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323 226-1112

600 Moulton Avenue #405

Los Angeles, California

90031 USA

© 2019 Roto Architects, Inc.

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RoTo, Fall Studio 2013

 

RoTo, Spring Studio 2013

RoTo, Fall Studio 2013

RoTo, Spring Studio 2009

Quotes

HYBRID OF EXTREMES:I-HUBx
A modern day urban Caravanserai for Traders, Travelers, and Settlers:
A Creative Incubator for Serial Entrepreneurs inventing a Life +

 

A caravanserai is a roadside inn where traders (commerce) and travelers (cultural pollinators) can rest and recover from the day's journey as they do business. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information, and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa, and southeastern Europe, especially along the Silk Road. It was a hotel, rest stop, restaurant, depot and distribution center for goods, services, and ideas. Our speculation is that this is a historical model that has not been exhausted and ready to be reconceived and placed strategically in the city. Historically it managed physical goods and now it will manage physical and virtual products. It will become a communications hub as well.

This will be a place that is a part of a new social-cultural ecosystem emerging from a generation who sees the need to reinvent the world, their lives, and the places they live, work, and play. The world they were expected to inherit will soon begin an accelerated transformation to a higher level of performance while shifting into lower gears – higher speed and lower RPM. This is consistent with the principles of Conservation of Energy (first law of thermodynamics). This new complex will be conceived and built as it is lived in. It will grow over time (idea intensive), rather than be developed within time (capital intensive). This new small settlement will be constructed in phases conceptually mimicking Nature which has gone through a process of trial and error and multiple iterations to refine the dynamics of inter-scale creature transactions and forms of Habitat.

A caravanserai is always situated at the nexus of multiple routes and modes of transport.

Synopsis
1. Relationship – the teacher enters the world of the student and becomes a student of the students as he mentors them.
2. Speculation – inventing a life vs. inheriting one
3. Approach – our methodology is game development as a creative medium – scripting via story, strategy, and modulating movement in space.
4. Objective – expanded definition of Architectural Practice. More than a discipline, Architecture is a Platform.
5. Play – this studio will be a safe zone for gamers, players, and anyone willing to make mistakes and risk failure.
6. Hybridity – complex integrated intelligences, human + technology merging, physical + virtual worlds merging
7. Architecture – there will be a logic of nesting context (city-urban) content (story-program) and form (urban-architectural)

 

p2

Quotes

 


The following words describe–explain core aspects and our frames of reference this semester.

lifework
Work is meditations.
Meister Eckhart 13c


shift in generations
Don't limit students to your own learning. they were born in another time.
Enter their world.
Rabindranath Tagore 20c


convergence
Life formed when metabolism and DNA, on parallel trajectories intertwined and integrated.

third skin
Architecture is our third skin.
Roto 20c


fourth skin
Some time in the last fifty thousand years, with the invention of culture, the biological evolution of humans ceased and evolution became an epigenetic, cultural phenomenon. technology is the real skin of our species.
Terence Mckenna 20c


game design and play
Collectively, the planet is spending 3 billion hours a week gaming. What if we decided to use everything we knew about game design and play, to fix what’s wrong with reality.
Jane McGonigal 21c


games
There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play
James Carse 20c


freedom
Do not let the facts get in the way of your imagination when in a creative mode.
Roto 20c


lightness and weight
I would suggest this: my working method has more often than not involved the subtraction of weight. I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and from language.
Italo Calvino 20

 

p3

Introduction

It is speculated that our evolutionary purpose in the Universe, is to create, to resist entropy, a theoretical time when difference no longer exists. This is referred to as the heat death of the Universe. We have lived creation itself, from the moment of conception to the moment of birth. The entire memory of this process is stored in our deep cellular memory, and is commonly expressed in less than visible ways through our genetic code and in visible ways though our creative work in the world at large. Creativity is biological necessity and an evolutionary imperative. It occurs in the interaction between a person’s thoughts and a socio-cultural context. Although, we learn more, faster when proximity to others and the foundation for our creative work is shared, the creative moment itself is an introspective and private moment. Beyond the creative moment is it’s realization. This is a collective activity. The uniqueness of a creative moment realized collectively injects new ideas into the world.

Premise
The ages of faith (10c), reason (15c), society (19c), and economy (20c), conceived, constructed, and lived, over the last twelve hundred years has lead us into the early phases of the age of humanity (21c) and a new axial age, a shift in consciousness. The forces driving a fractured and fractionated world are subsiding and are beginning to become forces of gravity pulling everything into sync. The work that we do creatively moving forward will reflect this. As huge as cities are becoming, the biggest project of all, the Human enterprise, begins with the central question, “How can Humanity become a whole greater than the sum of it’s parts.” Is it possible for us to conceive a project that quietly expresses faith in our species capacity to self-correct back to our natural state of inherent goodness and compassion.

