Le Petit Architecte is a game by UCLA student Theo Triantafyllidis, commissioned for the decorbuziers exhibition which took place recently in Romantso, Athens. The game was designed to memorialise, and pay tribute to, the modernist Swiss architect Le Corbusier on the 50th anniversary of his death.
The game certainly does this, but in a very interesting way. Le Petit Architecte is basically an open-ended game in which players take up the role of a young intern who wants to create the next architectural marvel. You begin the game in an open green space, standing in front of Le Corbusier’s famous modernist masterpiece Villa Savoye. From there, you must try to build the tallest possible structure you can with all of the weird objects in your building arsenal.
Le Petit Architecte is chaotic, not paying tribute to the methodical and gravity-restricted nature of architecture, but to the wild, ambitious, and creative visions of architects themselves. The game has you literally throw architectural structures like pillars, arches, and ladders as well as less sensible items like pianos, fans and light fixtures in front of you with no sense of order, like some kind of constructional vomit. I’m fairly sure I hear the screech of a cat when I threw something. The pieces all stick together and your structure begins to grow, forcing you to keep jumping to its top to keep the ascent going.
Trying to get you to build the highest possible tower does seem like a pretty apt way to celebrate the vision of Le Corbusier, whose urban visions often involved skyscrapers of unreasonable heights, although I doubt he would have approved of the mess. When your structure becomes too messy or unwieldy, the game begins to break and the object you throw fail to find purchase instead vibrating violently in a kind of orbit of the tower.
La Petit Architecte is a strange experience but it is massive amounts of chaotic fun with a feeling of complete creative freedom. You can download it for free here, and there’s also a link to an in-browser version of the game if you want to try it quickly.