Architectuur in Second Life: Dedato of Amsterdam
December 29, 2006, 5:20 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

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This afternoon I had a chance to catch up with RL Architects member Rakeem Buaku, an avatar representing Dedato, an architecture studio from Amsterdam. Rakeem is building a model of his studio’s new headquarters inside of Second Life, and plans to use the virtual model as a tool for promoting and presenting the real life project.

Currently, the project consists of a large skeletal concrete frame, as well as a hint of the fenestration chassis that will envelope at least part of the structure. Site entourage, such as roadways, waterfront and landscaping are also starting to take shape. The Second Life site is nearly identical to the real life site, which is an essential ingredient in telling this building’s story, since it is perched on a piece of waterfront property; the views of which played an obvious role in developing the massing and orientation of the project.

While his build already shares status with aloft’s hotel as being among the most significant projects stemming from RL architectural practice, Rakeem has even bigger plans for Second Life. His methodology extends beyond merely replicating his studio’s real-world designs. He suggests that the typical RL to SL trajectory could stand to be reversed. By designing projects in Second Life and translating those models into real-world designs, he takes advantage of the simplicity of the in-world tools and could enable clients to have a more participatory role in the schematic design process.

As we toured his soon-to-be new office building, we wondered why more architects aren’t using Second Life as a professional tool. Perhaps most architects are too conservative? Perhaps there are too many challenges? Too much to learn? Perhaps some struggle with spending so much time playing a game? While each of these points may have validity, I think any architect exploring Second Life would agree that the potential is there, and that it will only be a matter of time before this kind of environment becomes commonplace in our practice.

Rakeem Buaku isn’t going to wait for a perfect platform. In the meantime, his studio’s clients will enjoy an unprecedented level of immersion and visualization, and his firm will likely enjoy the marketability and publicity the cutting edge affords.

Stay tuned for progress posts!

5 Comments so far
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I wish Second Life was implemented better. The idea is nice but it could have been so much better. It’s sluggish in all sorts of ways.

Comment by Matt

“It’s sluggish in all sorts of ways”
True, can’t argue there! But, is there an equal alternative? If not, why not?

“It could have been so much better”
I wouldn’t be so quick to write off the complexity of this platform, and the community that thrives within it. Second Life is a sophisticated phenomenon, in a state of constant evolution. Linden Lab has pioneered so many ‘firsts’ in this field that I just don’t think it’s fair to evaluate it based on what you wish it could have been. Even if competing platforms emerge that blow it away (I have my doubts), Second Life should still be celebrated as the platform that paved the way.

Comment by keystonesl

So the thing is, that this is a perfectly fine looking office building, if a bit mundane, for 1st life. But in Second Life a lot of the constraints and opportunities to exploit in architecture are much different. Who needs all that gravity based framing stuff when gravity is strictly optional in its effect on the materials? Who need conventional doors when a section of wall can simply be phantom? You might paint a door on that section so the user knows where it is but not much more than that. Who needs conventional access methods when you have teleportation and all your users can fly? Why heavy strong looking materials when material in second life is simply put where you want it without support or fastenings of any kind?

I think there is a lot of opportunity for rethinking much of architecture in SL and this is a large part of where the fun is.

That said brick and mortar companies looking for an online presence will certainly have large demand for reassuring looking spaces. But what of the rest of us who have been residents a while and want buildings suited to our world and abilities?

Comment by Serendipity Seraph

@Serendipity I’m afraid you missed the point of this build entirely. It isn’t designed to be a virtual building, and I’m confident the builder is fully aware of the potential for architecture in virtual environments to break free from physical norms and expectations.

This is intended to mirror a physical world building, and enable project stakeholders to tour the building virtually before it is built in real life.

Also, fwiw, this building has since been completed in real life, and is anything but mundane.

Comment by keystonesl

My apologies. New to the site and I feel very foolish after seeing your many fantastic posts and projects including on taking maximal advantage of Second Life. I am an aspiring SL builder without your deep architectural background. Is there training or opportunities that you would recommend? I would be interested in anything you have to share including tools in and out of world you find most useful, and perhaps general architectural/design training sources for the lay person. Perhaps this is already somewhere on the site that I have not discovered yet.

My hat is off to you!

Comment by Serendipity Seraph

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