Overview
The project asks you to imagine a place, conceived as an incubator for your generation of creative leaders, post-grad and pre-pro, to invent a life in a collaborative community of interdisciplinary creators networked in physical and virtual space. The people working, living, and playing here are a cross sector group from the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, specifically from the creative disciplines, business, geo-sciences, bio-sciences, education, engineering, and law.

The incubator is an organization of mutually beneficial hybridized disciplines arranged into a campus. It is neither a school nor business but it educates and produces commodity. It occupies the transitory void between a student paying and a professional being paid. It serves its community by enriching the city environment as well as its social and economic surroundings. Its focus is on the Arts, Sciences and the Humanities.

The studio collective will explore ways of working together in studio that might approximate how those inhabiting the imaginary worlds we will create will live and work together. Based on the interests of an Architect, through a framework of an expanding definition of practice, and through the lens of your personal cosmologies, we will explore the role of Architecture in the City at this moment in time. We will use both conventional and unconventional models and metaphors to define the problem, set the constraints, and trigger your imagination.

The question Is there life after graduation that is a continuation of the life formed here, now? This is the question we will work on in all the ways we know how, plus some. This semester we will explore ways of working together in studio that might approximate how those inhabiting the imaginary world you will create for this project will live and work together. Based on the interests of an Architect, through a framework of an expanding definition of Practice, and through the lens of your personal cosmologies, we will explore the role of Architecture and the Architect in the City and the World at this moment in time. We will design a complex of buildings on an urban site in Los Angeles. We will use both conventional and unconventional models and metaphors to define the problem, set the constraints, and trigger the imagination.

 

p4

change and conservation
The 21st century is a time of faith and fear. The world you are about to inherit is different than the one you might have expected. It is no longer tenable due to the major conceptual shifts underway. It is evolving in fundamental ways. The good news, you can invent a life different than the one you might have been expected to inherit. Now it’s time to imagine new ways to live, work, and play. This means exploring older paradigms for human settlements based on civic mindfulness, slow growth, and intentional life practices in a locally based community with access to global resources. The world is increasingly unpredictable and requires higher degrees of open mindedness, multiple intelligences, and cross-functional collaborations.

hybridity-convergence, immersion, augmentation
The age of Humanity is one of hybridity.
There are four ways to think of hybridity.
1. Physical (matter-body) and virtual (light - mind) convergence
2. Technological augmentation of Human cognitive processes
3. Cross sector knowledge and intelligence
4. Co-evolution and merging of Humans and Technology into
a new Hybrid Entity (Singularity).

complexity-challenges
The scale and complexity of the challenges we face are in proportion to the scale and diversity the of the dynamics of population growth, migrations, cultural variations, and biological needs. The scale of our intellectual capacity to respond to the scope of these challenges must be of equal size and power. We need many brains working together as ‘one big brain’ with depth and breadth of intelligence and an imagination that is scalable, to address these complex challenges. Parallel processing computers working as one, is an analogy. Conceptually we know this but how do we achieve this? Game design, play and theory will be the medium, the instrument, and the tool for exploring alternative methods for doing so.

drivers of change
This is a time of great shifts in the natural, human, and technological worlds. This is not the first time we have been confronted with epochal change. Reverse migrations from the rural into cities, population growth, technological advancements that make previously invisible worlds visible, economic shifts that are creating disproportionate concentrated advantages and disadvantages etc. Our resilience and capacity for invention allows us to constantly face these challenges with optimism and invention.

The people who come to work or live at the Incubator are people motivated to address these shift in imaginative and productive ways. They also come for a cooperative work life. All around them are resources, ideas, co-workers thinking, talking, and making. Most of all they are attracted by the open-source ethos.

Population GrowthUrbanizationConsciousness
Environment (ecology, resilience)
Biotechnology (health, wellness, and longevity)
Energy
Communications
Transportation
Data analysis (big data and visualization)
Governance (poly-centric)
Human Dynamics 
Local + Global

 

p5

Story
nesting context, content, and form

The story will be scripted like a game. Imagine a place, conceived as an incubator for your generation of creative leaders, post-grad and pre-pro, to invent a life in a networked community inventors, creators, makers, thinkers, entrepreneurs, gamers. The people working, living, and playing here are a cross-sector group from the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, Specifically business, geo-sciences, education, engineering, humanities, sciences, law, medicine, and architecture. The site organizing strategies will reflect the fluid collaborative working relationships based on the concept from gaming, the Affinity Space, AS is a place - virtual or physical - where informal learning takes place. According to James Paul Gee, affinity spaces are locations where groups of people are drawn together because of a shared, strong interest or engagement in a common activity. They are common today in our emerging geo-techno world driven by communications. Organizations of cross-functional, dispersed, networked teams doing project- based work, often seek to create affinity spaces to collaborate and teach

