SCI-ARC SCREEN TEST, I SHALL RETURN

MATHEW AU

I FLEW DOWN TO LAX FROM OREGON , MET BY SCI-ARC STUDENTS JUSTIN ROTH AND RYAN EKSTROM, A COUPLE OF SPIRITED BEACH DUDES THAT RECEIVED MY ENDLESS DIALOG OF LA AND LIFE. THE SAVVY AGED PROFESSOR RETURNING TO HIS CITY OF YOUTH AND DREAMS, AND THE SCHOOL HE FOUNDED.

DEPOSITED AT DESIGN SENSITIVE STANDARD HOTEL WITH BERTOIA WIRE CHAIRS AND A LOUNGE WITH LARGE RECTANGULAR FOAM WRAPPED IN MAGENTA FABRIC, FRAMELESS CLEAR GLASS SHOWER EXPOSED IN THE GUEST ROOM.

THE KICK OFF NIGHT GATHERING WAS A ROOFTOP BAR , ATTIRE OF BLACK UNIFORMS OF HIP CLOTHING CALMED BY FREE DRINKS. THE JURORS SQUAWKING LIKE BLACK CROWS. JEFF KIPNES COMMENTING TO ME : “HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE FORTY YEARS TOO SOON?” A DYLAN RUSH. I STARED UPWARD AT THE SURROUNDING HIGH-RISE NIGHT SHOW, LIKE A HUGH FERRISS DRAWING CELEBRATION. A BIT DISCONCERTING SEEING THOSE ENDLESS CUBICLES FOR DRONE EXISTENCE.

PICKED UP SATURDAY MORNING BY FACULTY ALEX ZAGO WITH HIS BIMMER ROAD WARRIOR WITH A MISSING DOOR PANEL THAT EXPOSED THE GUTS OF WIRES, LATCHES , CRANKS ETC. TWO INCHES AWAY FROM MY FINEST CLOTHING. A WEALTH OF ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY FLOWING FORTH FROM HIM, CAN NOT REMEMBER MUCH, BUT HE EXPLAINED A LOT, BEING FROM DETROIT.

ARRIVAL AT SCI-ARC THIRD STREET PARKING LOT WITH A NEW ADDITION OF A TENSION SUN CANOPY FOR THE COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES. A STRETCH. A MOOT POINT SINCE THE CANOPY WAS ALREADY BUILT AND A DARLING TO ALL.

OYLER WU COLLABORATIVE

SETTING THE TONE, THE ENTRY HALL HAD A SCULPTURE OF WOOD DECOR EXPOSED CONSTRUCTION SIMILAR TO THE HULL OF A YACHT. INSTANTLY I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY THE IMAGES OF THE STUDENT GRADUATE THESIS PROJECTS HANGING ON THE WALLS. I AM A BIG FAN OF SYD MEAD, THE ART CENTER INDUSTRIAL GRADUATE RENDERER KNOWN FOR HIS US STEEL BOOKS AND BLADE RUNNER SET DESIGN. SOMEWHERE IN THE FACULTY A BOOK ON SYD MEAD IS BEING WRITTEN AND MEAD’S PRESENCE OF RENDERING TECHNIQUE WAS DOMINANT.

THE BREAKFAST SPREAD WAS FIRST RATE. INTRODUCTION OF THE JURY PARTICIPANTS WAS ENDLESS, SOME SIXTY FIVE OVER A TWO DAY PERIOD FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TO CRIT 75 PROJECTS. THE GROUPING OF TEN OR SO FOR EACH PRESENTATION. HEAD OF AA, DOMUS, RICE, ETC. ALL SHOWING THEIR STUFF. THEY SPENT A LOT OF TIME TALKING TO EACH OTHER DURING THE CRIT OF THE STUDENT WORK. THE STUDENTS NODDING THEIR HEADS. A GIBBERISH OF ARCHITECTONIC VERBIAGE. I PLAYED DIFFERENT ROLES, BUT THE ONE I SETTLED IN ON WAS THE ENLIGHTENED JIMMY STEWART. ” SUCKS, I AM A SIMPLE GUY AND WANT TO TALK IN DIRECT TERMS.” I SPENT A LOT OF TIME WITH MY HAND RAISED, IT WAS DIFFICULT TO GET A WORD IN EDGEWISE.

