ONE OF the stops yesterday on the Arts District walk/hike was the Southern California Institute of Architecture — SCI-Arc Located in a quarter-mile-long former freight depot right along the old train yards, Sci-Arc is a rarity: one of the few independent architecture institutions in the nation. It offers both undergraduate and graduate programs that invite students to work in a non-heirarchial way (graduate students work with undergrads on projects). As well, the surrounding community is encouraged to explore and utilize the space (e.g. the library is open to all) and conversely the students are expected to use and re-imagine the city as a canvas — it is their laboratory.
The concrete pass-through spaces are lit with soft natural light and the workspaces feel like little hives of activity brining new life to this re-purposed space. Passing through the old depot feels as if you are moving through a series of rail cars, peeking in at work in progress: short stories of L.A. future in the making.