Design Futures : Fast Economy

Back in May, famed architect Rem Koolhaas reflected on ways in which Silicon Valley has absconded with architectural terms to compose a new metaphoric language of computation and business organization.  Words like blueprints, platforms and structures now equally refer to information architecture and strategic planning for business innovation as it does to the classical discipline of architecture.  Design thinking, practiced in boardrooms and school rooms, has become the norm for customer and materials research, experimentation, data visualization and rapid prototyping aka model building.  We see this new design, tech and business vision developed out fully in John Maeda’s Design in Tech 2016 report generated for the VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.

In concert with Maeda, we at RotoLab, recognize the shift in language and practice, reconciling the differences in our vision for the Virtual Architect. It’s not so much the idea of abandoning the creation of iconic buildings or rethinking urban centers as it is to suggest virtual technologies are where the architect and the coder meet to develop platforms and blueprints for future human experiences. With new robotic, game engine, neurotech and VR tools at their finger tips, designers and programmers are in many instances, one and the same.

RotoLab’s team principals capture this new era of the Virtual Architect.  RotoLab’s own Tech Vulcan leads the way in our consulting for platform innovation.  Michael Rotondi aka “RoTo” is our Design Wizard, enchanting each new venture with “Beginner’s Mind.”  Yours truly is the Spatial Betazoid, leading design thinking for experience design and new business innovation.  We are brought together by our passion for spatial research and fascination with the dynamics of “online” game worlds. Diverse in our thinking about space and about the how and why we play games, the entire RotoLab team along with our Satellite team members are no strangers to taking up the epic challenge of spearheading navigation of uncharted realms.

Turning back to Koolhaas, one of the greatest epic challenges, he claims, facing a new generation of architects is the pace of productivity in a new market economy.  Anticipating the Koolhaas critique, the Virtual Architect moves with the speed of the market economy all the while recognizing the slowness of classical architecture as more than just an iconic memory as Koolhaas suggests.  Inspired by new panoramic designs for us to move freely in space, the Virtual Architect farms and crowdsources memory as a cognitive map, consolidating multi-dimensional, sensory experiences.  Be it moving within Tilt Brush or around the Tilted Arc, the Virtual Architect parlays deep knowledge of remarkable built objects and environs with a nimble understanding of virtual assets empowered by new information systems.  The results range in new platforms and designs that will disrupt if not improve health, business and education systems.

To dig into RotoLab’s vision of the Virtual Architect, go 2016 MITLINC proceedings.  and read our “GamerLab” white paper (start on p 174 of the pdf.)

RotoLab was conceived and established in 2015 by partnering principles from RotoArchitects Studio and from the George Greenstein Institute, Inc.  Http: //

Sources Cited:

Diana Budds, ‘Rem Koolhaas: “Architecture Has A Serious Problem Today,’ Fast Company, May 21  2016/

John Maeda, Design in Tech Report, Kleiner Perkins Caufield  Byers, March 14  2016.

Nels Long, M A Greenstein,  Michael Rotondi, “Gamer Lab:  Rethinking Design Education,”  MIT Linc Proceedings 2016, pp 165-176.


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