THE ENERGY AND PRODUCTS VARIED, BUT THE SKILLS WERE EXCELLENT IN VISUAL PRESENTATION. THREE MONTHS IS A SHORT TIME TO DO A THESIS AND I WAS IMPRESSED WITH WORK PRESENTED. THOM MAYNE COMMENTING TO ME THAT HE TRAVELS THE WHOLE WORLD OVER AND HE IS BLOWN AWAY WITH THE FANTASTIC SCI-ARC STUDENT WORK, THE BEST. POINTING TO THE GREAT JOB ERIC MOSS HAS DONE AT SCI-ARC. I BEING A SENSUAL VISUAL GUY, WAS SEDUCED BY THE RENDERINGS AND MODELS, BUT DIGGING INTO THE PROGRAMS, STRUCTURAL SYSTEMS, AND ECO CONCERNS REVEALED ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT. I THINK ERIC IS AWARE OF THIS AND IS SEEKING WAYS TO BRING THIS ABOUT. PROJECTS SHOULD BE A SYMPHONY OF DOVETAILED DESIGN CONCERNS, BUT IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO GET THEM ALL WORKING TOGETHER WITH STUDENT PROJECTS. SO THE KEY IS TO HAVE THE PATTERN OR THEME TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. ONCE THAT IT IS PLACE, THAT MAKES REFINING A LOT EASIER TO DEAL WITH, BECAUSE THE LOVE AFAIR WITH THE DESIGN IS ALREADY ESTABLISHED.

JUEWEI WANG

THOMAS CHANG

QING CAO

FABIAN HUTTLER

NICHOLAS POULOS

I WAS IMPRESSED BY JEFF KIPNES, THE ROGUE WORLD ARCHITECTURAL CRITIC, HE CAUGHT ME OFF GUARD WITH MY DESIRE TO SEE MORE GREEN AT SCI-ARC, BY COUNTERING WITH “WHY BE LIKE ALL THE REST OF THE SCHOOLS? I PREPARED MYSELF FOR THE NEXT DAYS OUTING ON HOW TO ANSWER JEFF’S TEASER COMMENT BETTER THAN I HAD, BUT THE OPPORTUNITY DID NOT ARISE. JEFF DID SET ME UP FOR A DELIGHTFUL TIME WITH ONE PROJECT OF AN ART NOUVEAU APPLICATION TO THE STERILE LA LIBRARY. THE STUDENT, AMANDA WEBBER INCLUDED A LARGE HOLOGRAM IMAGE IN HER PRESENTATION.THE JURY FIFTEEN PLUS AND I SITTING NEXT TO THOM. JEFF TOLD HER THAT WHEN A QUESTION IS ASKED GIVING AN OPINION THAT SHE AGREED WITH, TO ANSWER YES. I STARTED OFF BY FENDING OFF JEFF BY SAYING I MIGHT TALK ABOUT GREEN. I ASKED AMANDA WHETHER HER ART NOUVEAU APPLICATION COULD APPLY TO THE INTERIOR AS WELL? AMANDA ANSWERED YES. I FOLLOWED UP WITH THE ART NOUVEAU PATTERN COULD BECOME REAL BY MAKING IT GREEN WITH ECO SYSTEMS? AMANDA ANSWERED YES AGAIN, AND I CONCLUDED WITH, IF PROVEN SUCCESSFUL, COULD NOT YOUR SYSTEM SPREAD TO OTHER BUILDINGS THROUGHOUT DOWN TOWN LA ? THE OBVIOUS ANSWER YES!

AMANDA WEBBER

HSINMING FUNG AND CRAIG HOGGETS HOSTED THE FACULTY AND VISITING CRITS AT THEIR HOLLYWOOD SET DESIGNER FIFTIES HOME IN SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS FOR DINNER, JUST OFF THE HOLLYWOOD FREEWAY. THE PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE VALLEY WAS SPECTACULAR, LA AT ITS BEST AND THEIR MODEST HOME EXEMPLIFIED THEIR EQUISITE TASTE. EVEN HAD A CHARLES EAMES PLYWOOD MEDICAL SPLINT HANGING ON THE WALL. CRAIG SAYING “YOU MUST HAVE ONE TO BE COOL.” CRAIG AND I GO BACK YEARS TO VENICE ON THE BEACH. SO WE BLABBED ABOUT THE GOOD OLD DAYS. DENARI TOOK ME BY SURPRISE WITH HIS INTEREST IN SEEING ME. HE BEING ON TOP OF HIS GAME AS A STAR. HE JUST WON THE TWO TOP PRIZES IN THE LA AIA DESIGN AWARDS. STOLE THE SHOW. JOHN ENRIGHT CHATTED ABOUT KONRAD WACHSMANN AND FLASHED A PICTURE OF ME,PRODUCED BY HIS HAND HELD LIBRARY, KONRAD AND I IN FRONT OF A MODEL OF COMMUNITY 72 AT CAL POLY POMONA DURING THE REVOLUTION THAT LED TO THE START OF SCI-ARC. THE PICTURE SCARED ME. I LOOKED GREAT. ERIC CONVERSED ABOUT THE INTRIGUE OF SOME OF HIS RUSSIAN PROJECTS HE HAD BEEN INVOLVED WITH. BEING NAME DEFICIENT MYSELF, ERIC’S COMMAND OF ALL THOSE CONVOLUTED TRICKY NAMES WAS IMPRESSIVE AND HIS MOVES IN RUSSIAN SOCIETY.

