Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Los Angeles, CA


Announcing Close-up: A SCI-Arc Gallery Exhibition

By sciarcnews
Jan 28, '16 1:53 PM EST

Media Inquires: Stephanie Atlan,, 213-356-5395


Curated by Hernan Diaz Alonso and David Ruy


March 11 – May 29, 2016

Friday, March 11, 7pm: Opening reception in the SCI-Arc Gallery

Friday, March 25, 7pm: Discussion with Hernan Diaz Alonso, David Ruy and Mark Garcia



Los Angeles, CA (January 28, 2016) -- SCI-Arc is pleased to announce the launch of Close-up, a public exhibition opening Friday, March 11 in the SCI-Arc Gallery. The exhibition will examine the impact of digital technologies on the architectural detail and the traditions of tectonic expression associated with it. Curated by Hernan Diaz Alonso and David Ruy, the exhibition features 16 prototypes designed by practitioners from a broad range of disciplines. The exhibition remains open through May 29.

“Out of the many critical shifts that the discipline has gone through in the last 25 years with the explosion of new technologies and digital means of production, the notion of the construction detail has been largely overlooked,” Diaz Alonso said. “This show attempts to shed light on the subject of tectonic details by employing a fluid and dynamic movement of zooming in and zooming out in the totality of the design.”

An often overlooked condition of digital design technologies is the ability to design objects through continuous degrees of magnification. The consequences of this very basic fact are more significant than we may realize. The traditional premise that some architectural ideas only reside at standardized scales of magnification at this point is nostalgic. This exhibition proposes that technological advancements have resulted in a transformation of how architectural ideas unfold at different degrees of resolution and that tectonics might mean something very different in the 21st century. Related to this new power of computer assisted observation for both the author and the audience of architecture is the blurring of the boundaries between the virtual and the real and the mutual imbrications of concepts with materials. Ranging from the cinematic to the clinical, the transition from the architectural detail to the architectural close-up implies new formal logics and new modes of reception. This exhibition will survey some of the pioneers of this way of thinking about architecture after the digital and examine recent work by emerging architects that are continuing this important investigation.

Close-up features projects from:

Nurit Bar-Shai / Nurit Bar-Shai Studio

Ben van Berkel & Caroline Bos / UNStudio

Neil M. Denari / Neil M. Denari Architects

Frank Gehry / Gehry Partners

John Enright & Margaret Griffin / Griffin Enright Architects

Ferda Kolatan + Erich Schoenenberger / su11 architecture+design    

Greg Lynn / Greg Lynn FORM         

Steven Ma / Xuberance       

Elena Manferdini / Atelier Elena Manferdini              

Thom Mayne / Morphosis

Lucy McRae / Lucy McRae Studio   

Dwayne Oyler & Jenny Wu / Oyler Wu Collaborative

Marcelo Spina & Georgina Huljich / P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S

Theodore Spyropoulos & Stephen Spyropoulos / Minimaforms        

Tom Wiscombe / Tom Wiscombe Architecture

Michael Young & Kutan Ayata / Young & Ayata




Hernan Diaz Alonso assumed directorship of SCI-Arc in September 2015. A faculty member at the school since 2001, he has served in several leadership roles including Coordinator of the Graduate Thesis program from 2007-2010, and Graduate Programs Chair from 2010 until the present. He has been widely credited with spearheading the transition of SCI-Arc to digital technologies, playing a key role in shaping the school’s graduate curriculum. In parallel to his role at SCI-Arc, Diaz Alonso is Principal of the Los Angeles-based Xefirotarch, a multidisciplinary practice praised for work at the intersection of design, animation, interactive environments and radical exploration of architecture. A gifted educator, he has been acknowledged throughout the years with prestigious appointments such as Yale University’s Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professorship of Architectural Design in 2010, Visiting Design Studio Faculty at Columbia GSAPP from 2004-2010, and an ongoing appointment in the Urban Strategies Postgraduate Program at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. In spring 2015, he served as Yale University’s Eero Saarinen Professor of Architectural Design. 


