Ball Pits?

There’s a beautiful one at MIT’s Simmons Hall and a gross one at your local Chuck-E-Cheese, and they strike me as creepy in both locations. In the latter I remember being constantly worried that some monster I couldn’t see was going to eat my legs, a la Star Wars. In the former, I’d be worried about stumbling into drunk people having sex (Note this only links to drunk people about to have sex. Somewhat NSFW.)

Though maybe the MITies are extra conscientious? Regardless, places that contain a lot of strangers, like dorms, need spaces like ball pits that encourage informal social interaction, so I’m happy about the effort. MIT seems to be serious about incorporating community-building into it’s physical design, as this was also a goal of Gehry’s Stata Center (the bottom-line rationalization being that the intermixing of geniuses will produce great discoveries).

It’s almost enough to make me optimistic about the emergent geek power structure.

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