Is sciarc worth it?


Hi everyone,

Currently I’m transferring from a cc to uni for Barch and I want some professional or current student opinion on sci arc and cal poly SLO.

I was accepted by Cal Poly Pomona, Pratt, Woodbury, Cal poly and sciarc, while waiting on USC and Cornell. For now, I narrowed down to SLO and sciarc as they place me third year and both programs are interesting (sciarc a bit more). However, I have read and heard many people saying after graduating from sciarc there will be hard time being employed and upon visiting the school, some work looks somewhat “similar”. So, there are those concern. As for cal poly, it’s more about the area is located and technical style of architecture. 

I would want a school that’s somewhat well rounded with more design focus. Also, that would help me getting into international firms if needed as I’m an international student and there’s a low chances staying in the US. 

Thank you for the feedbacks and opinions. 

Apr 17, 19 12:12 pm
bass assassin

Depends on what you want to do. If you want to practice architecture in anything like the conventional sense, go to SLO. If you want to talk about architecture, pursue academia, or get into animation (and you can pay the hefty surcharge) SCI-Arc is probably the better choice.

With respect to "design focus" it depends on what you mean. At SCI-Arc you will design buildings that don't look like buildings. At SLO you will. Both produce good designers.

Apr 17, 19 8:36 pm

In the future, I would still want to have my design or work on the design to be built. As for "design focus", I would say involving conceptual thinking as an way of designing for my projects or for others (somehow like what sci-arc is doing but less avant garde). I'm just concern that after graduating from sci-arc, I will no longer to find the in-between of concept and reality when comes to design. 

I wish both school gives the freedom to students to explore what they want to explore 


many of my co-workers came from both SLO and SCI-Arch

the SLO grads go into production and the SCI Archs go into design

Do you want to build buildings or just design them?

Apr 17, 19 9:10 pm

Could you give me some detail on what do the production team, while the design team do?

I would want to get be in design, while still getting it to be built. 


The design philosophies of the school are entirely different. I won’t say that one is better than the other, but think you should try to sit in on a review at each school. Much of what happens and is discussed at SCI-Arc is speculative and arguably irrelevant, and much of what one sees at SLO is tragically banal. But both schools produce plenty of talented alumni running design firms. And I would bet that for every SLO graduate doing production work in an architecture firm there is a SCI-Arc grad doing production work in an animation studio...

Apr 18, 19 3:35 pm

if by any chance, what might be the downside that you often see from students graduating from either of the schools?


It's going to be a generalization with multitudes of exceptions, but recent SLO students seem to know so much about the nuts and bolts of building that sometimes they never get to the big idea; we've had a couple SCI-Arc graduates that were experts at rendering but didn't know what a standard interior partition was made out of... Whichever one you go to, I would encourage you to push yourself towards the other extreme in your personal time and internships.


since 90% of practice is in the production arena, and I've seen SCI-arch grads struggle here - In all due respect to SLO, I'm going to recommend CCA and Berkeley, where you get the best of both - co-workers from these two schools tend to fair best at both design and production 

Apr 19, 19 2:21 pm

Thank you for the opinion! I wonder what does CCA stands for?


Thank you for the opinion! I wonder what does CCA stands for?

atelier nobody

I've worked with multiple people from all but one of the schools you named, and have seen good and bad designers, and good and bad production architects, from all of them - what kind of architect you become has a lot more to do with you than with what school you went to.

The only advantage I see to "prestigious" schools is in the contacts and internship opportunities you can find there.

Whichever school you choose, when you get out into the world, try to get as much experience as you can in both design/visualization and production - run, don't walk, away from any firm that wants to pigeonhole you in your first 5 years. Well-rounded architects make better designers and production architects.

Apr 19, 19 2:43 pm

CCA? California College of the Arts - San Francisco and Oakland

Apr 19, 19 4:54 pm

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