David Ruy is an architect, theorist, and director of Ruy Klein. David received his M.Arch degree from Columbia University and his BA degree from St. John’s College where he studied philosophy and mathematics. Ruy Klein examines contemporary design problems at the intersection of architecture, nature, and technology. Encompassing a wide array of experimentation, Ruy Klein’s projects study the mutual imbrications of artificial and natural regimes that are shaping an ever more synthetic world. The work of Ruy Klein has been widely published and exhibited and has been the recipient of numerous awards recognizing the firm as one of the leading experimental practices in architecture today. Their work is part of the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City and The Frac Centre in Orléans, France.




Nurit Bar-Shai is an interdisciplinary artist who works at the intersection of art, science and technology. She is the co-founder of Genspace NYC, a community biotech lab in Brooklyn, NY. As an artist and educator working with biological systems, she conducts experiments through creative collaborative inquiries and addresses the ethics and the emerging practices of Do It Yourself biology and citizen-science. Her work looks into microbial communication systems and social networks, collective collaborations and emergence systems, soft-genetic manipulation and biomaterial fabrication. Bar-Shai is a contributor to the Leonardo ebook: Meta-Life: Biotechnologies, Synthetic Biology, ALife and the Arts. She is the co-curator of the BioArt exhibition Cut/Paste/Grow. Her work is featured in the book BioDesign: Nature, Science, Creativity published by The Museum of Modern Art. Bar-Shai is currently an Artist in Residence at Epibone, a bioengineering NYC startup that grows bone tissue for skeletal reconstruction. Her artwork could be found at Genspace at



UNStudio, founded in 1988 by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, is a Dutch architectural design studio specializing in architecture, urban development and infrastructural projects. The name, UNStudio, stands for United Network Studio referring to the collaborative nature of the practice. Throughout more than 25 years of international project experience, UNStudio has continually expanded its capabilities through prolonged collaboration with an extended network of international consultants, partners, and advisors across the globe. This network, combined with the centrally located offices in Amsterdam, Shanghai and Hong Kong, enables UNStudio to work efficiently anywhere in the world. With already over 85 projects in Asia, Europe, and North America, the studio continues to expand its global presence with recent commissions in among others China, South-Korea, Qatar, Germany and the UK. As a network practice, a highly flexible methodological approach has been developed which incorporates parametric designing and collaborations with leading specialists in other disciplines. The office has worked internationally since its inception and has produced a wide range of work ranging from public buildings, infrastructure, offices, residential, products, to urban masterplans.



Neil M. Denari Architects is a Los Angeles based office dedicated to exploring the worlds of architecture, design, urbanism, and global cultural phenomenon. We have been working across multiple continents since 1988, designing at all scales for a variety of clients and conditions. We seek out projects that demand new and innovative solutions to the complex issues facing the world today. Whether in a piece of furniture or in an urban design plan, our ambitions always are to materialize these questions in a powerful, evocative, and functional way. The work of the office has become, over the last 15 years, an influential force in the culture of contemporary architecture. Today, we continue to develop through new projects our repertoire of design possibilities.



Gehry Partners, LLP is a full service firm with broad international experience in academic, commercial, museum, performance, and residential projects. Frank Gehry established his practice in Los Angeles, California in 1962. The Gehry partnership, Gehry Partners, LLP, was formed in 2001 and currently supports a staff of over 120 people. Gehry Partners employs a large number of senior architects who have extensive experience in the technical development of building systems and construction documents, and who are highly qualified in the management of complex projects. Every project undertaken by Gehry Partners is designed personally and directly by Frank Gehry. All of the resources of the firm and the extensive experience of the firm’s partners are available to assist in the design effort and to carry this effort forward through technical development and construction administration. The firm relies on the use of Digital Project, a sophisticated 3D computer modeling program originally created for use by the aerospace industry, to thoroughly document designs and to rationalize the bidding, fabrication, and construction processes.