THE GRADUATION COMMENCEMENT WOUND UP THE WEEKEND WITH ELOQUENT SPEECHES BY THOM, ERIC, MING AND OTHERS. THE STUDENTS TROTTING OFF TO CELEBRATE AND FACE THE REALITY OF THE ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION.

ERIC AND I HAD BREAKFAST THE FOLLOWING WEEK IN CULVER CITY, TO COME TO AN UNDERSTANDING ABOUT HOW MY RESEARCH LAB COULD HAPPEN. THE NEXT MEETING A COUPLE DAYS LATER WITH BILL KRAMER THE DEVELOPMENT GUY AT SCI-ARC WITH URBAN PLANNING EXPERIENCE. KRAMER IMMEDIATELY UNDERSTOOD MY PITCH AND WORK. HE HAS PERCASSITY AND IS LIKED BY EVERYONE, SO HOPEFULLY MAKING A SLAM DUNK FOR MY RETURN WITH A RESEARCH LAB FOR POSITIVE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PLANET. WAITING FOR YES!

VISIONARY URBAN RESEARCH LAB, GLEN HOWARD SMALL AIA ARCHITECT

AN URBAN PLANNING RESEARCH LAB AT SCI-ARC DIRECTED BY GLEN HOWARD SMALL. THE ECO GREEN , BIOMORPHIC STRUCTURES, SOCIAL CONCERNS AND SENSUOUS SHAPES THAT I HAVE DEVOTED MY CAREER TO ARE NOW REALITY. I CAN SAY WITH ALL CONFIDENCE AND ASSURANCE BASED UPON FIFTY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE OF DEALING WITH PROGRESSIVE ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN DESIGN THAT THE LAB WILL PRODUCE REVOLUTIONARY BUILDABLE PROJECTS. FOWARD THINKING BASED UPON HISTORICAL AND PRESENT DAY TECHNOLOGY . THE MASTER ARCHITECT ASSISTED BY BRIGHT INQUISITIVE STUDENT MINDS THAT COME AND GO OVER THE SEMESTERS WITH SOME PAID LAB ASSOCIATES. THE STUDENTS ASSISTING WOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO DEVELOP FRESH IDEAS TO ADVANCE THE PROJECTS AND BE GIVEN RECOGNITION FOR SO DOING. THE STUDENT COMPUTER SKILLS ALLOWS THIS TO HAPPEN SEDUCTIVELY WITH IN DEPTH SOLUTIONS.

I WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR JURIES AND THESIS STUDENTS.

AT SRC-ARC I DID PROJECTS LIKE THE GREEN MACHINE AND TURF TOWN, WHERE I SET THE PROJECT AND USED STUDENT ASSISTANTS, GETTING GREAT RESULTS. THE GREEN MACHINE RECEIVING A FEDERAL BLOCK GRANT AND NATIONAL ENDOWMENT OF THE ARTS GRANT.

I HAVE A BLOG SMALL AT LARGE THAT GETS 1500 HITS A DAY AND I RECEIVE AN E-MAIL ABOUT ONCE A MONTH INQUIRING TO STUDY WITH ME. FROM STUDENTS THAT ARE ON THE FRINGE AT OTHER UNIVERSITIES AND DO NOT FIT INTO THEIR INSTITUTIONS AND ARE INTERESTED IN PURSUING SOME AVANT GUARD ASPECTS OF DESIGN. THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO MY BIOMORPHIC SHAPES ,THEORIES, DIRECTNESS, AND CONCERNS.

THE LARGER PICTURE OF GREENING AND RESTORING THE EARTH MUST BE DOVETAILED TO UNIVERSAL SYSTEMS. THE EMPHASIS BEING TO BE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS TO CONTRIBUTE IN A POSITIVE MANNER.

