BIG TIME SCI-ARC 40TH ANNIVERSARY, APRIL 20 2013

THERE WAS A 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION DINNER AT SCI-ARC RECENTLY. RAY AND SHELLY KAPPE CONTACTING ME IN NICARAGUA WITH AN INVITATION TO SIT AT THE FOUNDERS TABLE. NO MINOR GIFT AT $1000 A SEAT. ALL THE MONEY GOING TO STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS. MY FIRST REACTION WAS IMPOSSIBLE, BECAUSE OF THE MEAGER FUNDS I HAVE TO SURVIVE. BUT ON SECOND THOUGHT, I CONTEMPLATED, MAYBE MY EX-STUDENTS AT SCI-ARC MIGHT CHIP IN TO MAKE THAT POSSIBLE. TO MY SURPRISE AFTER SENDING OUT ABOUT 20 E MAILS, THE STUDENTS CAME THROUGH BIG TIME, AND FUNDED BY TRIP. SO I FLEW IN FOR A WEEK TO EXPERIENCE THE GALA EVENT.

THE SCI-ARC 40TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY WAS HELD AT THE SAME TIME OF THE UNDERGRADUATE THESIS REVIEW. THERE WAS A PRICY DINNER, AND THEN AT 9PM AN OPEN ALUMNI EVENT FOR $40 A HEAD TO INTERACT.

THE PARKING LOT HAD A NEW SET OF CONTRAPTIONS TO GET ATTENTION. ALL ADVENTURESOME BUT LACKING IN, LESS IS MORE AND REFINED FORM. FREI OTTO WOULD FAINT FROM THE PREPOSTEROUS STRUCTURAL OVERKILL AND LACK OF UNDERSTANDING.

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SCI-ARC UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT URBAN DESIGN SITE PLAN MODEL

SCI-ARC UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT URBAN DESIGN

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT SCI-ARC URBAN DESIGN DRAWING

THE UNDERGRADUATES DISPLAYED GRAPHICAL DRAWINGS AND SCULPTURAL MODELS THAT WERE OVER THE TOP IMPRESSIVE, AND AS GANEA SAID “THESE ARE ART PEICES”. SERIOUS FUNCTIONS OR STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS WAS NOT ADDRESSED.

I COMPLIMENTED ERIC MOSS ON THE STUDENTS WORK AND ENERGY EXHIBITED, AND HE COUNTER WITH THAT AFTER THE REVIEW, THERE HAD BEEN A CONSENSUS THAT MORE DEEPTH NEEDED TO BE EXPLORED.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT SCI-ARC URBAN DESIGN MODEL

UNDERGRADUATE SCI-ARC STUDENT MODEL OF A BUILDING

THE EVENING BEGAN WITH AHDE, GANEA AND I TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE DROP OFF CAR PARKING, WE BEING THE FIRST GUESTS, SETTING OFF A CONFUSED STAFF TO DEAL WITH HOW IT ALL SHOULD FUNCTION. ALL THE WAY TO THE BAR, WHERE THE BAR TENDER HAD NO IDEA HOW TO CONSTRUCT MY REQUESTED TEQUILA SUNRISE AND ASKED IF I WOULD SETTLE FOR A MARGARITA. AFTER MY FIRST, THE EVENING GOT STARTED.

THE IDEA WAS TO LOOK AT THE STUDENT WORK STRETCHED OVER A 220 METER STRAIGHT AWAY. I HAD GONE TO A ALUMNI PRE FUNCTION THE NIGHT BEFORE, SO I WAS UP ON THE STUDENT WORK , AND AFTER AWHILE FOUND PEACE BY BEING THE FIRST TO SIT IN THE DINNING ROOM. CHASED AWAY INITIALLY BY THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR OF THE SCHOOL, WHO WAS IN CHARGE OF ALL THE DETAILS. BUT I SNEAKED IN AND SAT AT TABLE 17, THE FOUNDERS TABLE. A RELIEF FROM THE CHATTY COCKTAIL CROWD.

THE PENTAGON TABLES SET UP TO RECEIVE TEN GUESTS PER TABLE WITH TWO GUESTS ON EACH SIDE.

RAY KAPPE ON SCREEN OVER THE DINNERS HEADS.

