Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

A school of architectural thinking

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SCI-Arc Celebrates Public Release of Book Sessions, Volume 2

By sciarcnews
Oct 10, '19 1:39 PM EST

Los Angeles, CA (October 10, 2019) – SCI-Arc is delighted to announce the upcoming launch of its newest publication, Sessions, Volume 2, a book comprised of a series of speculative conversations between editor Ramiro Diaz-Granados and a selection of SCI-Arc faculty, including Kristy Balliet, Mira Henry, M. Casey Rehm, and Maxi Spina. It is also the continuation of the first volume of Sessions, published by SCI-Arc Press in 2005.  

Sessions, Volume 2  was spearheaded by Diaz-Granados, the premise of which was to challenge four SCI-Arc faculty to remake one of their own projects with an alternate set of parameters as proposed by Diaz-Granados (also SCI-Arc faculty). Rather than discuss their entire bodies of work, Diaz-Granados selected a single project from each participant to discuss in interview form. In the book, this framework functions to examine, through the interview format, how each of the participants negotiates constraints—both internal and external—and evaluates how to carve out a conceptual space of independence among them. It is also an attempt to unravel what Diaz-Granados refers to as “the Gordian knot that is the decision-making process of design.” In so doing, the book documents four specific takes on what constitutes contemporary thought and practice.

“The thinking here is to use the single project in two distinct ways,” says Diaz-Granados. “The first is as a vehicle to explore the diversity of their interests, the range of their influences, and the specificities of their decision-making processes. The second is for them to reimagine their projects within a new set of constraints.” According to Diaz-Granados, Sessions 2 looks at the role of constraints in practice and pedagogy, and how designers—specifically those featured in this book—negotiate this framework as directly or indirectly related to their ideas about autonomy and freedom. “These projects were selected because they each were, in a sense, incomplete, and primarily driven by intrinsic parameters,” he explains. “The challenge was to come up with a simple set of constraints that would nudge them away from their comfort zones to track how they each negotiated the terrain between extrinsic demands and intrinsic desires, and to document through conversation the logic behind their decisions. They were asked to treat this exercise as a sketch.” In addition to the interviews, the publication also includes an essay with correlated diagrams by Joe Day that ties together the first and second volume, as well as an introduction by SCI-Arc Director and CEO Hernan Diaz Alonso.

“The main purpose of architecture is to conceptualize and challenge the culture of disciplines from all possible angles,” contributes Diaz Alonso. “The work and the practitioners featured in this second volume of Sessions not only represent some of the strongest individual perspectives among the architectural discourse at SCI-Arc and within the speculative field at large, but also invite us to imagine and engage this process with both a deliberate, rigorous exploratory spirit and relentless optimism.”

Sessions, Volume 2 will be released on November 1, with a reception held at the SCI-Arc Steps from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.