RUMBLE STUDIO, Roger Sherman


Divining Providencia

Course: 403C.3 Research Studio

This research studio asked students to research and develop a design proposal for a new town in the Ecuadorian Amazon, one of many new infrastructural “hubs” being built throughout South America as part of a continent-wide effort to speed and expand the export of goods to the Asian market. The project looks at how to leverage the development of a ‘bio-economy’ at a single, specific transshipment point—the yet-to-be-built town of Providencia, along the Napo River. Students were charged with imagining a new genus (logics, patterns, etc.) of urban form and growth that a) accommodates the logistics associated with the above; b) engages and supports the specific social and cultural practices of the indigenous peoples who would be the ‘natural’ labor force; and c) serves as a material and commercial representation of the biodiversity of the Amazon as a global resource. A new paradigm of global trade, this new settlement is envisioned by its state sponsors as reconciling the economic vitality and expediency of the free trade zone with the local benefits and social justice of fair trade.
Conference: Divining Providencia: The Paradox of Infrastructure
As part of RUMBLE, this special conference and design review will focus on South America’s soon-to-be-completed $75 billion infrastructure-building initiative, and the design proposals developed over the past year at a variety of architecture schools around the world exploring how those ‘brick-and-mortar” capital investments might be integrated into their urban, social, and environmental contexts. Hosted by the Sherman research studio and funded by a grant from UCLA’s Latin American Institute, it will include experts of various design fields from throughout the U.S. and South America, as well as Ecuadorian government and NGO representatives. The event will take
place all day on June 11, commencing with presentations and discussion of the larger initiative (9-11am), followed by reviews of student work from PUCE (Pontificia Universidad Catolica Ecuador, from 11 am-1pm), and UCLA (2-5 pm), concluding with a roundtable discussion (5-6 pm).
Students: Kaveh Arbab, Brittany Boyd, Yuna Kubota,Rachel Yun Lee, Chloe Lob, Sheena Olimpo, Adam Rude, Ho Man Yeung