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An image of a colorful video game-type game on a computer screen
Screenshot from the "Santa Monica" architecture game
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Choose your own adventure with Killscreen exhibition/game "Santa Monica," by Yara Feghali's Fall 2023 UCLA AUD Studio

Feb 15, 2024

Let’s play a choose your own adventure game - with architecture!

LA's Killscreen Gallery opens the interactive exhibition "Santa Monica" on Thursday, February 22, based on Yara Feghali's Fall 2023 advanced topics studio at UCLA AUD of the same title. The installation kicks off with a 6:00 pm reception on February 22 at Killscreen Gallery (5511 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles), and is on view through March 2.

"Santa Monica" uses game engines to craft an interactive narrative for a mixed-use block in Santa Monica, with each user decision generating a new design for the urban block. Participants start from an existing urban block and design the future of it through new construction, gentrification, and market driven development. Inspired by so-called "choose your own adventure" games, the project uses branching narrative logic as a tool for world building, inviting the audience to play an interactive game and design the future of a Santa Monica city block.

Participants collectively design these variations by simultaneously playing an interactive game, where multiple scenarios play out as users piece together a plan, a physical model, and an 8-bit style game.

Like Feghali's Fall 2023 studio, the exhibition asks: What happens to a neighborhood when we design a building within it? Architectural design is an intricate process that involves many factors, and we tend to investigate each of them separately. In this studio and exhibition, designers study micro-urban narratives through understanding design as a participatory process.

Feghali [right] in conversation during a review session for the "Santa Monica" studio at AUD

Feghali's Fall 2023 "Santa Monica" studio was a graduate-level design course, featuring AUD Master of Architecture candidates Peilin Cao, Haydon Chan, Zongli Casper Li, Yufei Ma, Kinamee Rhodes, Jane Wu, Qinyi Wu, Qing Yin, and Chaoying Mavis Zhao.

Members of Feghali's "Santa Monica" studio review the game during a studio session at AUD

The "Santa Monica" team consulted Rachel Joy Victor on narrative structure, and Feghali's Folly Feast Lab for Unity game development.

Killscreen Gallery is open for view on Saturdays, 12:00 to 5:00 pm, from February 22 through March 2, 2024.

Related Faculty
Yara Feghali
Related topics
Technology, Urban Strategy, Media
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