SCI-Arc's newly announced director sees growth and a global presence

SCI-Arc appoints a new director: Hernan Diaz Alonso

The Southern California Institute of Architecture is getting it's first new director in more than a decade.

Hernan Diaz Alonso will succeed current director Eric Owen Moss when Moss' term concludes next September. The appointment was announced Thursday by Jerold B. Neuman, chairman of the SCI-Arc board of trustees.

Reached by phone after his appointment, Diaz Alonso said he was thrilled but added that he wasn't ready to go into detail about his plans for SCI-Arc.

"The idea that the next appointed director has one year to establish plans for curriculum and development is a very refreshing thing," he said.

"I'm excited and humbled by the scope of the job. Stepping in after Eric Moss, who was a great director, makes my job both easy and more difficult because I have to go up from there," Diaz Alonso said.

"Going up" will include possibly expanding the campus and "getting SCI-Arc more and more involved on a global level."

Diaz Alonso has been a faculty member at SCI-Arc since 2001. He is known for championing the school's push toward a digital future and has been the Graduate Programs Chair since 2010.

He is also principal of the L.A.-based architecture firm Xefirotarch.

Diaz Alonso was named Educator of the Year by the American Institute of Architects in 2012. In 2010 he was a Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor of Architectural Design at Yale University, and in spring 2015 he will serve as Yale's Eero Saarinen Professor of Architectural Design.

As SCI-Arc's new director he will oversee the direction of an institution with more than 500 students and 80 faculty members, many of whom are well-known in their field.

"The main thing is to figure out a way for SCI-Arc to keep growing without losing its character and pedigree," Diaz Alonso said.

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