MY INTEREST IS TO REMODEL EXISTING CITIES LIKE LA SF AND NY WITH SYSTEMS THAT CAN BE IMPLEMENTED WORLD WIDE. MAKING A RATIONAL AND PLAUSIBLE USE OF THE OLD AND DEMONSTRATING THE EVOLUTION TO THE NEW. THIS SHOULD HAVE SIGNIFICANT APPEAL SINCE CITY REMODEL IS THE BUZZ OF THE PROFESSION. I CATEGORIZE MYSELF AS BEING IN THE VISIONARY WORLD AS WELL AS THE BUILT WORLD. THEY ARE COMPATIBLE WITH MY APPROACH. AT THE MOMENT I HAVE A DIRECTION I WANT TO PURSUE, BUT I AM NOT COGNIZANT OF THE SOLUTION. THAT WILL COME WITH THE JOURNEY OF EXPLORATION .

EXISTING CITIES ARE HERE TO STAY AND NEED CONVINCING PROPOSALS THAT GIVE VISION TO THE POSSIBILITIES WITHOUT THE VESTED INTERESTS AND LIMITED POLITICAL AGENDAS THAT SHROUD MANY PROPOSALS. WHAT USE TO BE UNIVERSAL CONNECTIONS OF RAILROADS, VEHICLES AND LOCAL RAPID TRANSIT, ARE NOW BEING DEVELOPED WITH MULTI-SYSTEMS THAT ARE IN CONFLICT AND DO NOT CONNECT IN A RATIONAL MATTER. EVEN THE OBVIOUS PEDESTRIAN SEPARATION HAS NOT DEVELOPED IN A MANNER TO CONVINCE SIGNIFICANT REMODELS.

THE RESEARCH LAB WOULD BE INVOLVED IN MARKETING THE CONCEPTS TO BRING AWARENESS TO THE PUBLIC OF URBAN SCALE SOLUTIONS . HOLLYWOOD OFFERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SELL THE VISION TO THE WORLD FROM A POPULOUS POINT OF UNDERSTANDING. A NEW ERA OF COMMUNICATION FOR DIRECT SELLING.

AT THIS LATE STAGE IN MY CAREER, IT IS EVIDENT MY EARLIER CONCERNS OF URBAN PLANNING ARE BEING BUILT AND PROPOSED. BUT LIKE MANY VISIONS THE REALITY HAS NOT MATCHED THE ORIGINAL CONCEPTS. BEFORE I CHECK OUT I WANT A CLEAR DOCUMENTATION OF WHAT IS FEASIBLE. THE LAB WOULD HAVE A UNIQUE NITCH OF RESEARCH THAT WOULD BECOME A PERMANENT PART OF THE CURRICULUM AND CARRIED ON AFTER MY DEPARTURE.

REGRETFULLY I HAVE NOT PUBLISHED IN LARGE SCALE PRINT, SO ANOTHER ASPECT OF THE LAB IS TO PUT TOGETHER FIFTY YEARS OF WORK IN A COHERENT WAY TO TELL MY STORY. MY BLOG DOES THIS NOW, BUT I REALIZE THERE IS A LOT TO BE TOLD AND LEARNED IN A COHESIVE MATTER. THE FORM TO BE DETERMINED.

ALL THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE CUTTING EDGE REPUTATION OF SCI-ARC AND BRINGS ADDED DIMENSION TO THE PROGRAM. THIS IS A WIN WIN SITUATION.

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36 comments

  1. Forty Years Too Late

    Good piece of reporting Glen.
    Sci-arc has certainly changed from simple student/teacher Pot-luck dinners to roof top drinks at hotels. But slick renderings and more money does not make better ideas. The gap between idea and presentation is the gap of depth. and t he hyper-realism of the renderings are the illusion of deepness, as suggested by the poverty of the ideas, the lack of new thoughts… the tools leading the hand, the hand leading the mind. The blind leading the blind is the parable.

    …and when Kipnis blathered ooohhh ‘Glen how does it feel to be 40 years too early’, my answer to him would be this ‘Jeffery, How does it feel to 40 year TOO LATE?

    eric chavkin

  2. I thought Jeff Kipnis question is really doing justice to Glen even being conginial. He is giving Ceasar credit to Ceasar. Good for him to acknowledge that. People should recognize Glen properly. But I really don’t know how it was really meant.

