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SCI_Arc Graduation Pavilion, 2012

Los Angeles, CA


Every spring SCI-Arc selects a faculty member, along with students, to design a pavilion for their graduation ceremony. In 2011, Oyler Wu Collaborative designed a pavilion constructed of a steel frame along with 40,000 linear feet of rope that was knitted to create an intricate canopy. This year, Oyler Wu Collaborative was again asked to design the architecture for the ceremony but with the challenge of rethinking the event of the ceremony while keeping the existing pavilion they had previously designed. Essentially, the challenge called for making the existing pavilion new again. Their approach to the problem was two-fold. The first strategy considered the orientation and flow of the ceremony by reworking the movement of the graduating students, as well as changing the visual focus of the ceremony. They decided to re-orient the audience 180 degrees from the previous year, turning them from facing west toward downtown Los Angeles to facing east toward the quarter-mile long school building that SCI-Arc calls home. Secondly, with the audience now facing outward toward the open end of the existing pavilion, a new stage, entitled Centerstage, was designed to formalize the celebration of the diploma ceremony as well as the seating of the guest speakers. The main feature, the canopy of Centerstage, plays off of the repetitious structural elements of the existing pavilion, this time combining an ambitious steel cantilever with a color twisting shade fabric.


The stage operates as a hybrid of different elements, incorporating into it a large stage with a central podium, seating that is configured much like a bleacher, and a cantilevered shade canopy. While the center of the actual stage is in alignment with the center of the existing pavilion, the overall structure is positioned asymmetrically, with the bleacher and canopy located off axis.


The structure is made of painted steel tubes that evolve geometrically from stage and bleacher supports into a twisting, repetitious frame that hovers over the stage. Within that dense and contorted frame, bright blue shade fabric winds its way from the stage surface up into the cantilever. Along the way, the tightly stretched fabric twists around and through the structure, highlighting the natural curvature of the fabric in contrast to the sharpness of the structural frames. The final element in the transformation of this year’s ceremony is with the existing pavilion itself. The fabric of the existing shade canopy was changed from silver to charcoal grey. The change effectively inverts the colors of the existing pavilion- once reading as a network of dark lines set against a light field of fabric, the silver ropes are now highlighted against a dark backdrop.

Project Credits:


Principal Architects:

Dwayne Oyler

Jenny Wu


Design + Fabrication:

Huy Le, Sanjay Sukie, Mike Piscitello, Jie Yang, Clifford Ho, Tingting Lu, Mina Jun, Vincent Yeh, Justin Kim, Kubo Han, Sara Moomsaz, Amir Munoz, Tommy Shao, Mina Jun, Justin Kim, Sandra Reyes, Kathleen Mejia, Manuel Oh, Jim Li, David Ramirez.


Structural Engineering: Nous Engineering, Matt Melnyk


Photography: Scott Mayoral, Dwayne Oyler


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