PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University Architecture Professor Paul Hirzel teaches his students to think outside the box — or in this case — the alley.
Testimony to this is the Jan. 11-29 student exhibition in the Compton Union Gallery on the WSU campus called “Bowlerama.” The exhibit portrays some outlandish twists to the standard 10-pin game, including a bowl-arena, a bowling garden, a floating lane, cave-bowling, and the regular blue-collar setting turned elegant chic.
The 15 models crafted by the students are surrounded by posters and game artifacts, and some bowling prizes are provided by the CUB Games Area downstairs. The ambiance is meant to be “striking,” say the creators.
“The objective was to break through stereotypes, and reinvent tradition,” says Joe Rydman, student curator of the exhibit. “We traced bowling back at least to 1588, when Sir Francis Drake was preoccupied with bowling as the Spanish Armada advanced toward his fleet of vessels.”
To reach their radical conclusions, the third-year studio group immersed themselves in studying and playing the game, interviewing experts, collecting memorabilia and researching literature. They then manipulated the materials, spaces, forms and light to push the limits, yet still provide an environment conducive to knocking down pins.
Hirzel says his architecture students’ “reformation of an American icon” is an exercise in imagination, intended to overcome stereotyping. A public reception is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, in front of the CUB Gallery. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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