The Los Angeles-based firm of Griffin Enright Architects, established in 2000 by Margaret Griffin and John Enright fuses interests in innovation and experimentation with a desire to explore the built environment relative to cultural complexities. Their work transcends the traditional scope of architectural practice, underscoring connections to the surrounding urban fabric and landscape – allowing urban context, architecture, and landscape to be experienced in new unanticipated ways. In addition to guiding a progressive practice, Margaret and John teach design and technology courses at SCI-Arc where John is the Vice Director/Chief Academic Officer. The firm is the recipient of numerous awards for design excellence including the 2006 American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum. The firm’s work has also been published and exhibited extensively in national and international publications and exhibitions and is included in the permanent collection of the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art (MAK) in Vienna, Austria and they were also recent participants in the “New Sculpturalism” exhibition at MOCA.



Ferda Kolatan is the founding director of su11 architecture+design in New York City. He received his Architectural Diploma with distinction from the RWTH Aachen and his Masters in Architecture from Columbia University where he was the recipient of the LSL Memorial Price and the Honor Award for Excellence in Design. Ferda’s teaching resume includes Columbia University, Cornell University, RPI, Pratt, and IOUD among others. Currently he is a Senior Lecturer at PennDesign. In 2010 he co-authored the book, Meander: Variegating Architecture and in 2011 he was selected as a Young Society Leader by the American Turkish Society. Projects by su11 have been exhibited nationally and internationally at such venues as MoMA, Walker Art Center, Vitra Design Museum, Beijing and Istanbul Biennales, Carnegie Museum of Art, Archilab, Art Basel, Documenta X, Artists Space, PS1 and the Siggraph and Acadia conferences. Publications of their work include Archilab’s Futurehouse, Space, Monitor, L’Arca, Arch+, AD, Dwell, Le Monde, NY Times, LA Times, Suedeutsche Zeitung, and Washington Post. 



Greg Lynn was born in 1964. He won a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, received the American Academy of Arts & Letters Architecture Award and was awarded a fellowship from United States Artists. Time Magazine named him one of 100 of the most innovative people in the world for the 21st century and Forbes Magazine named him one of the ten most influential living architects. He graduated from Miami University of Ohio with Bachelor of Environmental Design and Bachelor of Philosophy degrees and from Princeton University with a Master of Architecture degree. He is a founder and Chief Creative Officer of Piaggio Fast Forward, a company focusing on new forms of urban mobility connected to physical and information infrastructure. He also serves on the advisory boards of Gehry Technologies, Caustic Graphics, Curbside and California Carbon Industries. He is the author of nine books.



In 2010, Steven established his own experimental design studio “Xuberance”. Steven Ma was a design architect for Coop-himmelb(L)au in Vienna, specializing in digital visualizations, 3d management & productions. He was also the assistant professor in the "Excessive" post-graduate program at the University for Aplied Arts Vienna, Austria. He has worked as a lead designer for Xefirotarch in Los Angeles from 2006-2008. Born in Hong Kong, Steven holds a master of architecture degree from SCI-Arc in 2008, where he graduated with distinction and he has been awarded the AIA Henry Adams Medal and the Best Overall Graduated Thesis Award entitled “Xuberance: Liminal Form & Calligraphical Aesthetics”. He also holds a bachelor of architecture degree from Ryerson University in 2005, graduated with honor and awarded Best Thesis Award. Steven Ma has lectured at The Bartlett School of Architecture in 2011. He also did several advanced digital workshops which focus on digital design evolution and digital representational techniques at The Institute of Architecture in Dessau, Germany and The Institute of architecture in Wien, Austria.



