Project Year
Project Type
Project Team
Educational, Academic
Herwig Baumgartner, Advisor
Scott Uriu, Advisor
Isabela De Sousa
Wan-Hsuan Kung
Andreina Pepe
Alexis Rosenthal
The SCI-Arc Expansion design epitomizes the institutional building typology as a pedagogical archetype. It understands, first and foremost, that an architecture school is a dialogue between production and theory. With few precedents, Western architecture schools have centered their designs around the importance of the studio space. The Expansion thus appeals to multiple work models: the open office, larger congregational spaces, as well as private study/lounge spaces inside the aperture "pods."

In order to maximize the interactivity between studios and other curricula, the design sought to physically intersect the building volumes and thus spatially dramatize the programmatic adjacencies. It subdivides the site into two formal conditions: the radial and the linear. The two conditions join around a central volume, which houses the library, auditorium, and gallery, representing the discourse and identity of the school. The interstitial membrane that joins the volumes hybridizes the circulation and informal presentation spaces--a nod to the "corridor" of SCI-Arc's second home, the old train depot located beside the Expansion site in downtown LA.
The project participates in the larger discussion of the aggregate building type, critiquing its formal ambitions in exchange for a programmatic drive. The result is that the identity of the design remains with the discourse-driving programs of the school--the library, auditorium, gallery, and presentation corridor--rather than with the formal discussions of silhouette, posture, and composition of parts. By addressing the project both inside and out, the building provides a highly-integrated social environment within the fabric of the Los Angeles Arts District for students, faculty, visitors, and passersby.