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SERIOUS FUN. Architecture & Games

Category: Exhibition 5. April 2022

The show at Architekturzentrum Wien was curated in cooperation with FOTO WIEN by Dutch cultural anthropologist Mélanie van der Hoorn. In 25 stations, conceived by artists, architects and game developers, different approaches to architecture in games are examined and games in all variations are shown. The exhibition has three chapters: the physical aspects of architecture in games, social and ideological components, and the concrete application of games in architectural practice.
Architectural games are part of social history and cultural heritage. The role models exemplified in them are remembered more intensively through immersive game experiences and have an influence on the perception of reality.
The spectrum of exhibits at the AzW ranges from dollhouses to board games, from video games to interactive apps.
The Luisterhuis "Hörhaus," (Listening House) for example - conceived by composer Rozalie Hirs and architect Machiel Spaan - is a wooden dollhouse that children can explore in its interior by using their hearing; children with and without disabilities can play here together.
The film "Eigenheim" by Anja Dornieden and Juan González Monroy again features dollhouses from the GDR.
Dollhouses of a completely different kind are shown in the collages "MärchenHaft" by the artist Sabine Bloch. On closer inspection, atrocities and tragedies are revealed inside the idyllic toy world.
There are also city tours to experience in computer games, where real architectural projects are prepared and conveyed to the audience with the means of the game, inspired for example by the computer game "Minecraft".
In an acoustic video game, the spatial experience of blind people can be recreated, the short film "Operation Jane Walk" shows an architectural tour through a digital - dystopian New York similar to a first-person shooter game, in participatory games climate-friendly urban development projects can be built collectively.
The wooden model "Critical Blocks" by designer Maykel Roovers includes nuclear power plants, highways and other architectural realities in its wooden building sets, which are otherwise rather absent in games.
The show is less suitable for younger children. Although the exhibition is largely interactive, visitors can only play a few games themselves; the focus here is on artistic-critical reflection on the subject.
The exhibition is accompanied by the comprehensive catalog "Serious Fun. Architecture & Games. Available in the AzW Shop or can be ordered directly at (written by Cem Angeli)

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