How to play the environment game

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery, 12 April – 24 June 1973

How to Play the Environment Game, an exhibition conceived and designed by Theo Crosby and his design firm Pentagram, set out to encourage members of the public to think critically about the way that cities are designed, constructed and lived in.

Occupying the entire gallery, the exhibition brought together statistics, architectural history, planning theory and the work of artists involved in creating art for public spaces. Following the showing at the Hayward Gallery, a scaled down version of the exhibition toured to UK venues and to Stockholm, Sweden.

The exhibition took the form of a series of screens on which text and image worked together to unpack complex narratives. These densely researched sections – which included a survey of planning theory from the Neolithic period to the modern movement – were put together with the help of collaborators, including architect Lyall Addleson, filmmaker Mick Czaky and scientist and environmentalist Gerald Leach.

Crosby intended for the exhibition to increase public knowledge of and participation in the process of redevelopment. In order to reach people who wouldn’t normally enter an art gallery, he worked closely with the community arts organisation Inter-Action to create a ‘mobile’ section of the exhibition – a ‘Media Van’ that toured communities in London’s suburbs, as well as regional areas during the exhibition’s UK tour.

The exhibition was also accompanied by a book printed by Penguin, which featured extracts by writers and architectural theorists including Peter Cook and Jane Jacobs.

During its London showing, the exhibition was visited by 28,600 people, and was well-received in the press, with Michael Shepherd in the Sunday Telegraph describing it as ‘ of the most important exhibitions of our whole lifetime’.

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