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. a photo of a tiny house in Oregon
    Design

    How Amazon Could Transform the Tiny House Movement

    Could the e-commerce giant help turn small-home living from a niche fad into a national housing solution?

  2. The downtown St. Louis skyline.
    Perspective

    Downtown St. Louis Is Rising; Black St. Louis Is Being Razed

    Square co-founder Jack Dorsey is expanding the company’s presence in St. Louis and demolishing vacant buildings on the city’s north side.

  3. Environment

    What U.S. Cities Facing Climate Disaster Risks Are Least Prepared?

    New studies find cities most vulnerable to climate change disasters—heat waves, flooding, rising seas, drought—are the least prepared.

  4. Warren Logan
    Transportation

    A City Planner Makes a Case for Rethinking Public Consultation

    Warren Logan, a Bay Area transportation planner, has new ideas about how to truly engage diverse communities in city planning. Hint: It starts with listening.

  5. a photo of Housing Secretary Ben Carson in Baltimore in July.
    Equity

    How HUD Could Dismantle a Pillar of Civil Rights Law

    The Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to revise the “disparate impact” rule, which could fundamentally reshape federal fair housing enforcement.  

×