How to Turn a Busy Street Corner Into a Pop-Up Cinema

In Auckland, New Zealand, a micro-theater is grafted onto an existing stoop, transforming stairs into seats.

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Simon Devitt

The diminishing (some might say, deterioration) of public social interaction at the "hands" of smartphones and other gadgets has prompted an ever-growing tide of reaction from architects, designers, and other would-be social engineers. OH.NO.SUMO, an experimental design collective from Auckland, New Zealand, decided to get in on the game with a parasitic movie theater that turns a busy street corner into an pop-up cienma.

‘Stairway Cinema’ was built as a haven for city-dwellers, either in transit or idly waiting for a bus or to meet friends. The micro-theater is grafted onto an existing stoop such that the stairs become seats (for up to seven people) and films, selected by viewers, are projected onto the canopy while pedestrians pass below. The cinema doubles as a refuge from rain, and as an incubator of random social encounters.

Photos: Simon Devitt

Videos are chosen by viewers through social media

The project aims to encourage people to trade private screens for one somewhat more public, as the project uses social media to reintroduce interaction into the physical public realm. But unless the Stairway Cinema can be replicated across the globe, keeping public spaces vital and vivacious is going to be an uphill battle.

Photos: Simon Devitt



Photos: Simon Devitt



The cinema was built onto an existing stoop

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

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