Architectural Spaces


Dayton Children’s Hospital

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When the hospital’s art buyer went seeking an extraordinary centerpiece for the lobby of their major facility expansion – a unique physical installation which spoke both to the magic of childhood and the identity of the Dayton community, forming a striking aesthetic presence in this grand 3-story atrium while also being fully interactive -- nothing fit the bill. So they hired Roto to invent it from scratch.


  • Custom-designed, original mixed-media sculpture
  • Hand-built in solid white oak, acrylic and steel
  • Internally illuminated, visitor-activated 32-foot wingspan
  • Fully accessible, child-friendly, engineered for extreme durability
  • Companion bug-themed interactive exhibit wall
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Early Dragonflyer concept sketch

The Dragonflyer is an entirely original Roto creation. Two client-provided themes were the Wright Brothers flight (they were from Dayton), and the concept of Nature. Roto imagined how the strange elegance of a dragonfly could be reinterpreted as if the Wright Brothers’ early airplanes were modeled on its form. Then we let children take the controls.

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Designed, engineered, fabricated and installed to a fixed budget and schedule, the Dragonflyer features two giant eyes with propellers that illuminate as they spin. The pair of double wings, wrapped in Wright Brothers canvas but swept back like an insect’s, contain more than 30,000 individually-controlled LED lights that pulse outwards as if in flight. Both features are entirely controlled by children from inside the cockpit.

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