Students create “Podium Playground” of public venues for idea exchange

Now, more than ever, there is a palpable need for public venues for the focused exchange of ideas. This need warrants the construction of a “Podium Playground.”

Syracuse Architecture students in Assistant Professor Lindsay Harkema’s ARC 681 Media class took on the role of “activist” designers this semester and explored ways to go beyond the “noise” of digital space by proposing physical counterparts in the form of podiums for the public arena. On December 7, the class presented their shared projects to the School of Architecture community in the form of an exhibition in Slocum Hall.

Says Harkema, ”Activist individuals and groups occupy individual podiums to inform and interact with the public based on a specific political issue of interest. The field arrangement of the podiums sets up an egalitarian layout in which no single issue or opinion occupies more than its dedicated plot, the purpose of which is to promote a calm, civil exchange of ideas and the awareness of each issue as a part within a greater whole. Each with their own unique formal language and assembly, the podiums form a spatial collective. As a physical counter to the mudslinging of anonymous digital space, “Podium Playground” provides a constructed environment for the return of political discourse to the shared public space of the real world where people can both speak and listen to one another, and enjoy the exchange.”