GOD KAPPE AND ALL THE DIRECTORS OF SCI-ARC WERE HONORED. RAY GETTING A STANDING OVATION.
THE ORIGINAL FOUNDERS MENTIONED AS WELL, I WAS ASKED TO STAND UP FOR A MOMENT ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE FOUNDERS FROM THE ORIGINAL CAL POLY POMONA TO NEW SCHOOL SCI-ARC ERA . WE WERE EMINENTLY IMPORTANT AND FULL OF LIFE AND ENERGY THEN. I FEELING MORE SO NOW.

TO MY EMBARRASSMENT, A NUMBER OF FORMER STUDENTS COMMENTING ON HOW GORGEOUS I WAS WHEN A PROFESSOR YEARS AGO. I HAD TO ASK, AM I NOT SO TODAY ?, AND THEIR FACES TRANSFORMED TO SADNESS AND THEN LYING, “OH YOU LOOK GREAT. ” BUT ROCKET RANDY, IN A SINCERE WAY TELLING ME, AGE HAD GIVEN ME A MORE DISTINGUISHED APPEARANCE.

THERE WAS A DEVELOPER MASTER OF CEREMONIES FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS TOM GILMORE AND A LIVELY CHATTY LADY OF THE MEDIA FRANCES ANDERTON. APPLY CHOSEN TO RELATE TO MONEY. THEY MADE NO SENSE AT ALL BETWEEN THEM AND LAUGHED AT THEIR OWN DIALOGUE. ARCHITECTURAL ACOUSTICS WERE NOT WORKING WELL IN THE SPACE.

IT WAS A RELIEF WHEN THE SCRIPTED EVENING WAS OVER AND PEOPLE COULD TALK TO EACH OTHER. OH YES, ERIC MOSS SPOKE, BUT TO HIS CREDIT IT WAS SHORT.

THE SCHOOL VIBRATES WITH SUCCESS AND WORK AREAS JAMMED FULL OF MODELS, COMPUTERS, AND JUNK FOOD. ATTESTING TO THE RIGOROUS OUTPUT OF THE STUDENTS THAT ARE BLURRY EYED AND WORN OUT.

BLURRY

RAY KAPPE AND DEAN NOTA , RAY PROCLAIMING, THE FOOD NOT THAT ALL GREAT.
40 PENTAGON TABLES, TEN PEOPLE TO A TABLE. $400,000 RAISED. A LOT DIFFERENT THAN THE POT LUCK DINNERS WHEN TUITION WAS $500 A TERM AND KIDS COULD GO TO SCHOOL WITHOUT A LIFETIME DEBT , NOR HAVING TO BE FROM RICH FAMILIES OR BEING HONORED WITH A SCHOLARSHIP. ROGER LEWITES MY PRESENT PARTNER IN NICARAGUA, WAITING ON TABLES TO PAY HIS WAY THROUGH SCI-ARC.

THE NEWLY WEDS, RAY AND SHELLY AT THE $ 10,000 TABLE THEY GRACIOUSLY BOUGHT FOR THE FOUNDING MEMBERS AND SCHOLARSHIP FUND .

BILL AND VICKY SIMONIAN, AHDE AND GANEA LAHTI, JIM AND PATTY STAFFORD, DEAN NOTA ( A FOUNDING STUDENT AND ONE OF THE FIRST TO GRADUATE) AND GLEN HOWARD SMALL ALL SAT AT THE FOUNDERS TABLE. THOM MAYNE BUYING HIS OWN TABLE.

I SPENT A LOT OF TIME TALKING WITH JIM STAFFORD, WHICH WHILE AT PAMONA AND SCI-ARC TOGETHER, I MUST HAVE SAID TEN WORDS TO HIM . A FORMER PARTNER TO TOM MAYNE, BERNARD ZIMMERMAN, ERIC MOSS, RICKY BINDER ETC. THE QUIET GUY THAT LOVED TO DESIGN AND KEPT HIS MOUTH SHUT. HE HAS A WEALTH OF BACK ROOM STORIES, THAT I FIND FASCINATING AND REVEALING. THE PROMOTORS SCOOPING UP ALL THE GLORY. NOW AGED AND BLABBING. AS I REMEMBER HIM, A SMALLER VERSION OF ROBERT REDFORD WITH GORGEOUS WIFE PATTY THAT HAS PASSED DOWN HER BEAUTY TO HER DAUGHTER IN ATTENDANCE AS WELL. A LOOK ALIKE.

