SCI-Arc EDGE, Center for Advanced Studies in Architecture, will be graduating its first students at the end of this summer. All four postgraduate programs are currently in the final semester of the three-semester sequence and students are busy wrapping up their final projects.
SCI-Arc EDGE is a new platform for advanced studies in architecture. Its innovative postgraduate degree programs are designed to test the theoretical and practical limits of architectural innovation in order to launch new architectural careers for the twenty-first century. David Ruy, the Chair of Postgraduate Programs at SCI-Arc explains, “Though architecture is an old discipline, the idea of the architect has dramatically evolved over its impressive history. Given how much the idea of the architect has already changed, I think we can safely conclude that we haven’t seen the final version of the architect yet. Most schools today are stuck in old models of career building. I think it is dangerous to assume that the future will continue to look like the present (it has never turned out to be true). I think the most important jobs in the future will be the ones that don’t even exist yet. SCI-Arc EDGE is the place where you prepare for that future.”
Each of the four programs—Architectural Technologies, Fiction and Entertainment, Design of Cities, and Design Theory and Pedagogy—identify a distinct territory in the emerging milieus of the contemporary world and empower students to become active stakeholders in building the future. Ruy continues, “More than any other field, architecture has a profound effect on what we think the world is. I would like our students to accept the responsibility of defining the world rather than accepting what other people say it is. Everything that you think is real started out as someone’s crazy idea.”
Led by Marcelo Spina, the Architectural Technologies program has been investigating machine vision, artificial intelligence, and the impact that these two emerging technologies are having on architecture. One of the conclusions of their research agenda is that machine automation is not simply a problem of fabrication technologies anymore. Because these new technologies affect the very vision and intelligence of the designer, machine vision and artificial intelligence are transforming the architectural imagination itself. As machines become more than passive tools and start to become active collaborators in the design process, what architectural innovations will we see?
In this first year of the Fiction and Entertainment program at SCI-Arc, Liam Young has been examining the powerful role that fiction plays in culture today. During the three semesters of the program, Liam’s students have authored compelling short films depicting the strange implications of technology in contemporary life. The fictional scenarios of these projects critically frame the uncertain territories of the near future.
In the Design of Cities program, Peter Trummer has been leading his students through a radical design research project looking at the effects of finance on the contemporary city. Students have been developing speculative projects examining the powerful role that global investment plays today in determining the shape of cities. Whereas form may have followed function at some moment in the past, today, form appears to follow finance.
Finally, the first students in the Design Theory and Pedagogy program are currently distilling their teaching experiences at SCI-Arc by developing design projects following their own advanced design studio briefs. In the fall, the students examined SCI-Arc’s core curriculum and got hands-on experience teaching in the SCI-Arc studios and seminars. In addition to studying the history of architectural pedagogies, they developed their own core studio briefs and experimented with developing new design studio exercises. In the spring, they assisted in teaching SCI-Arc’s advanced studios (vertical studios) and developed their own advanced studio syllabi. This summer, they are finishing the program by developing design projects following the brief that they developed in the spring, testing their pedagogies first hand.
Each of the four programs will present the work produced in this first year of SCI-Arc EDGE in a four-day public event, August 29 – September 1, 2017.
Schedule for SCI-Arc EDGE Symposium
In Keck Auditorium
- Tuesday, August 29, 4pm-7pm: Design of Cities
- Wednesday, August 30, 4pm-7pm: Design Theory and Pedagogy
- Thursday, August 31, 4pm-7pm: Architectural Technologies
- Friday, September 1, 4pm-7pm: Fiction and Entertainment