|Oberhausen - DE
This project was awarded first prize in a pan-European competition to consider new use for the obsolete gasometer in Oberhausen – Europe’s largest.
One play on the word Gasometer is Gamestore and such opportunism yielded the concept for this competition submission. The design provided for a future installation inside Europe’s tallest Gasometer by considering this vast 110m high by 60m wide void as a gaming space. To truly appreciate the overwhelming scale of this former industrial site, consider a football field stood vertically!
From Play-doh to Plato the historic value of gameplay is two-fold: firstly, gamespace encourages high levels of social interactivity (football’s governing body FIFA has more state members than the UN); secondly, games, unlike the more recognisable artforms of literature or film, are meant to be returned to. With each new game one utilises their previous experience to improve technique, strategy and endurance. Here then is the value of gamespace for architecture: games, like buildings, are designed to be experienced more than once: architecture can be replayable!
Gamestoreexploits the expansive width and vertiginous height of the Gasometer. By moving up through the building one reaches higher levels of game-interaction. Gamestore thus has four levels, each represented by a word play of Gasometer: choose (Gamestore), play (More stage), win (Ego master) and watch (Most agree). Upon entry one sees a number of gameboxes which are in fact elevators (utilising window-cleaning hoist technology) – are you game enough to play? One chooses between games of chance and those of skill. If the player is lucky or skilled, he or she arrives within the playing field (level2) a series of diverse gaming spaces – ballroom, card room, room number, and memory room – connected by a maze-like circulation. The more rooms one finds and plays the more time is won (upon buying a ticket player-visitor is allocated a certain playing time before expulsion). In Gamestore one plays oneself such that, potentially, everyone is a winner – or a loser!