New Hampshire camp creates giant flipbooks and a functioning pipe organ

Beam Camp, a New Hampshire summer camp that commissions elaborate collaborations between campers and artists, designers and engineers successfully built a collection of giant flipbooks and a functioning, tree-shaped pipe organ this past summer.

The flipbook project – known as the Universal Play Machine – was a collaboration with the UK-based Mobile Studio Architects. The project masters were Chee-Kit Lai and Will Atkins.

The universal play machine is a bespoke and adaptable kinetic sculpture that is also a device for learning – not only in the process of its creation but also in how it can be interacted with when complete. Essentially an oversized flip-book, the system scales up the split-flap display technology first used in airports and train-stations across the world. Exaggerating the analogue nature of the technology, the universal play machine has the capacity to rotate through a sequence of images, sketches, numbers or letters – all created by the campers and even powered by the campers themselves!

Project, cabins and day in the life at Beam Camp in Strafford, NH

The pipe organ project – known as Pipe Tree – was a collaboration with Florian Gwinner.

The Pipe Tree is a fully functioning, human-operated, pipe organ that takes its place among pine and maple trees in the Beam Camp forest overlooking Little Willey Pond.


Visit for more information about this projects and to submit a project proposal for 2017. You can see videos of both projects on the camp’s Facebook page.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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