CFP: Playing with Architecture (8/31/06; SAH, 4/14/07-4/17/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Merrill Schleier
contact email:

Playing with Architecture: The Construction of Idenity in Architectural
Games, Amusements and Leisure Sites (SAH, Pittsburgh, April 14-17 2007,
deadline Aug, 31, 2006 to:

Society of Architectural Historians
Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, April 2007
Deadline for Proposals: August 31
Send to:
                        "Playing With Architecture: Games, Leisure
Space, and
                                         The Construction of

How do architectural practices and discourses circulate through the
spaces of games, toys, and amusements? May we situate these popular
cultural products in the context of prevailing attitudes toward
identity, which may include gender, class, and sexuality? Although
fictional architecture has been explored in cinema, literature, and art,
there has been no sustained effort to consider the manner in which play
both describes and prescribes architectural ideologies. How did
designers (e.g. Charles and Ray Eames, the Situationists) insert their
views on architecture into gaming processes? How are players
constructed and, in turn, how do they mediate imaginary architecture?
Panelists might consider the advent of early twentieth century games
involving instrumental building, such as A.C. Gilbert's Erector Sets,
J. L. Wright's Lincoln Logs, and Pajeau and Petit's Tinkertoys in
terms of the construction of gender. Or, they might explore games such
as Parker Brothers' Skyscraper (1937), Balley's Sky-Scraper (1934),
and Monopoly (1935) in light of the hiatus in building during the great
Depression. Does Ole Christiansen's Lego (1949) mirror the colorful
modular architecture and furniture of the postwar era and its optimistic
construction of middle class suburbanites through modernization? What
about the current Prestel game New York Architecture which promises
players the "triumph of building a masterpiece?" Do any of these
games reinforce contemporary notions of a seminal male genius or
progressive modernist discourses? Recently, there has been an explosion
in the fabrication of computer games, which involve architectural design
and practice. What do they reveal about contemporary culture and its
turn to virtual space? In addition, architects also fabricate spaces of
leisure in an effort to instill class values. Las Vegas's postmodern
gambling casinos, Palm Springs' golf courses, and Disneyland's
amusements inculcate architectural ideologies through the spatial
organization of play.

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Received on Fri Aug 11 2006 - 15:28:16 EDT

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