Metaphor and Models
Labs, Workshops, Beehives, and Computer Games

Bees and Beehives will be one of our metaphors. It is one of the social insects, when studied has given us knowledge and insight into human social evolution. Since time immemorial, bees have been associated with all manner of virtues and the beehive has served as the model for an ideal society.
Assignment – operations and output, metaphors for a beehive

Bell Labs was organized for pure and applied research. This unique structure led to countless electronic and digital inventions that has helped weave the technological fabric of modern society.
Assignment – difference of pure and applied research, purpose, information, work, and spatial flows

MIT building 20 - Rad Lab was where fundamental advances in physical electronics, electromagnetic properties of matter, microwave physics, and microwave communication principles were made
Assignment – purpose, information, work, spatial flow

Amazon.com – is the largest online retailer which hybridizes physical and digital systems for efficiency and ease of interface.
Assignment – intermodal transport, interface of human and machines, information, work, spatial flows

 

Methodology
games - creativity, learning, real-time strategy, culture of participation
Game design play and theory will be the method for scripting an imaginary game in an urban environment inhabited by a curated collection of individuals with wide ranging curiosities and intelligences with 2 things in common, expansive imaginations and faith in our humanity. Games tend to integrate thinking, social interaction, and technology, into a learning experience. Along with other forms of social media, they can foster participatory cultures and civic engagement among it’s players as everyone interacts in a democratic community. A diverse group of individuals with shared interests join together to negotiate norms, mentor novices with more experienced members, use teamwork to enable all to benefit from different skills of the group members, and to undertake collective problem solving that eventually leads to collective intelligence. MpOG’s (multiplayer online games) are a model and metaphor for conceiving, developing, delivering, and inhabiting the world of this project. It is an ideal world, a microcosm of the real world.

Reference Games, online and board

Spore
World of War Craft
GO
Settlers of Catan

 

p6

Affinity Space - A social-spatial metaphor
An affinity space is a fictional place but with a potential of having real time impact. – It is both virtual or physical. It is where informal learning takes place. Affinity spaces are locations where groups of people are drawn together because of a shared, strong interest or engagement in a common activity. `Often but not always occurring online, affinity spaces encourage the sharing of knowledge. Affinity Spaces are common today in our emerging geo-technological world driven by communications and emerging hybridity Organizations of cross-functional, non-local, dispersed, networked teams doing project- based work, often seek to create affinity spaces to motivate, organize, and act. People relate to each other primarily in terms of common interests, endeavors, goals, and practices. Personal identity is not fore-grounded; abilities and knowledge are the attractor not status or personality. Assignment – week 1 (one)

- Continually work on an Affinity Space due every other week in physical and digital model

- Criteria – a single space for 25 people each with a single workspace 4 feet apart in every direction. All of the work desks are situated in the volume not on a single horizontal surface. Space is configured to shape light in a spherical space

PROJECT
Site - Northern edge of the Alameda corridor

Our urban and architectural parameters will be social (program), spatial (place) and formal (massing). The site is urban, an in between place that will become an attractor and a catalyst for the surrounding area. It will grow in phases from a core to the perimeter boundaries that will respond with program and mass in response to it’s interfaces or in anticipation of a longer term urban vision. Site coverage will be 35% building, 30%, public space, 35% park It will be a medium density neighborhood formally configured to your concepts of figures (solid), fields (void), and flows (movement).

Process
Write a story with you as the main character, an avatar who moves between reality and fantasy on this site Choose a topic from the list of drivers of change – based on your interests. ‘Unpack it – for fields of knowledge and all of who you would like to be surrounded with the kind of intelligence, skills, imagination, etc. from the arts, sciences, humanities, that you feel could benefit what you plan to do here.

Program Menu - a microcosm of a city
This is a list for you to combine in your own way. To develop your own program from this list of activities you will write a story, you as the central character. The story will unfold with more detail as your project unfolds and your project takes form. The cast of your characters will have 4 different roles to play each with a unique intelligence and motivation.

