Playable City


Tim Sebastian and 2 OthersLiv Brooks
Maddie Block

We wanted to make something that acted as an interactive way of play in a public space. After many different ideas of multiple portable play structures we thought of a large scale game of Tetris. Eventually, after a couple changes and different models we stayed with the box theme but added more to it.

The idea was to build four boxes that when they come together they would spell out different sentences and light up. Five sides of the box would be made of wood and spray painted, and the top would be made out of acrylic. We thought of different words to put on each side of all the boxes, we knew that we wanted each sentence to be positive so it was a challenge. 

We wanted to get people togehter in a public space and interact. The boxes would encourage people to take time out of their day to have fun with friends, family, or strangers. 

For our final iteration, we made one large scale 16x16 box, and four smaller scale boxes which was enough to clearly represent our project.


Liv Brooks and 2 OthersMaddie Block
Tim Sebastian

This project may just look like four useless boxes, but it is so much more. This beautiful social space allows users to create their own life-sized sentences. It also allows users to take a break from their hectic day and focus on something fun and relaxing. 


Our studio focused on why play is important for people of all ages. We decided play is important for adults because everybody gets so caught up in work, for example; everyone needs a moment to relax and have fun. The end goal was to create something that encouraged people of all ages to stop and play.

We wanted to have a tricycle pulling a large, climbable, net structure. When we visited the City Hall Annex and discussed our ideas with the woman in charge of the public art works, we discovered that it would be really fun to use a playground carousel instead of a climbing net. This would be safer, easier, lighter to pull along with a tricycle, and equally fun. These two huge ideas occurred over just a couple of days. Little did we know our whole project would change dramatically.

We pretty much ditched all of the tricycle ideas, and our next idea was to create giant tetris pieces. While playing on them definitely was possible, it was also a place to step away from a stressful day and relax. We thought the tetris shaped pieces would also remind adults of their childhood, encouraging them to play even more.

We stayed true to this idea for many days, but soon realized we had to modify it due to time constraints. We agreed that we should have fewer pieces, so that we could work on the detail of each one.

We eventually decided it would be best to use two L shaped pieces that fit together. However, we soon realized that we would have to downsize even more, so as to put all of our energy in a couple good pieces rather than 8-10 mediocre pieces.

After much debate and frustration, the group finally agreed that the project would be four simple boxes that one could sit and play on. But what’s the point of four random boxes? We needed to add something to it that made it more than just some wood strewn together. We brainstormed a lot about this, finally agreeing to use lights to make the boxes exciting. The goal was to have the boxes light up different colors depending on how many were put together at a time. Additionally, we spraypainted different words on each side of all the boxes, so when lined up, the boxes showed a sentence.

In the end, we were able to spraypaint the words on the boxes, and the end result looked great. We ended up with four small scale models and one full scale box.