The City as a Playground: Shaping City Space to be More Playful for Individuals of Any Age

In this article, urban spaces in which people of any age can fulfill their needs related to entertainment and fun will be presented and characterized. The aim of the article is to go down the current of interdisciplinary research, elaborating on the assumption that cities should meet people’s every need, including those related to fun. Based on in situ studies and literature studies, it has been proven that the city can provide the scenery for different types of human activity, including the expression of its more joyful and relaxed nature, which is not a sign of its infantilization but a chance to relax and release stress. In addition, fun and games enable humans to develop their talents and creativity and provide an opportunity to explore innovative ideas, which is very desirable in the modern world.

Referential Style at the US Capitol Visitor Center, Washington, DC: A Case Study of Environmental Graphic Design in a Historical Context

When a structure or space of historical significance is renovated, preservation concerns may influence the type of design approach that is used in the addition of a new Environmental Graphic Design (EGD) program. To address preservation concerns such as material integrity or aesthetic sensitivities, design practitioners may consider processes and solutions that take into account the historical significance in some way. This case study describes the role played by historical significance considerations in the design process of the EGD program for the expansion of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, with the construction of a new Capitol Visitor Center. Inaugurated in 2008, the Visitor Center is a prime example of a referential style approach where the characteristics of the EGD program were inspired by the historic Capitol and appear to belong, but are not period-specific replicas. This paper highlights details of the project, its challenges, and solutions.

Dead Monuments: The Case of the Red Location Museum in Mandela Bay Metro, South Africa

In 2005, and after a twelve-year consultative process, an esteemed architectural practice inaugurated a new museum commemorating the lives of several anti-apartheid stalwarts, among them Nelson Mandela. This museum, the Red Location Museum, is recognized as a site of national struggle and is situated in Port Elizabeth’s oldest black township, New Brighton. Designed to challenge conventional museum design, the Red Location’s design is highly participatory. Twelve tall, rusted memory boxes contain the multiple threads of different personal histories. On entering any of these boxes, the visitor is confronted by a wealth of personal memoires and artefacts relating to the struggle for dignity during the apartheid years. In addition, there is an art gallery, a library, a music archive, and an on-going community-centred heritage programme. Despite the prominence, both nationally and internationally, of this anti-apartheid institution, local residents (the museum is built in a black township) forced the closure of the entire museum complex and have prevented museum staff, and members of the public, from entering any of the buildings. By way of explanation, a community leader asked, “Why build a house for dead people when us, the living, do not have a roof over our heads.” This paper, built on first-hand interviews with residents and city councillors conducted at the end of 2014, links the closure of the museum to “capture” politics and the wave of service delivery protests that have reportedly increased during President Zuma’s administration.