Spring 2017 | Instructor: Laurel Broughton

Selected for EXPO Exhibition - 2017
Included in USC School of Architecture's INDEX 16-17

PlayLab is a topic studio that explores the relationship between toys and architecture. This is an ongoing investigation between design and play through various media (computer-aided modelling programs, drawings, wooden models, film, etc).

What happens when architecture is designed as a big toy? Or can we design a toy system that is so big that it becomes architecture and can be moved, changed, rearranged, and added to by the users? Does the part and the whole get confused? How can architecture be instrumental in creating multiple narratives for organization?

[i] Toy Replica
In collaboration with Doris Duanmu and Samantha Lee.
Our task was to create exact replicas of 3 Montessori toys: Red Rods, Colored Cylinders and Brown Stairs, as well as an instructional video on how to play them.

[ii] Invention of a Constructivist Toy
KIMOCHI, which means feelings in Japanese, are 25 little black and white cubes with enough flexibility to create patterns and faces with different emotions. The possibilities are endless.

Painted & lacquered toy from pine wood

[iii] Environment Systems
The Constructivist toy is now transformed into a modular furniture piece with enough flexibility to accommodate for different needs of a kindergarten, such as individual and group work space, play, and storage. Each student is assigned a cube and they can combine them in various ways as suited.

Spray-painted model from cast plastic demonstrating different configurations.

[iv] PlayLab

The final phase involves designing an interior kindergarten space of 30’x30’ for children between 4 and 6 years old. The design includes 3 different programs: facade & alcove entry, environmental systems (flexible elements), and permanent elements. The geometry of the furniture from the previous stage is carried over and acts in plan as spatial generators. A system of curtains is introduced as temporary spatial dividers that help create different spaces for different purposes. The colors and patterns of the curtains can be easily changed according to the needs of the kindergarten at any time.

Traditional wooden doll house in 1"-1' scale
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