    • My imaginary response to Kipnis was deliberately snide. For 20, 30 years Glen was ahead of the curve, the politically in-correct green guy. The career climbing academics shook his hand to his face but stabbed his back with innuendo when out of sight. Glen was the guy who drove a green painted Volkswagen, built and lived in a solar house, did the dance talked the talk walked the walk. He was the man. Let get clear on one point. Glen is the father of Green architecture. And he is the most articulate and consistent spokesperson through his designs , his work are his words. And the works resonate like manifestos.

      eric chavkin

      • ERIC

        THANKS FOR THE COMMENTS. YOU MAKE IT SOUND SAINTLY, A VERY BUMPY ROAD OF TRYING TO BE HONEST, COULD USE HELP WITH THE QUEST. I REMEMBER FRED HAINS, SOME SAY THE MOST INTELLIGENT MAN THEY EVER KNEW, SAY TO ME WHEN HE GOT A PAYCHECK FOR WRITING FOR THE STUDIOS THAT HIS WHOLE BEING COULD NOW CONCENTRATE. THAT IS THE POSITION I WAS IN WHEN DOING MY MASTERS THESIS AT CRANBROOK. I WOULD WAKE IN THE MORNING ASKING WHAT ASPECT OF DESIGN DO I WANT TO PURSUE TODAY. THAT PROPELLED ME FOWARD AT A RAPID PACE.

        THE RESEARCH LAB AT SCI-ARC OFFERS THE SAME OPPORTUNITY, BUT A WHOLE LOT BETTER, TO OPEN THE QUANTUM FLOOD GATE OF POSITIVE THOUGHT.

        KEEP CLOSE,

        GLEN

    • ORHAN,

      MY READ AT THE TIME WAS JEFF BEING FRIENDLY. WHAT I LIKED ABOUT HIM WAS HIS GAD FLY NATURE THAT KNEW MY WORK . THAT IS THE ROLE HE HAS CHOSEN TO PLAY. AND HE DOES IT WELL. HE IS UP FOR INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION WITHOUT BECOMING UNGLUDED, THAT MAKES FOR BANTER THAT TRIGGERS THOUGHT.

      THANKS FOR THE COMMENT,

      GLEN

  3. Another point. About theory. Glen’s views, that is , his designs, his judgements and evaluations of other works derive from his theory (unwritten) of a nature based aesthetics. Looking over Glens works his designs express a positive rule based position , a consistent theory. The parameters are the physics of biology

    Moss and Mayne on the other hand are gestural and reactionary. Anti-box, anti-grid, slash and tear gestures, break the rules negation. Anti-thesis not thesis. Their purely gestural synthesis comes across as half a dialectic. That’s why it always looks incomplete, in process or in movement. Unresolved expressions.

    A little more about theory , criticism

    ….when some critic? addresses a work, starts to talk, the quick and dirty retort is this: what theory, argument, are you basing your judgement(s) on? Or are we supposed to accept your evaluation based on your personality or clothing?

    I know this is an unfair tactic but it separates Glen from the ‘gestural’ architects. Glen has a ‘theory’ that he uses to make aesthetic judgements. Other architects have criticisms that are again gestures, like their work. It’s very simple to look at it that way. It is a world view evolving towards a system . In contrast the gestural works capture the moment.
    \\ eric chavkin

    • ERIC,

      I WANT TO BE VERY CLEAR THAT SCI-ARC IS MOVING FOWARD ON MANY FRONTS. THEY HAVE A ROBOTIC PUSH, AND A SOLAR DECATHLON ENTRY WITH CAL TECH ETC. THERE IS A SINCERE EFFORT TO EXPLORE MANY ASPECTS OF THE PROFESSION . THE BOTTOM LINE IS ERIC MOSS IS TO BE CHEERED AND ENCOURAGED WITH HIS ALL OUT PUSH TO EDUCATE.

      GLEN

  4. Just analyzing Moss’s aesthetics using all the tools I have: sarcasm, satire, parody, irony with some dark humor throw in for a laugh.

    eric chavkin

  5. Dear Glen,

    I don’t mean to say something negative when it seems some position / research lab might work out for you, however this student work appears nightmarish, in my opinion – I think only slightly superficially does it have anything to do with your ideas, or the culture that I think you think this is coming from (i.e. Lautner, etc). Anyway, all the more reason for you to potentially be there, I guess, inspiring some humanity into academia. Where is the basic regard for poetry and everyday life? Where are the trees? What is going on?

    Best,
    Logan

    • LOGAN,

      I AGREE WITH YOU. WHAT I SEE ARE THE TOOLS , SKILLS, ENERGY , AND PLATFORM TO ASSIST IN THE DIRECTION I WISH TO PURSUE. A HUGE POTENTIAL.

      THANKS FOR YOUR DIRECT AND TIMELY COMMENT.