MY BIG TRIUMPH COMING WHEN I TOOK ERIC MOSS BY THE SHOULDERS AND PHYSICALLY PUT HIM FACE TO FACE WITH STAFFORD, ERIC COMMENTING THAT I WAS PUSHING HIM TOO HARD. THEY CHATTED FOR AT LEAST 20 MINUTES. I SHOULD HAVE DELIVERED ERIC TO RAY AS WELL, MY BIG REGRET OF THE EVENING.

THOM AND BLYTH MAYNE ON TOP OF THE WORLD. ALL FRIENDLY AND LAUGHING. SUCCESS MAKING HIM A BIT HUMAN, TELLING ME AGAIN THAT HE HAS NO INFLUENCE OVER ERIC MOSS.

AHDE AND GANEA STILL TOGETHER WITH DEAN NOTA TAKING A PEAK.
AHDE NO LONGER ALL THAT QUIET, HAVING A LOT TO SAY ABOUT EVERYTHING. CONSTANTLY READING AND IMPARTING INFORMATION.

BILL AND VICKY, THIS IS A SERIOUS RELATIONSHIP. I HAVE NEVER HEARD AN UNKIND WORD FROM ANY STUDENTS ABOUT THIS MAN. NOTHING BUT PRAISES. A BIT QUIET. I AM NOT SURE OF HIS TAKE ON LIFE . I WOULD LIKE TO GET HIS GUARD DOWN AND FIND OUT WHAT LERKS IN HIS MIND. HE HAS EXPERIENCED A LOT OF LIFE. ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERATE AND HELPFUL TO ME.

I AM HOLDING UP RAY, OR IS RAY KEEPING ME FROM FALLING ?
THE EVENING WAS FILLED WITH STUDENTS COMING UP TO ME, TELLING ME THEIR NAMES, BECAUSE OF THE DRASTIC CHANGE IN PHYSICAL APPEARANCE. ALL GLOWING , RESPECTFUL, PRAISING AND THANKING. AFTER ONE STUDENT GUSHING ABOUT ME WHILE STANDING WITH RAY, RAY CONVEYING “THAT IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT GLEN” RAY GETTING HIS SHARE AS WELL. LIKE A POSITIVE SHOT DIRECTLY TO SELF WORTH. I NEED THAT TO KEEP THE SPIRIT IN TACT.

MICHAEL ROTONDI, STILL A BIT OF A MYSTERY AND SHOCK. AHDE ON LEFT STILL GASPING AND RAY AND SHELLY LOOKING ELSEWHERE.

I AM LOOKING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION AGAIN.

TALK ABOUT BRAINS, MY SCI-ARC BUDDIES ERIC CHAVKIN AND ORHAN AYYUCE

SORRY ABOUT NOT HAVING THE NAMES ON THE STUDENT PROJECTS TO GIVE THEM CREDIT. IF SOMEONE WOULD FURNISH THE PROPER NAMES AND TITLES, I WILL UPDATE THE BLOG.

CHEERS AND THANKS TO ALL THAT GRACIOUSLY SPONSORED MY TRIP FROM NICARAGUA TO ALLOW ME TO ATTEND THIS MILESTONE EVENT AND PUT ME UP. GETTING ME OUT OF THE JUNGLE IN NICARAGUA TO VISIT DOWNTOWN SCI-ARC ASPHALT, THAT MAKES THE DORMANT VOLCANIC LAGOONS IN NICARAGUA LOOK LIKE PARADISE. MAY ALL OF YOU FIND YOUR HAPPINESS AND DO GOOD IN THE WORLD,

LOVE,

GLEN

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22 comments

  1. Don’t listen to your former students Glen. You still look physically youngest and intellectually progressive!
    Speaking of that, I thought the most youthful people were the ones from first 10 years of the school which included myself and my classmates. They were the ones least self conscious and colorful. I thought a lot of people were buying into the myth and not really knowing what the school was about.

