Location: Los Angeles, California
Undergraduate program: Bachelor of Architecture
Graduate program: Master of Architecture
Number of student: 500
Number of faculty: 80
Notable alumni: Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban, Gaston Nogues and Benjamin Ball of Ball-Nogues Studio
Strengths: An ambitious and challenging philosophy that architects must “engage, speculate and innovate to take the lead in reimagining the limits of architecture”
The overview: The Southern California Institute of Architecture (now SCI-Arc) was founded in 1972 to shake up traditional architecture education and introduce outside-the-box thinking. Today, the school is still known for its progressive curriculum, plus a board of trustees that includes titans like Frank Gehry and Thom Mayne. “SCI-Arc is where architects become mad scientists,” says director/CEO Hernan Diaz Alonso. His message to potential students is “architecture is an act of optimism.” Set in an old freight depot, the school is a haven for experimentation, which mainly happens in the Magic Box, a cutting-edge digital fabrication lab alongside the Robot House and Analog Fabrication Shop.