Games studies in architectural education: An experimental graphic approach implemented in Granada University Architecture School
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RWTH Aachen University
ArchitectureGame StudiesArt and EntertainmentArchitectural EducationArchitectural Drawing
SponsorshipDepartment of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino; Architectural History Area, Architecture School, Granada University; Architectural Projects Area, Architecture School, Granada University
Videogames depict a great variety of architectural and urban spaces. Digital environments often present a significant level of thought and detail, employing real references and historical architectural styles in their design, and becoming an influential source of inspiration for architecture professionals. Our research combines the fields of game studies and architectural education through an experiment where advanced students analyze digital architectures in videogames with the same rigor that they would study real built spaces. The objective is to provide innovative transdisciplinary training to new architects who may develop a hybrid career designing both physical and digital environments. As an example, we present a first experimental product: an undergraduate thesis project in which the student analyzed the design of BioShock Infinite’s Columbia. The student identified how diverse architectural elements and references were used in Bioshock’s introductory sequences. The methodology used was mainly graphical, applying classic architectural drawing techniques that are not found in most game studies works developed from the fields of arts and humanities. The results include a full set of new images, analytical drawings, urban landscapes, and creative cartographies. All steps of this architectural education experiment have been detailed, including its context, stages of development, and conclusions; while emphasizing the teaching tools employed and the personal perceptions of the student. This teaching methodology is potentially applicable during the architectural analysis of other videogames, as well as it may be integrated into most international architecture graduate and undergraduate programs.
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