California is home to the largest concentration of high-technology industries in the world and is a global center for entertainment and animation. The IDEAS Entertainment Studio explores the intersection of the built environment and entertainment, integrating large-scale media, interactivity and robotics to animate cities, buildings and spaces. This studio uses narrative and immersive approaches to the design of environments to consider the material expression of popular cultures.
2019-2020 IDEAS Entertainment Studio
WORLDS & MEDIA
In a world dominated and organized by the ability to read, decode, and scroll through thousands of images every day, the IDEAS Entertainment Studio is uniquely positioned to provide a platform for architects to engage in the design and shaping of environments as well as their audiences. Architects work in a profession that traditionally privileges form over image, yet live in a world that does the reverse. This studio situates itself at the crosshairs of that reality at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design's IDEAS Campus, fully equipped for students to explore what it means to work and learn as an architect today in a world filled with (and often, consumed by) the tools, techniques and instincts of animators, filmmakers, storytellers and other communicators, as well as their audiences. We will build worlds and stories that align space and form with image and technology, in order to transform the role of the architect in a massively mediated world – and discipline – like the one we all inhabit today. Along the way we will: transgress the authentic with the fantastical; the real with the fictional; the willful and the arbitrary, in order to not only invent, but render, animate and broadcast architectural, visual worlds of tomorrow.
A fundamental goal of the IDEAS Entertainment Studio is to build new, unexpected kinds of architectural worlds. The studio has a goal as well to build the audiences that will inhabit these worlds. In the hyper-mediated environment of the 21st century, architects need to look beyond their normal audience (of other architects) to embrace as well a larger world now largely living within the stories and images of our time. To be an architect today is to be an individual able to imagine as well as arrange connections – whether in the literal joints and materials of a physical object’s making, no less than the subtler and experiential moments of the people, spaces and events architecture has, more meaningfully, always been made from. That act of imagination, visualization, and communication lies at the center of this studio’s teaching, learning and research. Our interest isn’t just the making of objects, or their images, but instead the new kinds of imagination – and their related media environments – in which the figure of the architect today lives. It’s a world you now already know better than architecture itself.
ARCHITECTURE AND STORYTELLING: WORLDS IN OTHER WORLDS
"Architecture tells stories, and human stories are enhanced by architecture. If architecture (hardware) is a backdrop for humanity (software), my focus is the oscillation between the many worlds these two ends of the spectrum imply. Architecture is a cultural project that encompasses art, cinema, storyboards, entertainment - all human communication. There is no better place to explore storytelling than Los Angeles.”
1. “above, over” (supraorbital) or “beyond the limits of, outside of” (supramolecular, suprasegmental).
Architecture is a platform for me to tell stories from a multimedia approach. From comic books, small buildings, full-scale installations, short films, big models, or field drawings – my projects have always focused on the characters of architecture, as well as architecture as characters. There is a cultural discourse within the graphic, material, and environmental qualities that allows us to contemplate politics, philosophy, pedagogy, and performances through a medium that is architecture.
For example, Citizens of No Place (2012) was a graphic novel that dove deep into the impacts of many plausible realities. One recurring subplot in this book is a story about spaceships, a home for a human journey to another planet traveling near the speed of light. The realities of intergalactic space travel in turn allowed me to ask questions about the status of gravity (orientation-less drawings), envelope (non-expansive urbanism), technology (total artificial environments), metaphysics (time-space continuum) and so much more.
The entertainment studio is a step beyond pure speculations – I propose to work with storyboards, models, and short films to reflect upon the world we already live in. As a long lens looking back at earth, I would like this studio to be pedagogically well-grounded and provide a strong overview of the contemporary architects working today. While expanding the capacity of architects to engage in storytelling techniques.
We will work with experts within the film industry to enhance our skillsets. Being in Los Angeles, we are in the de facto capitol city of American cinema. Many of our allies in the film industry are within reach, and we can take this opportunity to contemplate the effects of contemporary media culture, including YouTube.
Additionally, we will reach out to organizations such as SpaceX to make this research a grounded conversation with experts within the field. From possible field trips to interviews with experts within the field, we will fine-tune the realisms within the stories we will tell. We will develop our year-long effort into a series of publication proposals.
Architecture tells stories, and human stories are enhanced by architecture. If architecture (hardware) is a backdrop for humanity (software), my focus is the oscillation between the many worlds these two ends of the spectrum imply. Architecture is a cultural project that encompasses art, cinema, storyboards, entertainment – all human communication.