      GLEN

      • Glen, I agree completely, I think you are right that there is a huge potential at the school – and I think any good institution should allow another sub-culture to be prevalent within it. Though perhaps it might be necessary to understand for yourself as well, why these students, psychologically, wish to create images with atmospheres as shown, when you will be collaborating intensively with them. I think that would make the transition towards exchange smoother. All the best, Logan

    • Logan, you have a point, there does seem to be a kind of post-apocalyptic aesthetic to these presentations.
      Not only no trees, the grass under the cows is Astroturf, the skies seem overcast, and those cows are mutants.
      I wonder if this is a reflection of the general mood of architecture students based on the mood of the profession in general. I wonder also if students in other creative fields share this mood. Do young writers also share this mood?

  6. The Post-apocalyptic renderings from SCI-Arc design class derive from a succession of influences. First, there is the expressionist aesthetic theory of art based on Freudian psychology especially the visualization of dreams and nightmares, hence the gloom and doom, and intensity of sculptural shapes echoing neuro-tendrite shapes and convolutions that mimic the brain in section and nervous systems in general.

    Second, the influence of surrealism, especially Matta, and Yves Tangley(sic) , some dALI.

    Third, From that comes the influences of science fiction cinema via surrealism via Freud.

    Overall the expression is visualized anxiety and comemtary on the general and perhaps personal psychology of the time and designer.

    ERIC CHAVKIN

    • ERIC

      WHAT CARLOS ELUDES TO HAS TRIGGERED YOUR PEDANTIC ONSLAUGHT. GIVE THE STUDENTS SOME ROOM. YOUR JUDGEMENT IS BASED UPON ONE OF EIGHT BOARDS SUBMITTED AND MODELS BESIDES. TAKE UP YOUR THEORIES WITH THE STUDENTS THEMSELVES. BESIDES I UNDEREXPOSED THE PICTURES AND REFRAINED FROM LOSING LINE WORK TO MAKE THEM BRIGHTER.

      LET THIS CRITIC LAY. THERE IS TOO MUCH MISSING TO HAVE A RATIONAL CONVERSATION.

      I LIKE ALL THE JARGON.

      GLEN

  7. Glen,

    My question really is not meant to be answered by the students who created this work, it is meant to be answered by observers who see this work from the outside, best if by someone involved in education in a creative field, not just architecture, and certainly not only sci-arc. I saw and photographed the same presentation (and others) and that is what my commentary is based on, not just your photograph.

    Carlos

  8. It seems like SCIARC is more interested in creating modeling monkeys for Hollywood and Video Games. Apart from aesthetic appeal, there is NO DEPTH WHATSOEVER to what is happening at SCIARC. I would have expected some better criticism from you, Glenn, but you seem just much too inclined to suck upto whatever is going on, in order to get into the scene.

    • Don, don’t be superficial, it’s not about SCI-Arc, video games or Hollywood. It’s about the state of education in architecture schools, the state of unemployment in our chosen field, and most importantly about the paradigm shift in our profession as we evolve from the thousand year old practice of drawing to the relatively new virtual-building of BIM.

      Our profession is not as stable as it once was. All of the above items and others that I haven’t mentioned are creating a constantly moving target and this is reflected in the attitudes of academia. I see the same kind of lack of depth coming from other schools and I see it coming out of architecture practice. Academia is running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, and it’s because of us, not because of the students.

      If any criticism is to be leveled it is not at academia (SCI-Arc or other schools) but at ourselves as a profession. We are one of the few professions that is to date essentially doing things the way we were a thousand years ago. A line drawn on a piece of parchment with a quill pen is conveys no less than a line drawn with a mouse on a computer monitor. I’ve worked on substantial projects where the general contractor takes our roll of plans and creates a 3d model from which she then produces accurate material take-offs, discovers classic ‘beam through duct’ errors, uses CAD-CAM to cut complex pieces and fabricates entire wall assemblies that are shipped to the site for quick erection with minimal waste. This is not hypothetical, this is the new reality. Why is the GC doing this and not us? This is what owners are asking, so now we have ‘design-build’ contracts led by contractors, where it should be us, architects, in the original meaning of the word ‘arkhitekton’, i.e. chief builder who should be leading these teams.

      We are losing ground, and this is reflected in academia.

    • DON,

      YOU ARE RIGHT. I NEED THE JOB TO DO RESEARCH THAT IS ADDRESSING SOME OF THE CONCERNS MISSING AT SCI-ARC AND THE WORLD . I WOULD BE A POSITIVE ADDITION IF HIRED.

