would be a disaster.  He's never ran a business, never built anything, and has relied on free student "collaborations" for years. He's seen as clown jester.  It's an embarrassment for the school. 
Say what you want about Moss but at least he's legitimate. 

I would like to here what the two SCIArc students who posted above have to say.  

Jul 3, 14 5:33 pm
led signal light

you need to take your protests to street, otherwise this is just a dishwasher.

your options:

boycott the classes

occupy directors office

disrupt board of directors meeting


stop pussyfooting and take some action or it sounds like a personal attack on someone and it will get you nowhere. make your case and determination heard loud and clear. show your power. without you there is no SCI Arc.

look into what the students did in cooper union!

Jul 5, 14 6:32 am

"we can actively take some action in the events that emerge before us" Remedial English for you. Also, gotta love the "we are responsible for the progression of the field of architecture" line. No ego there.

Jul 5, 14 7:45 am
led signal light

probably your biggest challenge is to build a consensus or at least a voiceful group among the student body. as i understand many of them are pumped up to believe (for business purposes) they are the god's gift to architecture and sci arc is their temple. you need to demystify that false premise first.

Jul 5, 14 8:12 am

Appleseed, BBL, jwl, and others-

While the letter is written as if it represents the student body, this simply isn't the case.  Personally, I don't know a single person who heard about the letter before it was sent to the board of trustees on our collective behalf. For this reason, some of my peers and I would, in fact, like to condemn the student who wrote it. One would have hoped this discussion would start within the student body before plastering a letter  (signed, "SCI-Arc students, concerned constituents") across the internet, as it seems a lot of students disagree with its contents. This is a poor way to encourage "open and constructive discussion."

This letter should have been presented as an opportunity to constructively discuss the search process, not as a demand that decisions are reversed and the process is reopened. Anything less misrepresents a significant portion of the student body in an egregious and offensive way.


(As an aside, I think a lot of people (both students and those posting here) are judging the selection in an odd way. I'm not interested in supporting a specific candidate right now, and I don't want to voice an opinion either way. However, I would like to point out that many within the school think Hernan was very successful as the head of the graduate program. We would know more if we had seen the presentation, but I would imagine the position has a lot more to do with managing an academic program than it does managing an office. In my opinion, candidates should be judged more on their ability to bring a wide range of architectural biases to the table, as Moss did, than their objectives with their professional practice.)

Jul 5, 14 2:04 pm
No one posting to this thread is actually a sci arc student.
Jul 6, 14 12:49 pm

Hernan has his place in the discourse - definitely.  But as the next director of SciArc? WTF!?!?


Does he even have any built work?! His entire schtick of digital formalism justified through some linking of the newest theorist is so fucken old.  Seriously, WTF!

Jul 6, 14 11:51 pm

Can someone please talk about what the situation and backstory is here? Assume there might be people reading this who don't live and breathe LA architecture culture all day.

Jul 8, 14 2:38 am


Jul 10, 14 1:38 am

Hernan is a digital artist (an intelligent one at that...I would never consider him an architect - the guy has never even built anything - check out his company's website).

Just got this email from SciArc:



Dear SCI-Arc Community,


On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Director Search Committee, I am pleased to inform you that the SCI-Arc Board of Trustees recently acted on the recommendation of the Director Search Committee to approve Hernan Diaz Alonso as the next Director of SCI-Arc beginning September 2015. The contract should be completed and approved by the Board at its upcoming September meeting. At that time, we will make a formal announcement of Hernan's appointment.


In the meantime, for those of you who were unable to watch the live webcast of the Director selection presentation on June 18, we are making a recording of that presentation available on vimeo through the end of the month. You may access it here:


Hernan is a remarkable individual whose qualities and qualifications were completely in line with those that the SCI-Arc community so uniformly stated were vital for the next Director. We look forward to finalizing the contracting process and being able to make our formal announcement in September."


What a fucken joke - i was really hoping that this was just speculation and not reality.  As an alumni, I've got to admit that I'm very disappointed...

Is SciArc nothing more than a digital arts school now?

Jul 10, 14 4:47 pm

Can anyone summarize what the story is here?

