Aug 22 - Sep 16 2016
Homo Ludens: The Architecture of Play

Space & Installation
August 22 - September 16, 2016
Bibliowicz Family Gallery, Milstein Hall
Reception: Friday, September 16; 5:00pm

This exhibition examines links between childhood play with building blocks and morphologies embraced by architectural pedagogy and professional practice. It explores the relationship between architecture, education, and play, as part of what Johan Huizinga called homo ludens, or "playing man." Play is simultaneously a serious undertaking with serious effects. Norman Brosterman convincingly argued in Inventing Kindergarten that early childhood education in the form of kindergarten — especially its use of toys such as building blocks — gave rise to some of the most conspicuous and influential architecture of modernity. When Brosterman asserts that "every four-year-old is an architect, some move on and others, architects, linger," the insinuation is not that architects are immature, but that they remain attuned to the habits, practices, values, and virtues of play.

So much of design curriculum is based on a studio culture, which presumes and reinforces education through play and experimentation. With its genesis in childhood, the shapes and materials of building blocks and their kin become a language of forms, a lexicon of ordering systems. In turn, these inform practices of duplication, repetition, re-interpretation. One ambition in this exhibit is to note the ways in which the origins of play are still discernible in mature professional projects. Another is aimed at stimulating (both playfully and seriously) such acts of noticing.

This exhibition is curated by David LaRocca, Cornell Visiting Scholar in the Department of English, and Associate Professor of Practice Mark Morris, director of exhibitions.

Related Links:
Kindergarten to Architecture School: Homo Ludens at the Bibliowicz Family Gallery | Cornell Daily Sun