      CUT ME A LITTLE SLACK,. I HAVE DECIDED TO NOT HOLD GRUDGES NOR EXPECT OTHERS TO BE INTO WHAT I FEEL IS IMPORTANT. DIFFERENCES EXIST AND I LEARN FROM THEM. WHAT YOU MIGHT SEE AS NEGATIVE I SEE AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO A LOT OF MEANINGFUL WORK.

      THANKS FOR YOUR THOUGHTFUL CRITICISM.

      WISHING YOU THE BEST,

      GLEN

      • I just wrote a response! But yes, as one of the original guys pushing innovative thinking at SCIARC, you would be very valuable to their roster of professors. Back in your day, SCIARC, as I understand it was all about building, and getting things built. These projects do not imbibe any of that, and hence having one of the original founders would be a great, and invaluable addition to SCIARC.
        I wish you the best of luck and really hope to see you there!

  9. Carlos, you are right – as a profession, architecture has not moved much beyond the notion of shelter, boiling down to walls+roof+structure. In terms of representation, most architectures are still stuck in the notion of renaissance, with perspective dictating the aesthetic (and I agree, these projects do try to address that).
    Also, what you mention about other agencies (like GCs) taking lead and essentially cutting out the architect is also true, but I do not see the pedagogy being pushed at institutes like SCIARC addressing any of these issues.
    The bigger point as it relates to this blog is that I have always like Glenn’s point of view, but in this case, there is absolutely no critique, and no point of view.

  10. It’s funny when I here architects like DONJIPPO talk about SCIArc in terms of only the imagery. Just because these selected projects don’t jive with your prescribed notions of architectural innovation doesn’t mean that they lack conceptual depth. There are challenging architectural notions in every project. Some more flushed out than others. I will never figure out how some people continually overlook this. I truly want to understand what your critique is. Please explain what you mean by depth (try to be exact please)? What exact pedagogy do you think is appropriate for an innovative design school (again – please be exact)? You talk like pedagogy is a static concept. You say there is no critique in Glen’s post but you offer only critique with no actually information or opinion. That’s called complaining or whining. Help me understand what you want to say.

    Where you there listening to all the projects? The variety of ideas at SCIArc is wonderful. The flashy rendered projects get a lot of attention but there are multiple avenues of exploration at that school. That’s why Glen would be an interesting addition.

    • Okay, for an example, just let me know how the project with the LA library does anything to the built space inside it, rather than being a decorative overlay?

      • Glen wrote:

        “I ASKED AMANDA WHETHER HER ART NOUVEAU APPLICATION COULD APPLY TO THE INTERIOR AS WELL? AMANDA ANSWERED YES. I FOLLOWED UP WITH THE ART NOUVEAU PATTERN COULD BECOME REAL BY MAKING IT GREEN WITH ECO SYSTEMS? AMANDA ANSWERED YES AGAIN, AND I CONCLUDED WITH, IF PROVEN SUCCESSFUL, COULD NOT YOUR SYSTEM SPREAD TO OTHER BUILDINGS THROUGHOUT DOWN TOWN LA ? THE OBVIOUS ANSWER YES!”

        It seems to me that some thought must have crossed her mind about the interior, even if the whole time all she was thinking about was whether she’d be hired as a “model monkey” for Hollywood. Even then, movies with buildings depict the interior as well as the exterior, so I don’t understand that argument. I didn’t see that presentation (anyone know if these were recorded?) so when I look at the graphics it’s easy to see the visual aspects of the work and how much time and effort went into the project, beyond that, it becomes a case of ‘you’d have to have been there’.

  11. What a strange way to respond to student work. You did not answer one question about any of the comments you made. How am I supposed to respond to what you are saying? How am I supposed to understand the thesis of your argument.

    Are you sating ornamentation is not a viable pursuit for a thesis because it doesn’t deal with interior space? No mention of the shifting iconic values when designing on a historic building. There is a concept there and all you can ask is about the interior. Strange Thesis should be an architectural argument not wall sections with detail bubbles. I am not going to argue for or against the concept but it’s not just movie images. Thought and work went into these projects.

  12. Just a note… The first image in this post is not Matt Au’s project (not even close actually).

    His was the reinterpretation of Greg Lynn’s Sears Tower Project. It presented a strong representational counter point to the renderings shown above in addition to a much deeper theoretical proposition related to the use of geometry in contemporary architecture.

    • DON JULIO,

      A POINT OF CLARIFICATION. WOULD YOU PLEASE GIVE ME THE CORRECT NAME ON THE FIRST IMAGE. THIS IS A TERRIBLE MISTAKE AND NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED. I WAS NOT ON THE JURY OF THE IMAGE.