    • ORHAN,

      THANKS FOR YOUR KIND WORDS, BUT AGE DOES TAKE A TOLL.
      I ONLY TALKED TO THE STUDENTS OF THE FIRST 15 YEARS, SO I CAN NOT COMMENT ON THE PRESENT CROP NOT BEING AS LIVELY, EXCEPT FOR MICHAEL RENDLER ‘S MARCELA’S SON JACK, WHO ASKED ME TO CRIT HIS RECENT PROJECT. I AM TOLD BY DAD, JACK IS A HOT SHOT, AT LEAST HE LISTENS TO WHAT I SAY AND HAS BEEN AROUND SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS ARCHITECTURAL PARENTS, SO HE WILL EVENTUALLY BE A FORCE TO DO GOOD.

      SCI-ARC HAVING THE NUMBER ONE RANKING IN THE WORLD, MAKES ONE PONDER, IF THIS IS THE BEST, WE ARE IN TROUBLE . SMOKE AND MIRRORS ONLY WORKS FOR A SHORT TIME, OR IS THIS AN EDUCATIONAL THEME FOR SUCCESS?

      MICHAEL FOLONIS CONFESSING TO ME, HE HAD NEVER HIRED A SCI-ARC STUDENT UNTIL RECENTLY, FIGURING THEY COULD NOT RELATE TO THE REAL WORLD. BUT HE HAS BEEN PLEASANTLY SURPRISED AT THE RAPID RATE THIS FORMER STUDENT ADOPTED AND THE EXCELLENT CONTRIBUTION TO HIS OFFICE.

      THERE ARE SERIOUS HOLES IN THE EDUCATION, BUT ERIC LIKES CONTROL.
      AS THE HEAD OF THE SCI-ARC GRADUATE PROGRAM STATED TO ME ON THE 20TH. ERIC IS BOSS MAN.

      GLEN

  2. Glen, It was great seeing you and Orhan again. The feeling I get, that of nostalgia, gets me worked up to do something about it, write more, design more, see people again.

    The Dark side of SCI-Arc as I wrote on before is the uniformity of outlook, the lack of competing visions, a sense of a single perspective. The student projects for public view, displayed on pedestals, were to me ideas in lockstep, with very little difference.

    This is what I want to talk about, and analyse right now.

    The common theme I saw was a preoccupation with form. Not just any form but certain types. Biomorphic undulations, geoomorphic crystals, mechanomorphic machine parts. The design approach is to take a shape, modify and repeat then model into a mass.

    Missing was Context, function, external forces such as sunlight, wind, construction or use were ignored. Not even alluded to. This was architecture as pure art. Not good art, bad art. a doodle in 3D.

    So puposeless and abstract were these student works that I almost forgot this was architecture school. I thought it was an beginning sculpture class.

    It seems the modeling software is the tail that wags the design dog. And begs the question: If you are free to create anything why does everything all look the same?

    Overall, not good, A failing mark for a school where no one owns the future

    eric chavkin

  3. ERIC,

    THANKS FOR THE COMMENT, ALL YOU SAY IS TRUE AND PERCEPTIVE.

    BUT I HAVE TO ASK, WHAT IS WORSE, A SCHOOL THAT DEMANDS THE STUDENTS MAKE RATIONAL MOVES BASED ON WHAT THE LIMITED PRACTICAL PROFESSORS KNOW OR A SCHOOL THAT CREATES FANTASTIC FORMS THAT ARE CLASSIFIED AS SCULPTURE AND PRESENTED IN COMPUTER SEDUCTIVE IMAGES? IN BOTH CASES THERE IS A SAMENESS BECAUSE OF THE LIMITED POINT OF VIEW.

    SCHOOLS ARE PROFESSORS.

    AT SCI-ARC THERE IS A DREAM CREATED THAT THE STUDENTS BUY INTO. I WOULD MUCH RATHER HAVE A STUDENT WITH DREAMS AND PRESENTATION SKILLS TO TEACH THE PRACTICAL PART OF BUILDING A REAL BUILDING. THE PROBLEM COMES, WHEN THE STUDENT THINKS THE FORM IS ALL THEY NEED TO KNOW. BUT ANY OFFICE THAT BUILDS BUILDINGS IS AN IMMEDIATE WAKE UP CALL DURING APPRENTICESHIP.

