During the Summer of 2016, I attended a 4-week architecture program called, Design Immersion Days, at The Southern California Institute of Architecture. SCI-Arc is a world-renowned independent school of architecture located in downtown Los Angeles. Also known as “DID”, this summer intensive program introduced me to the professions of design and architecture. The program consisted of four prominent architects.
Students and teachers are exposed to the city’s visual, structural, and cultural context through the lens of those most deeply engaged with shaping the cityscape. My teachers influence and perspectives allowed me to think in a more creative yet structured way about architecture but also where I live. I met other students from Los Angeles as well as abroad who all had different perspectives on life.
DID is organized each week with collegial interactions in the studio, field trips, and one-on-one mentoring. Students also have private tours of museums, design firms, and galleries. By the end of the course each student will have a clear idea of what college-level architectural study is like.
Students are exposed to examples of design and modes of production at all scales, from sophisticated 3D modeling techniques to hand-modeling.
In the classroom and in the city we explored ways of seeing, thinking, and doing that are essential for anyone interested in pursuing a career in architecture or design. Students learn about a range of basic skills essential to exploring, discovering, and describing design work: freehand sketching, mechanical drafting, computer drawing, physical model making, and computer-based 3D modeling, as well as processes that enable fluid movement between the physical and the virtual realms.
Each of the projects I created, helped me learn about design in ways I’d never thought of before. With each project we were introduced to new tools such as Rhino. This program helped me create complex surfaces, shapes, and solids. Though sometimes stressful, we worked individually and in teams to help one another gain new techniques and knowledge about architecture and design. The final products were always a monumental accomplishment. The critiques helped me reflect on something I could have improved or would possibly want to change. One of my favorite activities were the multiple fields trips around the Los Angeles area: architecture firms, the older historic structures to the contemporary buildings that make up our city, and random places that were priceless and expanded my thought on my surroundings.
One of my favorite aspects of the program was meeting students from so many places in the United States. Spending class time together during the day and going to concerts and restaurants after the day ended made it easy to build lasting friendships. We were all introduced to different types of music, art forms, varying perspectives of design and architecture. I learned a lot about life in the 4 weeks at Design Immersion Days at SCI-Arc. It was an unforgettable experience.
1) AVPA Art Student, Sara Alamillo (second from left), at Design Immersion Days at SCI-Arc
2) Sara’s Artwork
3) Culminating Event for DID Students at SCI-Arc (Sara, Seated First in Second Row From Top)