Architecture/ Urban Design- Creative and Exclusive?

27 05 2011

by Akshay Varma

However creative and exclusive this field of architecture and Urban Design is, the more the attractive it is. It has arguably become the backdrop/ context for any major event in the world. The context I am referring to here is the cinemas and importantly the gaming world.

Everybody watches cinema and we are all in awe of the movie and the performance and the technical aspects of the movie, but one does ignores the context in which the cinema is set in. It’s the location that’s gives the cinema the ‘x’-factor.

Along the same lines the gaming industry runs. Playing games was always a hobby of mine. But only recently have I understood that it does contribute to a lot of the understanding of us designers, making the point clear, some games are place specific and thus we play through the digitized version of a city, but certain games that are purely fictional have amazing details of the city, the buildings, materials, etc. its as if they hire a professional designer to design the context.

The following is the trailer of the game Assassins Creed II. The game is based in historic Venice. The important thing to follow is how the developer of the game has made details so important and that can be specially seen when the main character of the game is scaling the buildings and running across the rooftops.

The following is a trailer of the game called Mirrors Edge and it is about a fictional city where parkour runners deliver information. The interesting thing is the developer has put in services details of pipelines and service ducts and ladders.

At this conjuncture I wonder and question the exclusivity and creativity that we obtained through a formal course of study is really that exclusive or creative. One may argue cinema and games have no understanding of the policies and stuff, but yet they are creative and creativity thus bends the laws and forces them to be amended.




3 responses

29 05 2011
Wang Jing

As an urban planner, I quite like the game “civilization”. It can help me to think about the city in the view of urban management. I think when we making the design we are facing the paper or the computers; it is hard to imagine the whole process of the project. As a result, the participation of the people with different background and the local inhabitants is very important factors to avoiding the exclusive design. On the other hand, the design should experience various social roles in the daily life to improve the ability of making the comprehensive and correct judgments.

2 06 2011
Lizzie Bird

This is a really interesting post and Jing think I totally agree with your response. As I was reading this post an article I read a couple of weeks ago came to mind. The article by Clara Greed was ‘Man Plan Woman Plan Better?’ in Non – Plan essays on freedom participation and change in modern architecture and Urbanism. Clara Greed, leading academic researching woman, planning and the built environment, in her article ‘Can Man Plan? Can Woman Plan Better?’ identifies: “one problem for woman –with urban design as much as with town planning – has been the tendency of the designer and planner to look down at the city street layout, seeing the city spread out on the drawing board from above, from a God’s eye view. In contrast woman as the main carers, shoppers and users of public transport, have to battle through the streets at ground level, through the wind and rain, often carrying heavy shopping and accompanied by small children. Virtual reality computer programs which seek to stimulate walking through the proposed layout of an area often appear to be designed from the persepective of an enegetic young man, carrying nothing more than a rolled-up newspaper, whisteling as he weightlessly bounds through cyber space”. Quite interesting I thought.

2 06 2011

In association with the games environment, I remembered another virtual project. Second Life is a virtual community, currently of about 20mil people. First you have to download a program then create your own virtual avatar and you are ready to live a parallel life next to your real one. Second life a true social community where you can socialize with the other users, have a meeting in a cafe, participate in groups, buy properties and build your own house. The creators say that if you ever dreamed about buying a private island but you never got to it, in Second Life you can have a virtual substitution to it. Seems like those virtual urban spaces provide opportunities which one may not get in a real life and therefore more people are connecting to this network.

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