Simon Devitt

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

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.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  2. An illustration of a private train.
    Transportation

    Let’s Buy a Train

    If you dream of roaming the U.S. in a your own personal train car, you still can. But Amtrak cuts have railcar owners wondering if their days are numbered.

  3. A photo of the interior of a WeWork co-working office.
    Design

    WeWork Wants to Build the ‘Future of Cities.’ What Does That Mean?

    The co-working startup is hatching plans to deploy data to reimagine urban problems. In the past, it has profiled neighborhoods based on class indicators.

  4. Transportation

    China's 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter's Worst Nightmare

    What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

  5. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.