Elena Manferdini, principal and owner of Atelier Manferdini, has over fifteen years of professional experience in art, architecture and education. In 2004 she founded Atelier Manferdini in Venice, CA and has completed projects in the US, Europe and Asia. Recently, she has been recognized for her design of the interior lobby and outdoor open space artwork for the Zev Yaroslavsky San Fernando Valley Family Support Center of LA County. Since 2003, Elena has been part of the design faculty at SCI-Arc, where she is now the Graduate Program Chair. Throughout the years Elena Manferdini was awarded the 2013 COLA Fellowship given by City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs to support the production of original artwork. In 2013 she received a Graham Award for architecture, the 2013 ACADIA Innovative Research Award of Excellence. In 2011 she was one of the recipients of the prestigious annual grants from the United States Artists (USA) in the category of architecture and design.



Morphosis is a collaborative architectural practice negotiating the technological, political, and cultural intersections of architecture, urbanism, and design. With projects built internationally, our work traverses a broad range of typologies, scales and contexts across the public and private sectors. Since its founding in 1972 by Design Director Thom Mayne, Morphosis has received 26 Progressive Architecture awards, over 100 American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards, and numerous other honors. Morphosis buildings and projects have been published extensively; the firm has been the subject of over 30 monographs and numerous exhibitions. We maintain offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Shenzhen, and site offices at projects world-wide.



Lucy McRae is a science fiction artist, director and world proclaimed body architect probing the frontiers of the body, health and human adaptability. Trained in classical ballet and interior design Lucy’s artistic study of technology began during her formative years at Philips Design, where she led the technology company’s far–future research lab. A broad portfolio that focused on emotional sensing, she developed stretchable electronics, an electronic tattoo and a range of emotional sensing dresses awarded TIME’s Best Inventions of 2007. Lucy McRae is a TED Fellow, inventor of the Swallowable Parfum and has spoken at Tribeca Film Festival, London’s Royal College of Physicians, Royal Albert Hall and BBC World Radio Service.



Dwayne Oyler received a B.Arch. from Kansas State University in 1996 and an M.Arch. from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design in 2001. He was awarded the Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill Traveling Fellowship in 1996. In 2000, Oyler established Oyler Wu Collaborative with Jenny Wu. Oyler has also worked in the office of Toshiko Mori, and has collaborated with Lebbeus Woods on several projects. At SCI-Arc, he teaches Design Studio and is the Undergraduate Thesis Coordinator. He has also taught at the school's Research Institute for Experimental Architecture in Vico Morcote, Switzerland. Prior to relocating to Los Angeles in 2004, he taught in the Thesis Design Studio program at Cooper Union for the Advancement for Arts and Sciences in New York City.


Jenny Wu received a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University and Master of Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design (2001). Prior to relocating to Los Angeles, she worked at various architectural offices, including Architecture Research Office and Gluckman Mayner Architects. Wu has previously taught core design studios at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. She was awarded the Clifford Wong Prize in Housing Design while at the Harvard, and was a Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill Traveling Fellowship finalist in 2001. Jenny Wu is a principal in the office of Oyler Wu Collaborative in Los Angeles, California.



Directed by Argentine-born Architects Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich, P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S gained international recognition for its subtle approach to architecture; one that seamlessly integrates advanced technology and computation with an extensive consideration of form, novel tectonics and innovative materials. P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S work has been exhibited and published worldwide, most notably at the Venice Biennale in Italy, the Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco MOMA and Vienna MAK Museum, where their work is also part of permanent collections. P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S has received numerous prizes and awards including AIA LA Honor Awards, AIA National Design Review Honorific Mention; first prizes in the competitions for the SCI-Arc Graduation Pavilion, a Temporary Pavilion for MOCA, the Vertical Garden at the Schindler House and recipients of the prestigious USA Fellowship.



