Yves Klein’s “Le Vide” Installation on Architecture Island
April 30, 2007, 1:34 am
Filed under: architecture island, far link, second life, yves klein

Avatar Far Link invites you to honor, with all your affective presence, the lucid and positive advent of a certain reign of the sensitive.

This manifestation of perceptive synthesis confirms Yves Klein’s pictorial quest for an ecstatic and immediately communicable emotion.

Architecture Island (SLurl) April, 2007


The Future of Architectural Education

‘The Tracer,’ also known as Ted Mikulski in real life, presented his Thesis Presentation for his Architectural Master’s Degree at Norwich University in Vermont this morning. A pre-recorded version of his thesis presentation was played in-world, mirroring his live presentation to the real-life jury. Bravo!

I think this presentation marks the continuation of a new generation of architectural presentation. In the future, I think we will see the architectural education begin to embrace and integrate virtual worlds into everyday studio life. Early adopters like Ted and Tab Scott are ahead of their time and leading the way to more widespread academic adoption.

Instead of pinning pieces of paper onto a wall in front of a jury, and trying to explain a design concept, why not invite them into an immersive environment where they can actually experience it? Jurors and students alike could take the virtual model and help it evolve through real-time suggestions made by actually transforming the design and really helping the student learn about architecture through immersive experience.

Moreover, the entire studio could take place in Second Life, with study models evolving throughout the semester, within virtual representation of the site’s actual real life context. Members of the community might actually stop by to provide feedback. But the best part is, advisers and faculty are no longer limited to those located near the physical university. Any professor or architect from anywhere in the world could now gain direct access to the students and their design concepts for real-time critique.

First year students could sit down and cam into the design development of a grad student’s virtual lab space, watching how they think about the design – how they test various ideas – and literally watch the building unfold. To a certain degree this is possible in a real life setting, but a group of say 15 Arch 101 students sitting in the same room hunched over a grad student’s shoulder watching them cut basswood is quite a bit different than having their invisible cameras huddled around the designer’s actual thought process, watching it unfold in real time.

In the near future, the design evolution could even be recorded. As the presentation begins, the student plays the development animation, showing the jury where they started, and what they went through to arrive at the current design – pressing pause at certain key-frames to explain it.

The whole process could really become non-linear, asynchronous – enabling faculty to be present in the studio, no matter where (or when) their physical bodies happen to be located. If a student’s design has changed for the worse, they can literally rewind to an earlier dimension and continue building from there.

Perhaps a studio project starts as a collaborative exercise, enabling students to collectively co-create a 3D representation of the project statement. The Wikitecture process could become an integral and potentially very powerful aspect of architectural education. At some point, the co-created project freezes, and each student ‘forks’ into a final design solution having started at a common base point. Depending on your stance on the feasibility of Wikitecture, some might even argue that entire courses (or a new department altogether) ought to be dedicated to it, given that it will (in my opinion) become one of the ways architecture is professionally practiced on in the relatively near future.

In sum, today’s presentation marks the continuation of a vector toward a significantly different mode of architectural education. In this case, the jury still had the luxury of a back seat vantage point, watching the presenter walk around inside the virtual model. But maybe next time, the jury will have to actually occupy the space and experience it firsthand? This time, the virtual audience in attendance, which represented a a tremendously qualified, geographically diverse group, was not able to participate in the real-world presentation. But maybe next time, there could be a 2-way portal between the two worlds to facilitate a more interactive and virtual dynamic.

I think Ted’s presentation raises the bar for architectural presentation in Second Life, and invites a new generation of virtual-savvy students to start using this environment in their own academic environment.

Well done Ted! Keep up the great work!

Learn more @ See a slideshow of images HERE.

Maya Exporter, Sculpties, and the New Face of Architecture in Second Life
April 27, 2007, 7:19 pm
Filed under: architectural resources, autodesk, rl architecture, second life

From the official Second Life wiki, revealing the formerly secret ‘sculpted prims’…

“We provide an exporter for Maya, and hopefully exporters for 3ds Max, Blender, and ZBrush will be available soon. We also have plans to provide a sculpt editor within the Second Life viewer.”

I saw it first HERE, which led me HERE, then HERE.

This is going to be huge!

What if Wikitecture Works?

This has been a truly amazing phenomenon to witness (screenshots here HERE, Theory’s Wikitecture protocol HERE).

Through the revisions, additions and edits of at least 11 different contributors and several phases of schematic evolution, it seems to have found a kind of singular life and identity of its own. It is clearly unlike what any one of the contributors would have designed on their own. It is sophisticated in its response to site cues, and nearly all of the main program elements have already been successfully achieved. The design has a clear sense of hierarchy and order – and all in the first 10 days of development.

Its an infant project with fantastic and far reaching potential for the architectural profession. In imagining these possibilities, I can’t help but to wonder… what if Wikitecture works?

Raising Real Money to Build Real Houses and a Case for Virtual Collaboration

Machinima showing Cameron Sinclair and John Gage discussing virtual collaboration and Open Architecture Network in Second Life.

