While checking out coverage of the “invisible console” unveiling of the Playstation 4 in New York, I was struck by a familiar sight. No, not Diablo III. During the gameplay footage of Killzone 4, I recognized a certain oft-blighted building here in Beijing. Amidst the the civil unrest between the Helghest and Vektan loomed the unmistakeable curves and orbs of the Zaha Hadid-designed Galaxy SOHO.
Why? In a bid to convince the often pride-motivated Chinese government to end its June 2000 ban on video game consoles, perhaps Sony ordered a launch title to feature a building from the capital city. Or maybe, with the civil strife and sectarian violence of Killzone 4 eliciting the long repressed memories of the pre-July 14th revolution in the Baghdad of her childhood, Hadid is compelled to design for the game a building evoking life under the rule of an authoritarian regime.
More likely, it’s just a case of designers in one field taking inspiration from designers in another.
That being said, you’d think if you were given the blank slate of a future world to create architecture not bound by present conventions, construction capabilities or even physics, you wouldn’t resort to copying an empty office building in downtown Beijing.