Minimaforms was founded in 2002 by brothers Stephen and Theodore Spyropoulos as an experimental architecture and design practice. Using design as a mode of enquiry, the studio explores projects that enable new forms of communication. Embracing a generative and behavioral approach the studio develops open systems that construct participatory and interactive frameworks that engage the everyday. Their work has received international attention which have included nominations for the International Chernikhov Prize in architecture, named one of the top ten international public art installations by the Telegraph for their work Memory Cloud and most recently they were awarded best idea / creative work in the 5th Chinese International Beijing Biennale. Recent projects include two thematic pier landmarks and the illumination concept for a Renzo Piano’s master planned 760 acre National Park in Athens, a large scale land art work in Norway, a vehicle in collaboration with artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, a behavior based robotic installation for the FRAC Centre and immersive ephemeral environment for the city of Detroit. The work of Minimaforms has been acquired by the FRAC Centre, the Signum Foundation and the Archigram Archive, and has exhibited at MOMA, Barbican Centre, Onassis Cultural Centre, Detroit Institute of Arts and the ICA. Recent projects include two thematic pier landmarks and the illumination concept for a Renzo Piano’s master planned 760-acre National Park in Athens, a large-scale land art intervention in Norway, and a proposal for self-organizing model named Emotive City. They have been featured in international media including BBC, BBC radio, Robert Elms Show, Wired Magazine, Fast Company, Guardian, Blueprint, and Icon Magazine. They were named Creative Review’s “One to Watch.”



Tom Wiscombe, AIA, is an Architect living in Los Angeles. He is founder and principal of Tom Wiscombe Architecture, an internationally recognized design practice. His work stands out in terms of its mysterious figural features, its alluring graphic qualities, and its tectonic inventiveness. He is currently working on the Main Museum of Los Angeles Art with Developer Tom Gilmore in the historic core of Los Angeles, and recently won AIA awards for that project as well as the his Kinmen Passenger Service Center design. His work is part of the permanent collection of the FRAC Centre Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago, MoMA San Francisco, and MoMA New York.  Wiscombe is Chair of the B.Arch. Program and Senior Faculty member at SCI-Arc. Previously, Wiscombe worked for Coop Himmelb(l)au, where he was the right hand of Principal Wolf Prix for over 10 years.



Young & Ayata is a New York-based architectural design studio founded by Michael Young and Kutan Ayata in 2008. Their practice views the tensions, overlaps, and frictions created through multiple mediations as the conditions for an aesthetic of estranged realism in architecture. Michael is an Assistant Professor at The Cooper Union and Visiting Assistant Professor at Princeton University. Michael earned his M.Arch II degree in 2005 from Princeton University. He received his BArch in 1997 from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He is a registered architect in the State of New York. Kutan is a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute GAUD. Kutan was a fellow at Princeton University School of Architecture and earned his MArch degree in 2004. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture in 1999 from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. He is a registered architect in the Chamber of Architects in Turkey.


SCI-Arc exhibitions and public programs are made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs.

Public Programs

SCI-Arc public programs are subject to change beyond our control. For the most current information, please visit or call 213-613-2200.

Parking and Hours

The entrance to SCI-Arc's parking lot is at 350 Merrick Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013, between Traction Avenue and 4th Street in Los Angeles. The SCI-Arc Gallery is open daily from 10am–6pm; the Library Gallery is open daily from 12pm-6pm.

About SCI-Arc
Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is dedicated to educating architects who will imagine and shape the future. It is an independent, accredited degree-granting institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture. Located in a quarter-mile-long former freight depot in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles, the school is distinguished by its vibrant studio culture and emphasis on process. SCI-Arc’s approximately 500 students and 80 faculty members, most of whom are practicing architects, work together to re-examine assumptions, create, explore and test the limits of architecture. SCI-Arc faculty and leadership have garnered more than 500 national and international design awards and recognitions, including Progressive Architecture awards, American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards, and the prestigious Jencks and Pritzker architecture prizes. SCI-Arc is ranked 1st in computer applications and 4th in design in the 2014 America’s Best Architecture Schools survey from DesignIntelligence. SCI-Arc is located at 960 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.