Warrior (worker-in the moment),
Healer (keeps things working)
Teacher (knowledge and skill transfer),
Visionary (sees the big picture unfold over time)

CORE
Collaborative Work Space / Office
Conference Center (400 people)
3 Affinity Spaces 
Library (centralized or distributed)
Technology Labs
Making Labs
Media Labs (research, experimental, communications)
Auditorium / Concert Space

 

p7

LIVING
Housing
Hotel 
RV park 
Food and Farmers market
Chapel – Meditation space
Entertainment
Sports – Gym – Pool – Bathhouse


OPERATIONS
Administration
Healthcare
Childcare
Maintenance 


INFRASTRUCTURE
Transportation Interchange (Foot, Bike, Car, Train)
Movement Systems
Circulation Public/Private
Communications (physical and virtual)
Farm and Botanical Gardens (teaching, production, research)

 


 

p9

Subjective Definitions
Hybrid of Extremes

Equilibrium and Integrity
Two (photons) things move into each other’s field of interference each remaining integral as they interact. Something unique emerges from this relationship, a third thing, event, comes forth, progeny.

one plus one equals one. Everything tends to aggregate into greater wholeness over and over again, periodically reconfiguring responding to external forces, adapting and then constructing a hospitable environment to continue on. This is the way dynamic systems endure. The process of interactivity between one thing and another creates something new, a hybrid.

The creation process is a constant transformation of matter into energy and energy into events and events into objects, and then back into matter. Ashes to ashes, we might say. This is a dynamic system in a constant state of transformation, impermanence, yet with a deep imprint to endure, conservation of energy is at the still point, balance, equilibrium, the Hybrid of Extremes.

Play and Learning
Many animals play but mainly to practice basic survival skills. Children play to develop their imagination creating hypothetical scenarios to test and learn. During childhood we build the brain wiring to explore. We do less of this as we get older.

Years ago on a walk through nature with my son, I stood and watched him explore with enthusiasm and surprise. He was delighted with each little discovery. As I watched, I realized that he was seeing things for the first time. Prior experience not being a factor allowed him to see without pre-determination or expectation. He saw things as they were and not as he expected them to be. That was my problem to overcome. The world is filled with wonder and if I take pause to focus on an aspect of it I may discover something new in something old.

Finite and Infinite Games
There are at least two kinds of games. One can be called finite , the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning. An infinite game is for the purpose of continuing the play. The creative process is, at best, an infinite game.

City and Society
Do Cities matter in an age of social media?
The essence of the city is proximity, closeness, and density, being around other people makes us smarter, faster. Cities magnify the human ability to learn from other people. Collective learning shapes the Evolution of Human Societies. Yes, cities matter, they are our greatest invention.

Evolution of Cooperation
Nature rewards cooperation.
The Human Enterprise marks the continual emergence of new levels of complexity. The transition to greater complexity is linked to the creation of new forms of interdependence and larger patterns of cooperation and new collective structures. Our survival as a species is predicated on our capacity to cooperate, The principles of game theory provide a theoretical framework for understanding the evolution of biological interactions. Evolutionary game theory applies to organisms that interact repeatedly, both within a generation and over relevant timescales.

 

In evolution, as in commerce, not all games let the winner take all. Often, the winning move for a particular organism requires cooperating with other organisms. Darwin was unaware of the concept of symbiosis.

p10

SITE 10+ACRE Urban Industrial Site, in transition, Los Angeles

 

 

 


Assignments
1. week1 (one) and each subsequent 2 weeks

- Continually work on an Affinity Space due every other week in physical and digital model
- Criteria – a single space for 25 people each with a single workspace 4 feet apart in every direction. All of the work desks are situated in the volume not on a single horizontal surface. Space is configured to shape light in a spherical space.

2. Geo-Cache
get this app and use it continuously - document/map the treasure hunt at 2 scales.

3. Precedent Studies
city types
1. Medieval - field as object - subtraction
2. Renaissance - object in a field - overlay
3. Modern - objects as a field - addition
4. Post Modern - hybrid
Research 4 city types and produce a 1:100 massing model of each

4.What is a Caravanserai?
- research it's systems, networks, and how it operates.
- produce a series of diagrams

5.Write a narrative
- To develop your project spatially and programmatically, you will write a story. You will be the central character. The story will unfold with more detail as your project unfolds and your project takes form.

 

p12

The cast of your characters will have 4 different roles to play each with a unique intelligence and motivation:
1. Warrior (worker-in the moment)
2. Healer (keeps things working)
3. Teacher (knowledge and skill transfer)
4. Visionary (sees the big picture unfold over time)
5.Your story should not simply explain your project (the why). Rather, it should describe the place moving the spaces. Use the narrative form to explore the unfolding of space (perspective) in your project, and to explore the potentials and relationships of space, program, form, site, etc.
6. Readings as required to better understand games and storytelling:
Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
Mr. Palomar, Italo Calvino
Six Memos For the Next Millenium, Italo Calvino
Fictions (a collection of short stories), Jorge Luis Borges
El Aleph, Jorge Luis Borges
Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse
Big History, Carolyn Stokes-Brown