Publication

  • LA8020
    Hernan Diaz Alonso
    Editor
    Joe Day, Erik Ghenoiu, Namick Mackic, and Marikka Trotter
    Contributors
  • GRANTEE
    Southern California Institute of Architecture
    GRANT YEAR
    2019

Satellite image of the 710 in Los Angeles. Courtesy of SCI-Arc.

Featuring commissions from an array of prominent scholars, practitioners, producers and chroniclers of Los Angeles culture, LA8020 dissects—in parallel—the shifting patterns of urbanization in LA and its cultural production from 1980–2020. During this period, the city has undergone a major transformation from the prototypical model of US auto-driven urban expansion to an embodiment of the global metropolitan condition. With its novel narrative structural strategy and methodology, the book combines the virtues of two distinct models for literary treatments of cities: the idiosyncrasies and depths of multiple individual contributions with the coherence and ambition of grand cultural analysis. While focused on one city, the project’s ambition is to reframe the discussion around the character of any city. LA8020 proposes a new mode of urban analysis—one that entwines the transscalar processes of urbanization (previously: “city”) and the mutating biological, technological, and cultural lifeforms they breed and incorporate (“urban life”).

Hernan Diaz Alonso, LA8020 editor-in-chief, assumed the role of SCI-Arc director and chief executive officer in 2015. He has served as a distinguished faculty member since 2001, coordinator of the graduate thesis program (2007–10), and graduate programs chair (2010–15). Diaz Alonso is principal of HDA-X. His awards include: Educator of the Year award (2012) from the American Institute of Architects, AR+D Award for Emerging Architecture (2013) and Progressive Architecture Award (2013). Diaz Alonso’s work is in the permanent collections of the FRAC Centre, Orleans, France; SFMOMA; The Museum of Modern Art; Thyssen-Bornemisza, MAK Museum, Vienna; and the Art Institute of Chicago. He has exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale, London Architecture Biennale, ArchiLab in Orleans, France; Museum of Modern Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Art Institute of Chicago; and MAK Centre, Vienna. He has taught at Yale University, Columbia University, and the University of Applied Arts, Vienna.

Joe Day is an LA8020 editor. He leads Deegan-Day Design LLC and serves on the design and History and Theory faculty at SCI-Arc. He contributed an additional foreword to the 2009 edition of Reyner Banham’s seminal study, Los Angeles: Architecture of the Four Ecologies (University of California Press, 2009), and in 2012 taught at Yale School of Architecture as the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Chair. Day’s Corrections & Collections: Architectures for Art and Crime (Routledge, 2013), supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation, explores new polarities in contemporary architecture and urbanism. He serves on SCI-Arc’s board of trustees, and as a director at the W.M. Keck Foundation.

Erik Ghenoiu is an LA8020 editor. Ghenoiu serves on History and Theory faculty at SCI-Arc. He previously served as the manager of the Harvard-Mellon Urban Initiative, where he coordinated urban research involving more than twenty departments and institutes across Harvard. He was adjunct associate professor of graduate architecture and urban design at Pratt Institute, where he served as director of publications for the School of Architecture. He has taught or been a fellow at the City College of New York, the University of Queensland, Parsons, Queens University Belfast, Harvard, Freie-Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Namik Mackic is LA8020’s managing editor and project manager. His transdisciplinary career spans cultural and education policy development, environmental media strategy, and performing and visual arts is an urbanist, educator, curator, and artist. A graduate of the Master in Design Studies program at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, he is currently assistant professor at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, and was previously visiting instructor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's School of Architecture + Planning, guest critic at Rhode Island School of Design, and research associate with the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative. His writings have appeared in New Geographies, The Metropolitan Laboratory, and Sursock Museum’s publication Elements for a World.

Marrikka Trotter is an LA8020 editor, and History and Theory faculty coordinator at SCI-Arc. She is an architectural historian and theorist whose research examines the historical intersections between geology, architecture, agriculture, and landscape. Trotter is coeditor of the contemporary architectural theory collections Architecture at the Edge of Everything Else (MIT Press, 2010) and Architecture is All Over (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2017), which was supported by the Graham Foundation. Her writing has appeared in Harvard Design Magazine, Log, and AA Files. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 2017, and her work has received funding from the Paul Mellon Centre, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and Sir John Soane's Museum, among others.

Against the backdrop of the counterculture movement, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) was opened in 1972 in a Santa Monica warehouse by a small group of faculty and students seeking a radical alternative to traditional architecture education. SCI-Arc’s founding faculty, guest faculty, and students from those early years—including Frank Gehry, Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss and Wolf Prix—have since produced some of the world’s most significant buildings and have influenced generations of architects. The mission of SCI-Arc is to teach architects to engage, speculate, and innovate, to take the lead in reimagining the possibilities of architecture.