Big Urban Game 2007, Columbia GSAPP

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Class Materials


Class members

Readings and Resources


As architects we impose order on space codifying building functions and then physically partitioning them out by type (i.e., a kitchen is for cooking, a roller rink is for rollerskating, etc). Architects, however, may also find it purposeful to organize space not through the formal vocabulary and maneuvers of architecture, but through the design and execution of rule-based play; in other words, to create and play a game. A Big Urban Game ...

This workshop intends to examine the subtle, invisible rules and patterns of the city and to 'detourne' them - borrowing a term from the Situationists - for our own ludic purposes. These rules and patterns may comprise of human behavior ( e.g., all the various forms of unspoken etiquette we adopt in the city), they may invole the city's physical infrastructure (taxis, payphones, subway entrances), they may overlay the urban space in the form of the digital infosphere (cellular/wifi/GPS networks, on-line mapping applications, ubiquitous computing); the games we will make will base its rules and gameplay on these urban systems. We will bring in several of New York's smartest BUG designers to provide game case studies, creative inspiration, and critical evaluation.

Taking the city as a gameboard, the BUGs we will make and play individually, in groups, or as a class will be site-specific and simple, or complex and area-wide; low-tech or technically sophisticated; fun for a few or fun for all.

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