The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) today announced it has received two major grants that will be used to create the SCI-Arc Digital Lecture Archive. This free web archive will contain more than 1,000 hours of key architectural and design lectures and symposia from 1974 to the present that will be accessible online, via phone applications, e-readers, and other new media channels. A transformative $200,000 grant from The Getty Foundation and a significant $70,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts—their largest award this year in the Design category—will be used by SCI-Arc to digitize, transcribe, curate and present lectures by some of the most important architects, designers, and theorists who have guest lectured at the school during the past four decades, to form one of the most complete architectural archival collections of its kind in the world.
“SCI-Arc’s lecture archive is unique and impressive,” said SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss. “Its contents illustrate how for 40 years the school has continued to assemble this record of the most outspoken avant-garde architects from around the world. The record of lectures is especially useful going forward, suggesting what might be coming next, and, reciprocally, going backward to test whether what was claimed by the speakers was subsequently delivered.”
The SCI-Arc Digital Lecture Archive will provide access to never before seen footage of some of the most influential leaders in architecture and design, including Frank O. Gehry, Zaha Hadid, David Hockney, Rem Koolhaas, John Lautner, Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, Kazuyo Sejima, and many more. Among those in the archive are 12 winners of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize—the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the field of architecture. Many of these architects and artists appear more than once, providing opportunities for analysis of their development over a long span of their careers. Documentation critical to understanding the architectural history and legacy of Southern California, and Los Angeles’ role as an incubator of innovation, is particularly strong in this collection.
Scheduled to be launched in 2012—coinciding with SCI-Arc’s 40th anniversary—the SCI-Arc Digital Lecture Archive will feature a sophisticated search engine that will allow access to both entire lectures as well as specific segments of each lecture, placing the school’s significant archive at one’s fingertips. Targeting a global audience of students, professionals, researchers, historians, and members of the general public with an interest in architecture and design, this online platform will provide deep, customized access to the archive, through sub-clips searchable by specific topic and speaker.
SCI-Arc’s lecture archive was started in 1974, when students began taping lectures by distinguished practitioners and scholars spanning the fields of architecture, urban design, city planning, and other arts-related environments. Now standard practice at educational and cultural institutions, videotaping lectures was uncommon in the mid-1970s. Lecturers responded to SCI-Arc’s culture of creative engagement, by speaking candidly about their work. In addition to featuring talks by some of the most radical architectural and design innovators of our time, the collection reflects SCI-Arc’s interdisciplinary approach by including lectures by major figures in other disciplines such as art (Chris Burden, David Hockney, Robert Irwin, Alexis Smith, Diana Thater, James Turrell), film (Godfrey Reggio), critical thinking (Reyner Banham, Beatriz Colomina, Manuel Delanda, Jeffrey Kipnis, Sanford Kwinter) and graphic design (2x4, April Greiman, Michael Worthington).
SCI-Arc currently hosts a limited online collection consisting of more than 200 select lectures available at www.sciarc.edu/lectures.php.