    THERE IS SUCH A DIVERSE DEMAND THESE DAYS, CHINA YELLING FOR THE LATEST NEW WILD DESIGN, AND THE STATES RETURNING TO MODERNISM FOR THE RICH. BOTH HAVING FUNCTIONAL PROGRAMS. THAT IS WHAT IS MISSING AT SCI-ARC. DIVERSITY WITH FUNCTIONAL, STRUCTURAL, AND ECO UNDERSTANDING. LET ALONE DOING PROJECTS FOR THE PEOPLE THAT CAN NOT AFFORD ARCHITECTURE. UNIVERSITIES ARE A SMORGASBORD TO UNDERSTAND THE WHOLE SCOPE OF POSSIBILITIES OF ARCHITECTURE. SAMENESS IS NOT DOING THE JOB.

    GLEN

  4. ROUND PEG SQUARE HOLE

    Does the round peg of ‘freedom to make art’ fit into the square hole of ‘function use and context ie ‘reality’.

    Is school the environment where the student sheds the assumptions, prejudices, and lets the creative juices flow. School is the safe place to do this. The fantastic is allowed to germinate. The freedom to try anything is the environment. This is where one’s ideals begin as embryo.

    Later on the reality principle: dictates of function, cost, style, others opinions chip away and redefine the student, now architect intern, soon to be architect.

    On SCI-Arc I complain about the lack of diversity of ideas and the sameness of results. So I asked why?

    SCI-Arc is now a brand. And both the faculty and students understand and accept the parameters. At the student level students emulated the style of their professors. At this infant stage the students mimicked teachers to learn the basics.. A few more pats on the back, some encouraging crits, and a clone is molded. Upon graduation and the kicking out of the nest the newly independent define themselves as a part of that studio family. SCI-Arc is just an extension of the studio family. Moss is the head guy, the leader. OK to translate into German.

    From a distance it all seems so psychological. So much like Dynasty or any other prime time soap opera. It’s the story I always wanted to write.

    Kappe was a less controlling parent , the school was newly formed. He allowed on to ‘go your own way’. Now Ray seems like the benevolent grandparent. Moss, the tyrant. is more controlling. It almost reads like Oedipus. Or the Rolling Stones Street Fighting Man

    Kill the King, then rape the Queen, all for revolution!

    eric chavkin

    • ERIC,

      “THE KING” IS APPROPRIATE FOR ERIC MOSS.

      RAY FROM THE VERY BEGINNING LET PROFESSORS PURSUE THEIR DIFFERENT INTERESTS. RAY HIRED TALENT AND WAS NOT INTO PICKING A CERTAIN MOVEMENT PERSON. WHAT HAPPENED WAS A DIVERSE FACULTY. THE STUDENT BEING EXPOSED TO DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW.

      MAYNE AND MOSS WANTED THEIR POINT OF VIEW TO DOMINATE, THEY GOT THEIR WAY. END OF STORY, EXCEPT SCI-ARC IS AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION THAT WILL CHANGE WITH TIME. THE REALITY IS THAT SCI-ARC CAN NOT BE PERMANENTLY BRANDED, ONLY IN A TEMPORARY MANNER.

      FADS COME AND GO, BUT NATURE AND SOCIETIES EVOLVE. NOT ALWAYS FOR THE BETTER, BUT ARE GUIDING ELEMENTS TO USE TO DESIGN POSITIVE FUTURES. THESE IDEALS ARE SELF EVIDENT AND ARE THE ETHICS CLASS TO MOTIVATE STUDENTS. GETTING BEAT UP ALONG THE WAYS WITH TRENDY MOVEMENTS. BUT THE BIG PICTURE IS THERE TO EXPLORE.

      GLEN

  5. Glen, You asked me what I would do to improve SCI-Arc.

    A few suggestions:
    1. Diversify the faculty ( that would expand the choices for students)
    2. Some sort of Community Design Studio ( this would encourage real world thinking)
    3. Encourage ‘experts’ in technical areas to lecture on architecture from their pov and expertise..