      AS STATED I WAS ON THE JURY OF AMANDA WEBBER. I PERSONALLY COMPLIMENTED HER ON HER PROJECT AND FELT SHE BROUGHT A STRONG REMODEL APPROACH THAT REINFORCED THE ORIGINAL DESIGN OF THE LIBRARY, AND POWERFULLY CREATED A SENSUOUS NEW LOOK .
      REMODEL OF HISTORICAL BUILDINGS IS A VERY GUTCY THING. I WILL TALK ABOUT A GROUP RESTORATION OF THE HORATIO WEST COURT BY IRVING GILL WHICH I PUT TOGETHER AND TOOK MY OWN BOLD REMODEL STEPS . ANOTHER BLOG.

      WHEN THE JURY TERMINATED AND I PERSONALLY THANKED HER. I REALIZED I WAS THE ONLY JURY MEMBER TO DO SO. I THOUGHT THAT WAS STRANGE.

      WAITING FOR YOUR INFORMATION TO CORRECT THE ERROR

      THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THIS ERROR TO MY ATTENTION.

      GLEN

  13. Well, Glen I certainly hope that you get that lab-you deserve it. Just hope the powers that be don’t manipulate it to something dissapointing. I’m impressed by the student work shown in the accompanied renderings. This vendicates your persistance, and it would have been redicule by Mose et al in the old days. It must now be fashionable to be presented to the rooftop crowd.

  14. Glen, Now that I see Pat has come on why dont you do post a compilation of your other studen’t work? Pat’s project, Greg Davis, some of the wild stuff from way back

    eric

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  16. Glenn,

    Sorry to jump topics, but as a constant reader of your blog, I was surprised to see QING CAO’s project that you snapped at SCI-Arc’s Graduate thesis presentation. It has an uncanny appearance to a project recently posted on Archinect by ADAM ZWIERZYNSKI. I wanted to get your perspective on these similarities and have a conversation about “sameness” in the academic/professional world of architecture.

    Below is the link.
    http://archinect.com/people/project/24645645/ismof-international-school-museum-of-flamenco/24652850#0

    To me there seems to be 3 possible reasons why designs would be reproduced/plagiarized.

    1. That the people have worked together either as an apprentice/master relationship, which may need to be its own topic. Should a students work mimic a professors? Is a students work THE professors? Whom has ownership of said work?

    2. With the advent of the computer EVERYONE can see ANYONE’S work, and since the printing press (maybe before), there will forever be a “Love is a Wonderful Thing” condition.

    or

    3. That they are done simultaneously, with little or no knowledge, like the Leibniz/Newton phenom. But this seems rather unlikely in the digital age.

    • SORRY FOR THE LATE RESPONSE, BUT I MOVE ON TO NEW BLOGS AND FORGET TO CHECK OLD ONES.

      I THINK ALL YOUR PROJECTED REASONS ARE SOUND.

      THE EREA OF PATTERNS IS SO STRONG NOW THAT DUPLICATION OF IDEAS IS EXTREMELY STRONG .

      THE FUNCTIONS I CAN NOT COMMENT ABOUT, SO I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THEY DERIVED THEIR FACADES OR MAYBE EVEN INTERIOR RELATIONSHIPS.

      SAME NESS IS OK. IN THE SIXTIES THE WOODIE GOODIES PRODUCED A LOT OF GREAT HOUSES
      THAT WERE SIMILAR BECAUSE OF THE CONSTRUCTION METHOD. LIKEWISE WITH THE CORBU POSTS , SLAB, AND GLASS HOUSES INTERNATIONAL STYLE HOUSES.

      GEHRY LATELY SET OFF A CRAZE OF RIBBON DESIGNS. ZAHA WITH THE MOLDED LOOK AND SO ON. THEY JUST BECOME A STYLE MOVEMENT THAT HAS LOTS OF DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS.

      ALL PART OF THE GAME.

      GLEN

  17. Daniel,

    That’s a very keen observation. It appears almost like a ‘verbatim’ copy, which if it is would be a serious embarrassment for the student and the school. I wonder if Qing presented his thought process for the creation of his final presentation? It would be interesting to know for those of you who were at the presentations.

    “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. If this is true, how about this one. Check out Glen’s (9 year old?) acoustic shell in Managua: http://www.smallatlarge.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Acoustical-Shell-7_6.jpg with Moshe Safdie’s recently opened Kauffman Center: http://INFO.AIA.ORG/AIARCHITECT/2011/MULTIMEDIA/SLIDESHOWS/KAUFFMAN/

    There are striking similarities, in my humble opinion.

    -Carlos

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