"Which Catalan postmodernist architect, known for his monumental buildings, said: 'Through my buildings, I want to receive the kind of adulation usually reserved for pop stars?'" If a night in round the kitchen table with five architecture enthusiasts answering questions like this doesn't appeal, you may wish to read no further. This is just one question from the Modern Architecture Boardgame from NEXT Architects, which pits fans of all things built and beautiful against one another, as they take it in turns to don the iconic round spectacles of Le Corbusier in the ultimate architectural trivia nerd-off. But which buildings do its six iconic playing pieces represent? Inquiring minds want to know.
When I say "don the iconic round spectacles," by the way, I mean it very literally. The game comes with tinted red spectacles for that very purpose, which are passed to the next player when questions are answered incorrectly.
The board game has two points of particular interest. The first is its set of playing pieces, which must surely rival those of Monopoly in terms of sheer iconicism. These six little pins are fashioned after exemplary pieces of modern architecture - but not so exemplary, it seems, that the architecture blogs reporting on the game are able to identify more than two. How many can you identify? Answers appear after the photo.
From left to right, we have:
- Johann Otto von Spreckelsen's La Grande Arche (Paris)
- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building (New York)
- OMA's CCTV Headquarters (Beijing)
- Oscar Niemeyer's Copan Building (Sao Paulo)
- Le Corbusier's Plan Voisin (intended for Paris)
- Norman Foster's 30 St Mary Axe, better known as The Gherkin (London)
Have a look at the gallery to compare the pieces to their full scale counterparts. Full disclosure: we may have needed NEXT's help in identifying one or two (ahem).
The second point to note is the striking monotone board with circular design and radially spoked walls separating corridors and (unless my eyes deceive me) staircases. Clearly the board evokes the plan of a building.
In addition to architects and architecture boffins, we reckon this would make a great addition to the collection of the board game collectors out there. Editions of the Modern Architecture Boardgame cost EUR45 each (US$60), but unless you can call into NEXT's offices in Amsterdam you'll have to find four like-minded friends, as NEXT will only send postal orders out in batches of five. The good news is that these work out at EUR40 each ($52.75).
Oh, and Ricardo Bofill, in case you were wondering, is apparently the answer to the question.