Rock and Roll Fantasy, SCI-Arc

Today, we’re skipping all the Black Friday hoopla to bring you a sweet project.  All though you may have seen it a couple of years ago, we’re showing it cause we thinks its awesome, and we wish we were at Coachella right now, enjoying awesome music and great weather.  SCI-Arcs pavilion for the festival created a space for concert goers to escape the crush of crowds, and an environment to just relax, whether in an altered state or not.

PROFESSORS: Benjamin Ball, Gaston Nogues, Andrew Lyon

Most concert goers are not there to understand form active structures or to look critically at a design methodology. In working on a festival, designers can have these agendas for themselves but it is not the same as exhibiting in a gallery or an art fair where there is an expectation that the audience will try to understand the work as developing through a methodology and set of intentions outside the creation of spectacle and atmosphere. So we were advancing different agendas – one for the Festival organizers and one for the team.

It had clear spatial typologies within it – an amphitheater space, a vaulted passage space and individual gems which became private chill out pods. It had clear spatial typologies within it – an amphitheater space, a vaulted passage space and individual gems which became private chill out pods. The passageway was oriented with the festival ground plan in mind so that the crowds moving from stage to stage would see it and pass through – it had misters , people would pose in front; it was a continual photo opportunity. All of this was expected.

So we asked student Benlloyd Goldstein what he learned from this studio…

First of all, the Rock n’ Roll Fantasy studio was a fun semester. This was hugely do to our professors. Benjamin, Gaston, and Andrew led us through a studios dream semester : design, build, party. Normally a semester involves digital pinups and printouts, hours on end in front of the screens, and evaluation based on imagining how the design could be experienced at full scale. However, we started this semester knowing that we would be working through both physical models and computer models to build a full scale space for Coachella as a team, and that it had to rock.

I think 2 important lessons i learned this semester was one relating to design and one relating to the execution of a project.


No matter how much we seem to be enticed by the sensations of form on the screens, one thing alot of us students took away from this semester was the idea of “listening” to a material that has embedded complex structural logics and abilities.

For example, Joanne and I spent a while working with tube models, looping them and bending them to make them strong and springy ; every different scale model and material would generate its own unique set of curves, its own solution. The final gem solution was more of a discovery brought forth through working with the material at its specific scale than an imposed “image” of what the design should look like. The result was a system of Lissajous like curves that yielded an optimized physical performance of the unit as well as an inspiring “image”.

Lesson : listen to matter


Some design studio semesters focus on developing an individuals methods and production, causing the student to rely on him/her self to achieve design goals. This semester was different.

This semester gave us an invaluable lesson in getting a project developed and built as a team for a real client with a real budget in a short time frame. There really is no way this could have been done without the efforts of the whole studio and the instructors. From the jig construction , fabrication process, budget, designing the transportation, deployment, down to the healthy eats of the kitchen; we worked, camped, partied, laughed, cried, and bonded as a studio.  As we met constraints we would respond as a team, and the design would evolve further, until we met our goals. Then came the final mission which was to party! It was an awesome semester, and Im so glad I got to be a part of it.

Lesson : healthy team dynamics are essential to the success of built work

Observing the way the public responded also provided important lessons.

So how did the concert-goers respond to the installation? Was it used as you expected? Were there any surprises?

During the day it was a sculptural curiosity that cooled people off with mist. At night it completely transformed – people flocked to it like moths around a light – it was a different place, they came there to soak up the atmosphere; the atmosphere affected them. It was a kind of psychological oasis apart from the mayhem of crowds and loud music; it was soothing. People hunkered down inside of the gems (except for a few times when we needed people to clear out to take “architectural” photographs devoid of people). People smooched, lounged, and smoked in it.

Text, interview, and photos via Archinect


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