Top 10: The architecture of computer games (pt II)
The Architects’ Journal selects the finest architecture from the worlds of computer and video games
5. Scumm Bar, The Secret of Monkey Island
Scumm Bar on the Caribbean island of Mêlée is constructed on a floating timber deck system for 360-degree sea views. The decor may have seen better days but there remains a certain authentic charm, with exposed structural oak and arched windows typical of the West Indian colonial style. Prince Charles would no doubt approve. Rough plastered walls softened by red velvet drapes are a stylistic combination attempted - but not bettered - by many taverns in the Tri-Island area.
4. Halo, Halo II
The prevalent use of local sandstone and homogeneous approach to design make for an environment that is comparable to the Regency spa towns of Harrogate or Bath. The indigenous material is ubiquitous - whether left rough in rural settings (to encourage the growth of moss and lichens) or finished smooth for urban environments, it lends a sense of grandeur to the to local buildings. The warren-like town planning of many of Halo’s urban centres and individual buildings, originally designed to improve sociability, have since been devastated by ethnic warfare between humans and the aliens of the Covenant.
3. Liberty City, Grand Theft Auto IV
Liberty City is Richard Rogers’ worst nightmare: a city designed for those in love with cars. The former advisor to the London Mayor, should he visit, is more likely to be mowed down by an out-of-control automobile than sip an overpriced latte in a pedestrianised piazza peppered with parasols. Yet, despite the evident dangers, people flock to live here. Perhaps its the dramatic sunsets, the coastal location or Liberty City’s aesthetic affinity with the Big Apple. Just don’t call it an Eco-town!
2. The City, Sim City
Sim City is the kind of place that could spring up overnight. Like a high class favela, it’s an ad-hoc civilisation of strange and wonderful hybrid buildings. Architectural forms are born out of a clash between modern technology and traditional values. The city’s mayor clearly cares little for sensitive zoning and long-term masterplanning. Pagoda roofs sit atop concrete-clad high density housing towers as a nod to both ancient Eastern building practices and prefabricated modular buildings in the West.
1. Azeroth, World of Warcraft
The stunning diversity of buildings of Azeroth secures it the top spot. Towering Gothic structures recall the ‘dreaming spires’ of Oxford given a subversive geometrical revamp. The architecture of the Blood Elves, on the other hand, has softer, more organic influences. Similar to Gaudi’s Parc Guell or Sagrada Familia, nature is expressed in stylised form - the very essence of Art Nouveau.