disjointed
News

The disjointed Prague of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Heterotopias is a series of visual investigations into virtual spaces performed by writer and artist Gareth Damian Martin. /// To me, Prague has always felt like a city uniquely in communion with the past and future versions of itself. I remember my first visit, a local friend taking me to the once mysterious, now legendary Cross Club: an amorphous labyrinth of scrap metal occupying the lower floors and basement of a decaying, communist-era panelák. Stumbling past the ubiquitous leather-clad and shorn-headed bouncers into one of its dancefloors was like wandering into a William Gibson wonderland, bubbling tubes of mysterious green liquid and angular metal…

Castles Made of Castles
News

Castles Made of Castles lets you easily create complex architecture

There’s a sort of serene pleasure that comes from uniform design schemes. Whether it’s a car with two identical sides, a train that could be perfectly split in half, or a skyscraper in an evenly cubical shape; orderly architecture gives off a sense of harmony and pleasure to the viewer. These endeavors are testaments to the power of organization and stability. But why should we be confined to simply enjoying these designs as onlookers? Why not create our own? Nico Disseldorp’s online project Castles Made of Castles is a love letter to orderly architecture. Described as a “geometry toy,” Disseldorp’s…

johnny-lu-rca-graduate-show-sylvia-urban-planning-_dezeen_3408_6
News

Cilvia challenges architects to treat planning as more of a game

Urban planning is a rules-based game. Participants in the planning process have goals they wish to accomplish and constraints governing how their objectives can be achieved. Nowhere is this more the case than in London, where a complex series of regulations and protected sightlines have conspired to create ungainly clusters of misshapen towers. (The Shard, anyone?) Architects are already playing the planning game, but they are playing it clumsily. That, in effect, was the conclusion the Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright and Monica Ulmanu came to in their interactive visualization of the city’s future skyline (come to think of it, that also…

Autobiographical Architecture
News

A new autobiographical game that will be set in and around Doom II

I’ve never met JP LeBreton but I know him because he knows the original Doom series. He wrote what is probably the most insightful design analysis of the game back in 2010; before he became a level designer for BioShock (2007) he learned the craft with Doom‘s level editor (and then demade his BioShock level “Arcadia” in Doom II); and more recently he had the opportunity to talk at length with one of the original Doom creators John Romero about his work on the game. It does not surprise me when LeBreton tells me “Doom is this thread running through most of…

ghost in the shell
News

An exhibit for admiring the labyrinthian cityscapes of anime architecture

When I visited Tokyo, Japan earlier this year for the first time, I was struck by its block-by-block awe-inspiring architecture. From the woven-like walls of the Daikanyama T-Site bookstore, or the mirrored, cave-like entrance to the Tokyu Plaza Building on the cusp of Omotesando and Harajuku, Japan takes its architecture to highly modernized, nearly impossible heights. And it makes sense, for a country whose animation has been setting the standard for fictional architecture since the early 1980s. Animated architecture that looks to both the present and the old, and twists it into something new for the future. Luckily, there’s a…

No Man's Sky trading post
Feature

What can architects learn from No Man’s Sky?

Three years after it was initially announced at E3 2013, No Man’s Sky has officially gone gold. Few games in recent memory have created so much buzz. The near-infinite universe that No Man’s Sky offers is plenty reason to be excited but the way Hello Games is creating that universe using procedural generation is equally inspiring. Procedural generation is a type of design methodology in which components or elements are handcrafted and each given unique properties. These components are then fed into a database which generates forms based on a series of rules and regulations put into place by the…

Monument Valley
Feature

Exit Flatland

This article appears in Issue 9 of Kill Screen’s print magazine. It launches on August 8th, but you can get 10 percent off before that date with the discount code RELAUNCH. /// In 1884, Edwin Abbott Abbott published Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. It was told from the perspective of A Square, who lives in a 2D world. His life is transformed by the entrance of A Sphere, who opens his eyes to the existence of a third dimension. For millennia, Western painting and architectural rendering occupied flatland. For all the joys of medieval art, perspective was often distorted, with large,…

Great Fire of 1666
News

Great Fire of London recreated in Minecraft, complete with blaze

Header image: © Museum of London, created by Blockworks. /// The history of a city is littered with fires. Smaller ones that take down neighborhoods and large-scale disasters that change the landscape. The Great Fire of London in 1666 was such a fire. It destroyed the medieval City of London, incinerating the homes of 70,000 of the City’s 80,000 inhabitants. The fire was so bad, one of the factors credited to its quenching was the Tower of London garrison using gunpowder to halt the spread east. Your fire has gotten out of hand when you have to fight it with gunpowder.…

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst
Review

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, a radical city in a failed system

I’ve always been fascinated by the coherence and incoherence of cities. The system and interface of their streets. The network logic of their rooms. In my fifth year in London, buried in basements fashioned to appear as French cafés or Italian bistros, I obsessively traced the shapes of silver ducts and pipes, interwoven along the ceilings as if they were circuit boards. Among the fake leather seating and off-white walls, the large canvas prints of Parisian street scenes and the art-deco light fixtures they stood out as uniquely functional objects, unornamented, hidden in plain sight. I followed them down flights…