Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

A school of architectural thinking

Los Angeles, CA

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SCI-Arc Director Hernan Diaz Alonso Wins American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture

By sciarcnews
Apr 18, '19 3:06 PM EST

Los Angeles, CA (April 18, 2019) – SCI-Arc is pleased to announce that SCI-Arc Director and CEO Hernan Diaz Alonso has been awarded the prestigious 2019 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture – a $10,000 prize given to an American architect whose work is recognized for its strong personal direction.

Founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading cultural contributors, the American Academy of Arts and Letters annually honors over 70 composers, artists, architects, and writers with awards and prizes ranging from $5000 to $100,000.

This year’s recipients were nominated by individuals within the Academy’s roster, and selected from a group of 33 nominees by committees comprised of Academy members. The jurors were Annabelle Selldorf, Henry N. Cobb, Kenneth Frampton, Steven Holl, Thom Mayne, Laurie Olin, James Polshek, Billie Tsien, and Tod Williams.

Diaz Alonso is a graduate of the National University of Rosario in Argentina and the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University, founded Los Angeles-based HAD-x creative agency (formerly Xefirotarch) in 2001, and assumed the directorship of SCI-Arc in 2015. 

He received the AR+D Award for Emerging Architecture and a Progressive Architecture Award  in 2013 for his Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Patagonia, Argentina. His work has been featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the London Architecture Biennale, ArchiLab in Orleans, France, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, as well as in solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Art Institute of Chicago, and MAK Centre, Vienna.   

Architect and juror Thom Mayne remarked that Diaz Alonso “occupies a pivotal position from which to influence the future of architecture,” he said. “His work blurs the lines of architecture, animation, and design, exhibiting a dark and aesthetic edge.”

Diaz Alonso is honored alongside 2011 Pritzker Prize winner Eduardo Souto de Moura, Mario Gooden and Mabel O. Wilson, Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon, and Anne Rieselbach.

Winners will receive their awards at a ceremony in May, and their work will be on display at the Academy’s galleries in New York in the show Ceremonial Exhibition: Work by New Members and Recipients of Awards.

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. U.S. DesignIntelligence recently ranked SCI-Arc #4 in Graduate Programs Most Admired by Deans and Chairs in its 2018 America’s Best Architecture Schools survey. SCI-Arc’s Undergraduate program ranked #8 in the DesignIntelligence 2018 survey. SCI-Arc is located at 960 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.