Santa Monica - A choose your own adventure architectural game

Advanced topic studio - Option Studio UCLA AUD M.Arch - Fall 2023

Let’s play a choose your own adventure game of Architecture.

What happens to a neighborhood when we design a building? Architectural design is an intricate process that involves many factors, and we tend to investigate each of them separately. In this studio we study micro urban narratives through understanding design as a participatory process.

We start from an existing urban block and design the future of it through new construction, gentrification, and market driven development. Depending on the decisions taken for each lot, the whole bloc gets redesigned. Learning from choose your own adventure games, we use branching narrative logic as a tool for world building and invite the audience to play an interactive game and design the future of a Santa Monica block. 

Santa Monica uses game engines to craft an interactive narrative for a mixed-use block in Santa Monica, each decision leads to a new design of the block. We design collectively these variations by simultaneously playing an interactive game where we can see the multiple scenarios play out by piecing together a plan, a physical scaled block model, and an 8bit style game.

Photo Credits: Alyssa Tohyama

You can play the game here: Give it 3 min to load


Santa Monica was a Fall 2023 graduate-level design studio led by Yara Feghali at UCLA's Department of Architecture and Urban Design (UCLA AUD), part of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture (UCLA Arts). The Santa Monica studio participants are third-year Master of Architecture candidates at UCLA AUD: Peilin Cao, Haydon Chan, Zongli Casper Li, Yufei Ma, Kinamee Rhodes, Jane Wu, Qinyi Wu, Qing Yin, and Chaoying Mavis Zhao.
Game narrative structure consulting by Rachel Joy Victor.
Unity Game Development by Folly Feast Lab.
Yara Feghali / 2024