SkyCity Revisited…

Posted September 24th, 2010 by wonko

…I like it when a little organised anarchy works, Sky City is a prime example:

...leave a trail of breadcrumbs

...leave a trail of breadcrumbs

I noticed kids building with lego at altitude, and decided to appropriate the idea, and give them a little structure. I created an “underground” link, phrased in the “mouseover challenge” of wanting to get into something bigger. Rather than splashy and overt, I made the link a little buried, so the kids felt like they had discovered something that not everyone knew about.

Following the link, it warps you up to a platform 400m in the sky, barely visible from the ground (depending on your visibility settings, you get a small blot in the sky until you approach it then this amazing expanse materializes before you)

squint into the sun and you might just see it

squint into the sun and you might just see it - 100m up, looking up

You land in my “object dock’, a good place to explore materials and check the rules. From this object dock  you then look out over a suspended plane (I expand it at night, late, when space is an issue):

a building platform

a building platform

…the ONLY guidelines – do not break/obscure anyone elses building – work together. We had to add the rules, it was a little ugly before we did, kids scrapping and getting territorial – you get that.

The results have been, well, honestly, startling.

Some kids have been up here for hours, mostly in their own time (evenings and weekends) sculpting buildings, “homes” and play spaces, often tearing down and starting over when they realise that “tidy” building looks better, that inside spaces need to make sense else getting around them is difficult – don’t architects spend years at uni completely failing to learn this lesson?

an elaborate "home"

an elaborate "home"

Some kids use only the provided materials, MOST source new things, incorporate them, re-cycle and re-purpose, displaying imagination and creativity I as a crusty old adult can only pretend to remember having.

I am honestly impressed with the skill and attention to detail some kids have displayed here. Object alignment, scaling, positioning etc are, for the most part, very sophisticated…

inter-connections, transport systems

inter-connections, transport systems

…they worked together, often without any direction or intervention, building things beside and with others – they devised streets, a transport tube system and other modern metropolis entrapments.

For keen (or “difficult”) kids, I changed one or more of thier stationary vehicles into movers that THEY could control – we have hand gliders, thopters and other flying things that kids have build garages for and loan out for joy flights – amazing really. What interested me more was the almost casual (but strategic) suggestions that took TROLLS and turned them into contributing citizens.

inside a towering game palace

inside a towering game palace

Some buildings work really well as buildings – they have internals that are breathtaking, and ramps, stairs, lifts and so on. As adults we look to make sense of our surroundings – kids are not confined by such a narrow view – all pretty amazing stuff, and more importantly a terrific way for them to practice their building skills (which, sssshhh – don’t tell them, is actually why this exists).

Who says chaos and anarchy can not be positive forces…

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