International Home of Video Games, in Honolulu, Hawaii
Masters Thesis of Architecture, University of Hartford, Connecticut (2007) supervisors: Dr. Kendra Schank Smith, Ernest Nepomuceno Jr
The focus of this thesis is the invention of a new building type for a site on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu – a crossroads of East and West where video game contenders of the world would gather to test their skills. The design is a metaphor of the actual video game experience, constantly revealing the bones of its structure, expressing the technicality of a video game design. It also incorporates sculptural and artistic forms, expressing the virtual inventiveness and excitement of playing.
The location of the building is a metaphor of video gaming as well. Hawaii is viewed as a paradise, an escape from run-of-the-mill where people can sink into the surrealism of gaming adventures, or simply wander around, enjoying the action of the interior views. Each level of the building introduces visitors and players to a grand lobby of arches, symbolizing their enclosure in the structure of a metaphor of a game. Each lobby floor is made of one-way glass, allowing people to view the levels below but not the levels above, which is a metaphor of gaming levels, where a player is very familiar with all the levels that preceded but has no idea what to expect from the levels to come.
The ideas that were incorporated were those of dislocation (as video game players are conceptually dislocated from one level to another) and creating a direct relationship between reality and the abstract fantasy.
The concept is emphasized with circulation experiences of a fun gaming center with constant snapshots of the outdoors and full awareness of the sculptural qualities and unique structure.