RECREATE, REBUILD, REINVENT – A CITY!
What if ordinary people were allowed to create and rebuild a real city? Well, they are, and this city is in the making. The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design presents Blockholm, an interactive tool for reimagining the city of Stockholm. Using the game of Minecraft as a platform for exploring themes of democracy and public dialogue in city planning, Blockholm allows users to rebuild the city’s 100,000 lots using information generated from actual land use data, marking the first time in history that Stockholm’s land use information has been available to the public. In January, 2014, a panel of judges chosed the 10 best buildings created inside the game. Winning entries are now exhibited in the centre’s gallery at a scale of 1:5, creating an IRL theatre of speculative architecture based on experimentation in virtual reality (see the picture).
Blockholm examines how a city can be used, understood, or completely reimagined through the medium of an interactive multiplayer game. Architecture and gaming converge to open up city planning to a broad audience, wherein the traditional hierarchies of age, status and education are irrelevant and everyone is invited to build the city according to their vision of the ideal urban landscape. Players from all over the world have an opportunity to correct for planning decisions that have led to segregation and housing shortages in the Swedish capital, while Stockholm residents of all ages are urged to question the architectural composition of the city around them. What if welfare initiatives like the 1960s Million Programme never existed?
Or if coveted real estate on innercity islands like Skeppsholmen were converted to affordable student housing, or the cobblestone blocks of the historic city centre were replaced with shining highrises?By placing the responsibility for imagining the city in the hands of the public, Blockholm invites ordinary people to explore how a city can change and evolve. Fantasy and creative problem solving are encouraged, as is dialogue and collaboration between players. Blockholm users are bound only by the number and availability of the city’s existing lots, and cannot create buildings taller than 250 metres. While the game and exhibition were conceived as prompts for learning, imagination and discussion, the creators Markus Bohm and Mats Karlsson believe that its players may end up having something to teach city planners.
To access the game, visit play.blockholm.se
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Mats Karlsson is a founding partner at Stockholm-based architecture office Arklab, and the creator of Turf architecture and design lab. Karlsson won the prestigious Forum AID award in 2008 for Xile, a flexible plastic tunnel that can be deployed to temporarily extend an indoor or outdoor space.
Markus Bohm is a contemporary sculptor and installation artist who works in a wide range of media, often focusing on memory and social structures.
For more information, contact:
Marcus Bohm:+46(0)70 932 62 08, firstname.lastname@example.org
Veronica Hejdelind: +46(0)70 190 50 56 , email@example.com
ABOUT THE SWEDISH CENTRE FOR ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN
With an emphasis on learning, sharing and provoking debate about the practical and theoretical role of design and architecture in contemporary life, the centre exists to illustrate and offer an active platform for architecture, design and sustainable urban development, as well as to care for, list, scientifically process and enhance, through new acquisitions, the collections entrusted to it.
ArkDes is Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design. It is a museum, a study centre and an arena for debate and discussion about the future of architecture, design and citizenship.