Jul 10, 14 5:15 pm

@ Fred, 

Some chickenshit person or group of students (maybe) wrote an anonymous letter asking the SCI-arc administration to reconsider their decision to eliminate Wes Jones from the potential pool of applicants to become the next director of the school.

An e-mail went out today that Hernan Diaz Alonso has been approved as director starting in September.

He is a controversial choice for sure, but I think it will work out well. One day, he might have a scenic, geographic feature named in his honor like Lake Denari.

Jul 10, 14 5:54 pm


I think the basic story is that SCI-arc has been going through the motions of vetting and searching for a new director for the past year. Most of that process seems disingenuous since the Board of Directors announced today that they chose Hernan Diaz Alonso, a long time faculty member, the position.

The initial post is by a SCI-Arc student who raises the issue providing a transparent selection process to the student body and alumi.

Among other things, it seems the administration did not consider any academic professionals outside the schools current faculty in the final phase, and did not deliver the live broadcast  of the final candidates' interview by the board (as promised.)

It sounds like most students don't question the stature of HDA as a designer, but find him to be a weak candidate with no history of managing and financially steering an academic institution. 

I could editorialize further, but I think my opinion is implicit.

Jul 10, 14 6:05 pm

*definitely checks off Sci-Arc for list of schools not to attend for Masters*

Jul 10, 14 9:32 pm

So it was between two internal candidates? Doesn't Wes Jones teach there, too? I thought they were clear about prioritizing people who were involved with the school already?

Jul 10, 14 11:31 pm

There was a very narrow definition for 'internal candidate'. Wes and Hernan both ticked the required boxes. Only one was given the opportunity to present at large, as (from multiple POVs) the Selection Committee and Board of Directors had already predetermined the successor.

If that's what it is, fine - but to make up the whole 9 mo. song and dance about qualifications, vetting candidates, and having a discourse amongst the stakeholders, is completely alienating. Which is the last thing the Admin. and BoD should be doing to their various (former) student bodies.

Jul 11, 14 4:34 pm

And to ammend chigurh, Hernan's contract will be formally recognized in Sept., but he will not start tenure until fall of 2015. There's still a whole 'nother year of EOM.

Jul 11, 14 4:37 pm

This is a worrisome appointment. Hernan may be smart, he may be a good guy, but really he is more a cartoonist than an architect. This is the first time SCI-arc has had a so called "paper architect" as a director and I can't figure out why anyone thinks such a shift is a good idea.  There is nothing more exciting than a great building that is actually built. Why have a director who doesn't engage in building buildings especially at a school located in a city where so much real building actually takes place?

Jul 12, 14 11:49 am
el jeffe
what had denari built before his short-lived tenure?
Jul 12, 14 1:53 pm

Good question. At that point Denari had built at least a house and an eyeglass store and as far as I know at least had the intention of building real buildings.  Plus Denari worked in actual architecture offices when he was younger (has Hernan?) and is licensed. 

Jul 12, 14 3:30 pm

I think that's the difference.  I have never seen any evidence that HDA was interested in building or talking about architecture in any sense that someone besides himself might recognize it.  

Jul 12, 14 3:34 pm

Hernan has publicly stated multiple times he's not interested in building (in the real-world, architectural sense most take it to mean).

Jul 12, 14 8:28 pm

I don't question the validity of Hernan's personal interests, but that makes it even more of a curious choice at a time when NAAB and NCARB both seem to be pushing to make education more relevant to practice and serving the community.  Perhaps he's a great fundraiser or manager.  Or maybe it's that anything is better than EOM's conservativism under the guise of formal avant-gardism -  I don't think the school can become more intellectually homogenous and unwelcoming of dissent than it has been under his regime.  Meet the new boss, not the same as the old boss?

Jul 13, 14 4:07 pm

I'm happy to give him credit where due, and would love to be proven wrong re: reasonable candidate for the schools Directorship. Having him as a core professor for my grad. start at SCIarc was pretty eyeopening and sharpened my perspective (though maybe in the opposite direction he would have preferred).

But Janosh, I do not think anyone around here is expecting the tides to change noticeably as leadership transitions from Eric to Hernan. That is probably the bigger disappointment over the 'Selection' Committee charade.

Jul 13, 14 5:51 pm

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