Sponsored by Sun Professional Services, coordinated by Clear Ink, machinima by Kiwini Oe.

Architecture 101 ‘Super Book’ in RenderGlow

During today’s downtime, I spent some time on the beta grid experimenting with RenderGlow per Torley’s suggestion. The gradient shading was done with textures, but the glow helps add some depth.

Architecture 101 is inspired by Dr. Francis Ching’s book ‘Form, Space, and Order‘; required reading for anyone wishing to learn the fundamentals of architecture.  It is permanently rezzed on Architecture Island (SLurl).

Green Design Forum

Join Simran Sethi, host of “The Green” on the Sundance Channel, in Second Life for weekly discussion forums on environmental issues and solutions.

Topic: BUILD – How can we “green” our own homes?

Where: “The Green” forum takes place in the Main Screening Room on Sundance Channel Island

TONIGHT at 7pm!!!

Design Like you Give a Damn! Cameron Sinclair in Second Life

Cameron Sinclair, 2006 TED Prize winner, Executive Director of Architecture for Humanity, co-editor of the book ‘Design Like You Give A Damn‘ and contributing writer for will be joined by Sun Microsystems founder John Gage in a live audio discussion in Second Life.

They will discuss collaboration and participation in 3D environments, as well as the newly launched ‘Open Architecture Network‘ – which represents the fulfillment of Cameron’s 2006 TED wish. The event will feature a virtual version of the ‘Porchdog‘ and the Global Village Shelters – both of which are contributions to the Open Architecture Network.

The event will be held on Clear Ink‘s Allston sim HERE (SLurl) on Tuesday, April 24th at 10:00 am PST (SL-time). Installations and live audio stream will also be available at the University Project sim (SLurl), and the live audio can also be heard on Clear Ink Island (SLurl).

Sponsored by Sun Professional Services, coordinated by Clear Ink.

Post-Katrina Virtuality: The Porchdog

As a contribution to Architecture for Humanity’s Open Architecture Network, I built this virtual model on Architecture Island (SLurl).   Real-life construction of the Porchdog home is part of Architecture for Humanity‘s effort to provide housing relief and redevelopment in post-Katrina Biloxi, Mississippi.

Given the open and collaborative nature of this initiative, I think Second Life provides a perfect platform for visualizing, co-designing and brainstorming future contributions to the Network. Perhaps architects and designers from all around the world could gather virtually and collaborate on real-time relief solutions in the wake of an unforeseen disaster.

In reading some of the descriptive principles of Open Architecture Network, I think it’s clear that these goals can be readily fulfilled through virtual collaboration.

“The Open Architecture Network is an online, open source community dedicated to improving living conditions through innovative and sustainable design. Here designers of all persuasions can:

• Share their ideas, designs and plans
• View and review designs posted by others
• Collaborate with each other, people in other professions and community leaders to address specific design challenges
• Communicate easily amongst team members”

It’s about visualization, collaboration and community; all of which are existing features of Second Life. I would love to see SL become a catalyst for virtual collaboration toward this end, and hope we can find a way the Architecture Group can help facilitate it.

This machinima has already been posted to the Network, and can be seen at the bottom of THIS page. While I was at it, I posted our entry into the Cradle to Cradle design competition, seen HERE.

More soon!

Virtual Sustainability

Following up on the premise of the ‘Virtual Architecture as the Ultimate Green‘ concept, I wrote some additional thoughts in a comment to a thread on the sustainability or ecological footprint of virtual worlds over at Clickable Culture, pasted below – originally written HERE. As the metaverse and the practice of architecture begin to converge, I think this topic will become increasingly valid.

“I am glad to see this conversation continue to surface!

I posed a similar question to the ‘Architects in SL’ group a few weeks ago, which turned into quite a passionate discussion.

We all agree on the need for a solid and verified base metric of the collective and individual metaversal footprint.

My feeling is that even a small percentage of physical presence transcending into a virtual mode would result in a significant net decrease in the overall footprint.

When you factor in the reduced transportation, the embodied energy of the materials required to build physical space as well as the energy required to constantly condition the air in that space, it seems likely that a virtual model for the same space would consume far less energy in the overall scheme of things.

As the technology evolves, I think it’s reasonable to assume that virtual interaction will actually become better, and more effective than certain types of physical interaction. Some might say it already is. If that’s true, and we start to see a more significant shift from bricks-and-mortar dependency into a more virtual mode, I’m confident the footprint balance would surely favor virtuality.

The metrics will be critical in helping us determine where that balance point lies. It needs to be very holistic in its consideration as well. For example, I would like to be able to understand how the footprint (including commuting, architecture, individual computers, and the office server)of a physical office of 50 people compares with that of 50 people working from home, not commuting long distances, still using individual computers, but accessing a sim server instead of their traditional office server. How would the two compare?

Obviously not every kind of physical interaction lends itself to virtuality. But when I think of the magnitude of even a small percentage of physical space, on a global scale, that could be accommodated virtually, I wonder if it could be the ultimate green – to not build anything at all.

I look forward to continuing this dialogue! “