Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

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Hernan Diaz Alonso Appointed Next Director of SCI-Arc

By sciarcnews
Sep 18, '14 8:22 PM EST

The Board of Trustees of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) last week appointed Hernan Diaz Alonso, architect and educator, as the Los Angeles architecture school’s new Director beginning September 2015.

Diaz Alonso will succeed architect Eric Owen Moss, SCI-Arc director since 2002, whose term concludes next year. The appointment was announced by Jerold B. Neuman, chairman of the SCI-Arc Board of Trustees. “It is my honor to announce that the Board of Trustees has finalized its search for the next Director of SCI-Arc, and after over a decade of extraordinary service by Eric Owen Moss, we are placing SCI-Arc’s future in the amazing mind, heart and hands of Hernan Diaz Alonso,” said Neuman. “We are committed to maintaining the trajectory of the school and, in the coming year, will be reaching out to alumni and supporters around the world, celebrating the great work that has been done by the current administration and providing the best possible platform from which Hernan can continue to move SCI-Arc forward and, in fact, accelerate its momentum.”

 “SCI-Arc’s task, in perpetuity, is to go where we haven’t been, and report on what we find,” said SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss. “Hernan Diaz Alonso is the perfect architect to continue this expedition.” 

 A faculty member at SCI-Arc since 2001, Diaz Alonso 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 recent years.

“SCI-Arc is a unique institution and I feel fortunate for being able to call it home for the past 13 years,” said Diaz Alonso in an address to faculty, students and alumni. “Our school is an ambitious institute, and I share this ambition to showcase to the world the many different ways in which architecture and design can change it.”

While serving as Graduate Programs Chair, Hernan Diaz Alonso worked alongside SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss, Academic Affairs Director Hsinming Fung and Undergraduate Programs Chair John Enright to successfully oversee a school recognized worldwide for its research and exploratory tradition. Together, they guided SCI-Arc in establishing a global standard for architecture education in the 21st century, ensuring a clear vision for the school and a solid reputation among peer institutions.

In parallel to his role at SCI-Arc, Hernan Diaz Alonso is Principal of the Los Angeles-based architecture office Xefirotarch. His multidisciplinary practice is praised for work at the intersection of design, animation, interactive environments and radical exploration of architecture. Over the course of his career as an architect and educator, Diaz Alonso has earned accolades for his leadership and innovation, as well as his ability to build partnerships among varied constituencies. In 2005, he was the winner of MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program (YAP) competition, and in 2012 he received the “Educator of the Year” Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Most recently, he won the 2013 AR+D Award for Emerging Architecture and a 2013 Progressive Architecture Award for his design of the Thyssen Bornamiza Pavilion/Museum in Patagonia, Argentina.

Diaz Alonso’s architectural designs have been featured in exhibitions at the Venice Architecture Biennale, London Architecture Biennale, and Archilab in Orleans, France, as well as displayed in featured exhibitions in leading architecture museums such as the New York MoMA, SFMOMA, Art Institute of Chicago and the MAK Centre, Vienna. The work has also been widely published in magazines, periodicals and multiple books, including the “Excessive” monograph of Xefirotarch. The office is currently working on a new monograph to be published by Thames and Hudson. Diaz Alonso’s work is also part of the permanent collections of the FRAC Center, SFMOMA, New York MoMA, the Thyssen Bornamiza Collection, the MAK Museum, Vienna, and Art Institute of Chicago.

A gifted educator, Diaz Alonso 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 the GSAPP at Columbia University 2004-2010, an ongoing appointment as architectural design professor in the Urban Strategies Postgraduate Program at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and as Distinguished Faculty Member at SCI-Arc. In spring 2015, he will serve as Yale University’s Eero Saarinen Professor of Architectural Design.