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01.22.10 - 03.07.10 | SCI-Arc Gallery
Alexis Rochas, I/O: Still Robot

Exhibition discussion: Friday, February 5, 7pm, SCI-Arc Gallery
Alexis Rochas and SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss discuss STILL ROBOT Watch the discussion video >>

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Photos by Josh White & Alexis Rochas

The STILL ROBOT exhibition presents OCTA.BOT, a universal building system based on the combination of freely rotating elements into robust tectonic assemblies.

A proprietary technology developed by Los Angeles firm I/O, the OCTA.BOT name refers to the eight members converging at a double grid node and the system's ability to resolve complex node encounters by deriving angular information from unit length expressions. All trigonometric functions are resolved by a set of three-dimensional swivel joints, where each joint is able to rotate spherically about a common work point. The .BOT suffix lays out a broad family of assembly nodes including the HEXA.BOT for the creation of DIAGRID structures and formworks and the DODECA.BOT for the creation of three-dimensional LATTICES.

Integrating CAD parametric design definition, serial fabrication techniques and rapid assembly processes, the exhibit explores the choreographic assembly of a case study armature unfolding the formal and structural capabilities of the OCTA.BOT system, a versatile and coherent application for the creation of lightweight, customizable architectural structures.

The OCTA.BOT system seeks to expand the application of lightweight SPACE-FRAME structures into the everyday realm by streamlining the design and assembly process into a simple, robust and versatile building system allowing for an unlimited formal vocabulary while eliciting economies in material resources, energy expenditure and assembly time.

The SPACE-FRAME structural system was first introduced by Alexander Graham Bell in 1900 and its application has evolved from nautical and aeronautical engineering to the production of motorcycle and automobile frames. It's widely used as an architectural technique for the execution of large span roofs.

While theoretically the space frame has a great range of structural and formal versatility, most often its geometry is based on platonic solids or regular geometric patterns. More complex assemblies face the technical and material difficulty of plotting exceptional node encounters and resolving unique compound angles.

The OCTA.BOT system comprises a universal fitting housing eight swivel joints allowing for each strut to rotate freely about a common work point. The OCTA.BOT fitting greatly simplifies execution of complex assemblies by reducing the amount of geometrical information necessary and overriding construction of complex angular encounters between structural members. During assembly each strut length is rotated in place and connected to subsequent fittings by a twist-on connection, the combination of strut lengths automatically determining the complex angles of the assembly and rendering a self-locking rigid connection.

The OCTA.BOT swivel joint allows for intricate strut length variations in SPACE-FRAME applications, enabling the structure to conform single or double curvature, surface inflection or change of direction while retaining a singular constructive principle. Based on a single module fitting, the system allows for a kinetic assembly process where the structural elements lock in place as the structure compilation develops. All OCTA.BOT fittings are reusable, allowing for structure dismantling and ready reconfiguration.

About Alexis Rochas
Rochas is the founder of I/O, a Los Angeles based practice focusing on the development of dynamic architectural methodologies integrating design, technology and advanced fabrication techniques. A member of SCI-Arc's design faculty since 2003, Rochas has headed projects through the Community Design Program, including the FAB Arts Market Temporal Gallery, LINC Housing community grounds prototyping, SCI-Arc's Lecture Hall Acoustical Treatment, and the LAMP Community's Sun Shelter Pavilion. Since 2006, Rochas has been coordinating Making+Meaning, SCI-Arc's foundation program in architecture. Read more>>

This exhibition made possible, in part through a generous contribution from the Pasadena Art Alliance.