    There is too much emphasis on a single approach re architecture. Other knowledge is handled ‘on a need to know’ basis. This contributes to ‘smart ass but stupid’ overall student body. Ignorance plus Arrogance is a dangerous combo, and not a Subway special. eric

    • eric,
      “ignorance plus arrogance is dangerous ” you got that right, especially dealing with students that are limited to what makes the world go around. they are attracted to those that claim to have the answers and get acclaim for that.

      moss runs the place with his chosen few that need to get his stamp of approval before they can participate. a king that stands for nothing beyond his limited grasp. all orchestrated with developers and media people to perpetuate the hype.

      if a person like myself went to every class and did an assessment of what was being taught in the trenches. the criticism would be specific to divulge ridiculous stuff students were being fed. the article and pictures would tell it all. but even then the average person and architect would not have the smarts to get mad and do something. the profession is weak. sci-arc number 1 in the world. if that is true the rest of the schools must be terrible, which could be a possibility.

      glen

        • cameron,

          thanks for the comment and the contact that is involved with community concerns.
          you might contact eric moss, he calls the shots. if you could show him somethings that benefits his interest, he might get sci-arc involved. it is worth a try.

          glen

  6. Glen, I think its one main developer he’s in bed with, Fred Smith. If I remember they two have offices next to each other or closer.. We both know the dirt on Moss. How he was laughed at in the beginning by the East coast intellectual crowd. And how that got to him. His dreams of self-importance. His father issues, His need to control. His bullying. A psycho-therapist would find him either interesting or a bore.

    But forget about that. Its the ideas, the work, that counts. The public face not the inner motivations. And As to his architecture it has a consistency , and consequences.

    The consistent theme is anti-architecture. That I can enumerate, and criticize. The consequence of the approach is that is work always identified with the personality. You have to buy into his psychology, his motivations, his vision. And that vision is justified only by Moss.

    SCI-Arc is another parallel. I dont see much difference. Later

    • eric,

      anti architecture is the perfect description. laughing at what works.

      what i find inconsistent is that the student work is flowing and form motivated, i thought this was in contrast to eric’s projects. but maybe the overkill oneness does the same thing.

      look at all the eye catcher sculptural large fake structural things hanging around sci-arc to create an image. these are not eric forms nor interests, yet are everywhere.

      explain that?

      glen

  7. In a new five minute movie called “SCI-Arc 40th Anniversary Film” the giddy and vibrant Sci Arc Board of Trustee member, Tom Gilmore, in a voice over the robot scene, says, in museum he sees new ideas of 100 years ago but in Sci Arc he sees new ideas of 2013… Profound.. He is also responsible for Rocket Pizza, Pete’s Coffee and gentrification of downtown buy cheap sell high.
    Alliances made with hi end developers who are timeless…
    Good propaganda made in TED talks style. Does the school produce what the market makes money on? No, but it is good to sleep with the developers. Best fuck you’ll ever have, some believe and go for it. EOM loves developers. They are so obsessed with creativity and innovation, I doubt the younger faculty realize they are being used by the gentrifiers.

    • orhan,

      “money makes the world go around.” if you do not buy into that you are an outsider. a fringe player. there is no room for socially conscious or environmental projects.

      when sci-arc does get involved, it uses $250,000 to create a small sustainable habitat with cal tech. all about money. noise for a school concerned about an image for ecology. correct me if i am wrong, but i see nothing in the school addressing the needs of the poor , lower class nor even the middle class.

      tom gilmore opened his evening remarks by asking to see hands raised of the developers in the audience. a substantial number of the audience raised their hands. tom jumping with excitement, saying something to the affect that he relates and puts developers ahead of architects. in his limited world, ” according to gilmore” he is correct.

      any project of merit, is a combination of the developer and the architect. when you have a limited developer, it is real tough to create significant architecture.

      glen

  8. WE DON’T NEED YOUR EDUCATION

    Which is why alternative architectures are needed and proposed. Pop-up ‘instant’ markets, public owned shade gardens, lightweight quickly transportable tent-cities, backyard people shelters, scholar retreats, abandoned housing takeovers, free food markets, street markets, free universities…

    It is not about form. The sexy-object obsessions that schools applaud just feeds into the narcissistic mirror that students see in publications and in the works of their teachers. The mirror phase of ego-making.. Approval from the parent substitute, whether teacher or developer. What do you want me to do daddy? How can I help you mom?

    So this is what architecture has become, applause and approval for small bits of recognition. And so the architects job is to make it ‘look good’.

    So Lets redefine the role. Lets begin at the start, with students. Lets cut the umbilical cord, free the child.

    I will paraphrase Pink Floyd and point this at SCI-Arc. We don’t need YOUR education….”

