SCI-Arc Appoints New Vice Director and Academic Program Chairs

Director Hernan Diaz Alonso Names John Enright as Vice Director/Chief Academic Officer, Elena Manferdini as Graduate Programs Chair and Tom Wiscombe as Undergraduate Program Chair

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 2, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SCI-Arc Director Hernan Diaz Alonso today announced the appointment of John Enright as Vice Director/Chief Academic Officer, Elena Manferdini as Graduate Programs Chair, and Tom Wiscombe as Undergraduate Program Chair. Diaz Alonso made the announcement after assuming the position of SCI-Arc Director and Chief Operating Officer on September 1.

"I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with this group of respected colleagues to define the future of architecture education at SCI-Arc," says Diaz Alonso. "John, Elena and Tom have demonstrated an immovable commitment to innovation and academic excellence, a deep passion for teaching, and a pioneering approach to architecture education. Together, we share an ambition to showcase to the world the many different ways in which architecture and design can change it."

John Enright, FAIA has been serving as the school's Undergraduate Program Chair since 2010, having taught at the school since 2001. In his new role of Vice Director/Chief Academic Officer, Enright oversees various school functions including: academic programs, planning and operations, accreditation, admissions and recruitment, IT, fabrication shop and robot lab. Enright, along with SCI-Arc faculty member Margaret Griffin, FAIA, is founding principal of Griffin Enright Architects. Their work has been extensively published locally, nationally and internationally, and has received dozens of awards for design excellence including local, state and national AIA Awards and The American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum. Enright has taught design studios and technology seminars at SCI-Arc, Syracuse University, University of Houston, and University of Southern California. His academic research focuses on design and building technology, addressing new digital paradigms as applied to fabrication and construction. He has served on the advisory committee of the national AIA's Educator Practitioners Network, and he currently serves on the Los Angeles Mayor's Design Advisory Panel and the NCARB's Licensure Task Force. Enright received an M.Arch from Columbia University and a B.Arch from Syracuse University.

"I am honored to serve as Vice Director/Chief Academic Officer of SCI-Arc and I look forward to working with Hernan and the team he has assembled," said Enright. "SCI-Arc has continued to be an exceptional hotbed of architectural discourse because of the dynamic faculty, dedicated students, and supportive administration, staff, and board of trustees. If from the pedagogical side our aim is clear—namely, to continue to pursue the redefinition of architectural discourse in all its forms—from an administrative side, our task should be even clearer: to create the most productive and excellent environment possible for the faculty and students to do just that."

Elena Manferdini contributes more than 15 years of professional experience to her new role as SCI-Arc Graduate Programs Chair. She has been teaching design studios and visual studies seminars at SCI-Arc since 2003, serving most recently as coordinator of the school's graduate thesis.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the future of SCI-Arc as Graduate Programs Chair," says Manferdini. "My commitment remains one of advancing the architectural discourse while rethinking its conventions. This is a key approach for a school dedicated to educating architects who will imagine and shape the future."

Manferdini is founder and principal of Atelier Manferdini in Venice, CA. Her work has been recognized nationally and internationally with awards including the 2013 COLA Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs to support the production of original artwork, a 2013 Graham Award for architecture, and the ACADIA Innovative Research Award of Excellence. In 2011, she was recipient of a prestigious United States Artists (USA) annual grant in the category of architecture and design, while her Blossom design for Alessi received the Good Design Award. In addition to art and architectural projects, Manferdini has worked on several museum installations and object designs for internationally renowned companies including Swarovski, Sephora, Driade, MTV, Fiat, Nike, Alessi, Ottaviani, Moroso, Valentino, Arktura, Lerival and BMW. Throughout the years, Manferdini has been acknowledged with prestigious appointments such as the Howard Friedman Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of California at Berkeley and various visiting professor positions at Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania and Seika University. In 2013, she received the "Educator of the Year" presidential award from AIA Los Angeles. Manferdini received an M.Arch from UCLA and a bachelor in engineering from the University of Civil Engineering, Bologna, Italy.

Tom Wiscombe has been a senior SCI-Arc faculty member for more than 10 years. He assumes the role of Chair of the B.Arch. program after having coordinated the school's applied studies track for six years.

"I am humbled and excited to be asked to join the leadership of SCI-Arc," said Wiscombe. "When I imagine SCI-Arc, I imagine a wonderland of bright things, dark things, alluring things like I've never seen anywhere else. "SCI-Arc is like a parallel universe of how reality could be, should be. Now is the time for SCI-Arc to expand its reach, share its unique culture of speculation and imagination, and really show the world what architecture can do."

Wiscombe is founder and principal of Tom Wiscombe Architecture, an internationally recognized design practice whose work stands out in terms of its mysterious figural features, alluring graphic qualities, and its tectonic inventiveness. His office is currently working on the high-profile Main Museum of Los Angeles Art with developer Tom Gilmore located in the historic core of Los Angeles. Wiscombe has developed an international reputation through winning design competitions and exhibitions at major cultural institutions around the world. In 2014, he received Second Place in the international competition for the Kinmen Passenger Service Center, Taiwan. In 2012, he was part of the joint design team organized by Morphosis to compete for the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, which received Second Prize. In 2011, he won first place in two competitions for the 2013 Chinese National Games, and was hired by the Interior Ministry of China to design the Beijing National Hotel. In addition to his teaching experience at SCI-Arc, Wiscombe has taught advanced research studios as Visiting Professor at PennDesign, and in 2012, he held the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professorship at Yale University. Previously, Wiscombe worked for Coop Himmelb(l)au, where he was Chief Designer for BMW World, Munich, the Museum of Confluences, Lyon, and the UFA Cinema Center, Dresden. Wiscombe received an M.Arch from UCLA and a B.Arch from the University of California at Berkeley.

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