Minecraft night scene of the ArtCenter campus

profile / sweet-summer-stories / entertainment-design / students
July 07, 2020

About the Series

Sweet Summer Stories spotlight ArtCenter students' summertime achievements, big and small.

BlockCenter Creator Paul Lam

Entertainment Design student Paul Lam created BlockCenter, a custom version of Minecraft set at ArtCenter’s Hillside campus.

What is your sweet summer story?

Around two weeks ago I started a 1 to 1 (1 block equates to 1 meter) recreation of the ArtCenter’s Hillside campus. Honestly, at the beginning there wasn't any specific plan. I just wanted to create a community project that I could work on with friends and people from college. We started sharing what we had online and the response has been great. Many people have reached out and have come onto the server to build.

Paul Lam's Minecraft self portrait

I can’t begin to explain how strange it is to miss a black rectangle on the hill but I know most ArtCenter students understand the feeling.

Paul Lam Entertainment Design Student
Minecraft replica of the student dining room at ArtCenter

How did the story begin?

Things have been pretty tough all around the world lately. This whole lock down situation resulted in having our campus abruptly shut down, stripping us of what was, for many, a second home. I can't begin to explain just how strange it is to miss a black rectangle in the hills; but I know most ArtCenter students know the feeling. So, in an effort to give people the opportunity to reminisce about the experiences they’ve had at ArtCenter, I, along with a small group of peers, decided to recreate our home away from home in a virtual space.

Minecraft version of the ArtCenter auditorium

Where do you hope it will take you?

BlockCenter started as more of a passion project rather than an experience that would elevate my artistic ability; and it may not be directly applicable to any sort of future career or count as a graded assignment. It serves as a way to practice art in a different, unorthodox medium. And so far, it's been an amazing experience to bring people together.