CPP to feature in statewide architecture exhibition

Cal Poly Pomona will be featured in the annual 2×8 Design Exhibition that aims to address issues revolving around housing disparity in Los Angeles and other urban cities. The virtual exhibition, hosted by the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, will showcase students’ interpretation of the theme through presentations and 3D models that offer innovative solutions.

Aside from CPP, students from 15 other architecture and design programs across universities in California will feature to compete for a scholarship. This year, the program is co-chaired by alum Kirill Volchinskiy (‘17, architecture) who hopes to celebrate a diverse architectural philosophy.

“The exhibit allows people to look at diverse work from institutions across California,” Volchinskiy said. “You get to see how fresh minds, who haven’t been bogged down by the constraints of the real world, take on the pedagogical and social concerns that they are responding to every day.”

Recent graduate Brittany Jones (‘20, architecture) was a part of the five-year architecture program at CPP and one of the students nominated by her professor, Sarah Lorenzen, to have her senior projects featured this year.

According to Jones, she wanted to focus her project on helping LA artists. She believes that musicians and performers are facing a dying career and, because of that, they would not be able to afford the high rent in order to stay in LA, especially with live theater postponed until June of 2021.

As a previous Skid Row resident, Athenna Ann Lim (‘20, architecture) considered the demographics when designing her interpretation of fair housing. (Courtesy of Athenna Ann Lim)

Both graduates are passionate about the living situations that exist in LA and they both wanted to create a project that was going to benefit many people who are struggling. They were both grateful to be nominated and have their work featured in this year’s exhibition.

Two students were nominated from each school to showcase their work and compete for a scholarship that will be awarded during the opening ceremony on Nov. 5. Inviting jury members from across the country, portions of the $30,000 scholarship will be distributed among the winners. The specific guidelines of the scholarships and winners have not yet been determined.

“The scholarships are tier-based,” said Tatiana Sarkisian, co-chair of the exhibition. “We want to award as many students possible but, of course, this is a competition. We like to have a top prize to give merit to what we do.”

The exhibition’s virtual set was also designed by Garet Ammerman, a CPP lecturer in the Department of Architecture, after his proposal was selected from a pool of candidates.

Ammerman faced challenges with the exhibit’s postponement from May to November and into the virtual setting, requiring him to restructure his plans for the set design. Nonetheless, designing a virtual space proved to be a welcoming challenge with endless possibilities.

When designing the set, Ammerman wanted students’ work to be showcased within the online format.

“The design should enable the exhibition of the student work,” Ammerman said. “We were able to give each student their individual rooms that we have been calling pods, where students’ work resides within, so viewers are able to move from pod to pod on an individual basis. This is something completely unique to this exhibit.”

In addition to the exhibition, the program will host public panels inviting architects and representatives from different universities to discuss housing disparities and racial inequalities within the organizations and the field.

The 2×8 program was founded in 2002 by the LA chapter of the American Institute of Architecture and gained recognition for its efforts to showcase student work across California. Although the program faced setbacks due to the economic downturn — resulting in a temporary pause for a couple of years — it restarted in 2017 and has been going strong since.

“This program gives hope when you’re talking about racial, social and economic inequalities that are all real problems that we are facing in LA, especially right now,” said Athenna Ann Lim, an exhibition participant and alumna of CPP’s architecture program. “Those are issues that can’t be solved, but the solutions can be helped with architecture.”

The free virtual exhibition is open to the public and will be streamed via Zoom on Nov. 5. To register for the event, visit https://www.aialosangeles.org/event/2×8-domum-student-exhibtion-2020/.

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