Tools of Play: Planning Strategies of the Metacity
Benjamin Beil, Nathalie Bredella, Nick Förster
Architectural structures are a central component of computer game worlds. Their sometimes realistic, sometimes fantastically exaggerated forms and functions are diverse: game world architectures create atmospheres and tell stories (narrative architecture), but at the same time their design is primarily determined by playful requirements, so they serve as a playing field, an arena, or an obstacle course. In architecture, games function as tools in which planning and design regulations manifest themselves. The players become master builders themselves, design individual buildings or entire cities, interiors and exteriors. Here, too, the function of architectural elements oscillates between optimization processes based on the rules of the game and free, creative design. In the 1960s, for example, designs (notably R. Dietrich’s Metastadt or “Metapolis”) operated with game systems and simulations in order to design participatory planning processes and to question design regulations.
The article is interested in the interrelationships between architecture and play and deals with the notions of the city that are “enacted” through play.
Benjamin Bell, PhD, is professor of media studies with a focus on digital cultures at the Institute for Media Culture and Theater at the University of Cologne. Main research areas: game studies, participative media cultures, and digital media in museums. Recently published: Paratextualizing Games. Investigations on the Paraphernalia and Peripherals of Play, ed., together with Gundolf S. Freyermuth and Hanns Christian Schmidt, 2021.
Nathalie Bredella is deputy professor of architectural theory at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Her research focus is the history and theory of architecture at the intersection of the history of media and technology.
Nick Förster is a research associate at the Chair of Architectural Informatics at the Technical University of Munich. He works at the interface of architecture and urban theory, digital design, and artistic and experimental approaches.
The event is part of the lecture series Designed Orders. The lecture evening will take place in hybrid mode (in person and via Zoom) on the Westend Campus of Goethe University Frankfurt and will be held in German.