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Title: Architecture of the 'Half Real' : exploring the videogame as a new medium for architectural expression
Author: Pearson, L. C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 6557
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Millions regularly dive into the virtual worlds of videogames, exploring fictional spaces through controllers and screens. They occupy worlds structured by both rules and fiction, ‘half-real’ according to games theorist Jesper Juul. This thesis draws from Juul’s assertion to explore the reciprocal relationship between architecture and videogame worlds. By framing games as a meeting point between both computational and visual arts culture, which I term ‘ironic computation,’ I establish a methodology for examining games that draws from previous studies into the effects of pop culture on architecture. The thesis explores game spaces in three ways, firstly by using traditional architectural tools of analysis such as drawings, models, cartographic studies and critical writing to elucidate their logics by ‘distancing’myself from the videogame form. This culminates in ‘Learning from Los Santos’ a chapter studying Los Santos, the city backdrop to Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar, 2013) thorugh a variety of techniques. In the second stage of the thesis I start to make videogames myself, exploring how their aesthetic form communicates architecture differently from other media I use as a designer. I focus on the London Developers Toolkit, my satirical architectural game based around London’s housing crisis, examining how the game is designed to communicate architectural messages to users playing it. The final stage of the thesis applies game principles into design projects for architecture with real sites and programmes. Tokyo IRTBBC is an urban design project for an emergency ‘back up’ Tokyo that draws from the logics of Japanese arcade ‘medal game’ cabinets. Here I question how the interplay between computation and symbolism that is key to the videogame form might integrate with smart technologies to create a playful public realm. Following these design projects I conclude that videogame technologies will not only offer new representational tools for architects, but also constitute new ways of realising architecture that enmesh rules and representation into virtual, inhabitable environments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available