    Let us redefine ourselves as well.

    eric chavkin

    • there is no mystery for me of what the poor , lower class and middle class need. but i do not run the world. the rich are a class onto themselves. one minuet building with tree parts to build a chair for the rustic look to show respect for the dollar and the next minuet needing nothing but the most expensive high crafted items to emphiaise their wealth. steve jobs the guruh of the wealth getting norman foster to go all the way in apple’s new headquarters.

      i went back an read this blog including the insigtful comments of eric chavkin and orhan ayyuce. is anybody listening?

      glen

  9. Glen,
    I know a lot of people are reading this post. They might not respond because as you might know criticality is out the door and corporate culture has taken over. These people talk in whispers, follow the money and other benefits even the cause is lopsided. It is the culture of mediocrity and acceptance. One of the places I work has a poster on the dean’s office window that says, “ACCEPT the GOOD.” Whatever the good might be but it usually translates to “DON”T COMPLAIN.”
    People are scared of any critical stance for it might come back and threaten their American dream with a house and a family, living a life the whole consumer economy is set up for. Don’t rock the boat and don’t complain. Or, you are out! SCI Arc has a strong PR department and spend tons of money promoting themselves. It is their expensive livelihood. It starts with feeding the celebrity culture, upper middle class creative culture promotion, alliances with gentrifying developers and so on. Sort of “for profit culture production.” It benefits real estate industry who wants to buy cheap and sell for disproportional profits. Architecture in Los Angeles has been surviving on this kind of face painting.
    So, people following the money and power.
    This is La Citta Capitalista.
    ” Keep your mouth shut, keep your job. Accept the good. Don’t complain.”
    I really believe we are doing more good for SCI Arc by criticizing it than people sitting on the sideline and buying into the power and complicity. All these commentary here so far is for the long time survival of the institute that was a big part of our lives.
    In a sense, isn’t there more people who cares for it?

    • orhan,

      the one thing that i did not push teaching was: morals of architecture.

      it is asking a lot of a students, because they are in the exposure state and usually have not developed a philosophy.

      the appropriate thing should be for the professors sounding off on this subject. that never happened at sci-arc in my presence. probably for all your reasons and more.

      to disagree at sci-arc created division in the school, rather than a healthy exchange of ideas. that eventually lead to where the school is today. sameness.

      the consensus process gets more difficult as more people are involved, all the vested interests come into play and creative thinking is curtailed

      for some reason architects think they are quite different, but when you get them relaxed and opening up they all have issues with clients, money, staff, building department, morals etc.

      open healthy debate and differences should be part of the educational and profession system, and encouraged.

      glen

  10. Glen, Eric, Orhan – great dialogs and I concur with the points about a lack of others providing input and about SCI-Arc’s sameness which began, as you note, in their first years. Also like the notion of moral architecture/architects – an oxymoron if the goal is to create income along any open capital lane despite who one runs over.
    Having just discovered this blog I will go through its commentaries as no doubt there are many, many more readers than responders. I may respond to past ideas if you don’t mind kicking things around again.
    Anyway, after 20 years my wife and I have relocated to Santa Monica from a decades in SF and the Midwest. . . . . btw, last year at SF MOMA there was an exhibit for Utopia which included B.Fuller & others. One SF architect’s model reminded me of Glen’s BB – the Hydramax Port Machine project proposed how the SF waterfront could respond to rising sea levels. Rather than barricade the city with dykes & seawalls, Hydramax offered soft tidal edges with responsive, biologically inspired architecture—aquatic parks, gardens, and wildlife refuges—that harness the water for drinking, power, and food production. The model displayed at the museum incorporated motion sensors that, when triggered by visitors, cause featherlike solar collectors and fog-catchers to wave slowly in the air. VERY biospheric.

  11. @ 1K / seat to sit with Sci~Arc luminaries for the sole purpose of self adulations and listening to corporate stooges deciding our future is the way it has always been. no surprises
    lots of “smiling faces” … with thinly veiled reasons for being together
    Amazing photo’s Glen, thanks .. there is so much to these. each of us, have a little story about the other and there’s so much that still needs to be said … i am the fly on the wall in many of these characters ascent lets circle our wagons for some “story time” we can all learn to learn together in a productive manner … Greetings Comrades
    btw Glen you look exactly as i remember …

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