Conversations : SCI-Arc Vertical Studio, F20 : Pt 1

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

The Conversation Series

Transcripts of recordings between Michael Rotondi and colleagues in architecture and academia,

taken from video meetings. The dialogue has been lightly edited for text format.


With Prof. Michael Benedikt, Architect, Author and Distinguished Professor at University of Texas at Austin

September 30, 2020


Studio Syllabus - Abstract

With the world working remotely and relying on zoom, slack, and other video and screensharing applications, the world of architectural design and education that largely exist within the virtual realm already have not taken advantage of the full range of virtual tools for making and meeting.


Games have come a long way in the past five years and many sandbox games (that allow for user generated content) now offer multiplayer and collaboration modes. The studio this fall will be hosted entirely within one of a number of virtual worlds within the Core platform, and as such the requirements of the projects will be based on that virtual environment of Core not our physical world….

Read the full syllabus here.


Michael Benedikt asked about the SCI-Arc Studio :


Michael Rotondi :

I’ll give you a really brief intro – I said, ‘There’s got to be something beyond Zoom.’ So over the summer, I searched SCI-Arc and one of the teachers gave me the name of this guy who is really a smart, young, undergraduate, an autodidact, and has been playing games since he was in the womb. He, working with Nels, in my office, who is one of my senior guys and also a major gamer, they devised a platform that we call Second Studio*.


All of us, 12 students and the three of us, can all go into this virtual space, which is SCI-Arc, and start class at SCI-Arc. So our avatars can be together, together, as opposed to on Zoom where you’re alone, together. And we then gave them all their own studio space, which each space has a portal into these worlds that they’re building, based on Earth, Water, Air and Fire. So, they have to read about the mythology, and then we’re having them develop a narrative.


I told them, ‘did you know that the Lion King was based on Hamlet?’ And they said, ‘No way!’ They’re starting to look at, intuitively, what stories they want to tell, and what they’re adapted from, and then they’re developing worlds with the game engine. Some of them are astonishing.


*RotoLab, RoTo Ark’s sister company, developed software called Second Studio -- an advanced enterprise collaboration platform that combines robust design tools in a virtual reality environment with secure cloud-based collaborative capabilities and integrated 3D printing features.


200825 VS F20 Second Studio Syllabus
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