Open Source Scripts: Reflexive Virtual Architecture

I’ve decided to Open Source several of the scripts behind the Reflexive Architecture installations, with Fumon Kubo’s permission under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Since this work is inspired by so many others, it only makes sense to make these open and accessible in order to encourage their ongoing development and evolution. If you use these scripts, I strongly encourage you to share screenshots or machinima of whatever you create for publication here, in order to inspire others to continue developing this. More about reflexive architecture HERE and HERE, machinima here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

You can find the scripts here:
Good luck!

Creative Commons License
They are all licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Rich Interchange Formats for Objects in Second Life
August 30, 2007, 7:36 pm
Filed under: architectural resources, architecture, import tools, ugotrade

Another great post on Ugotrade. This one includes an interview with Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale, with some very interesting insights. I had the oppportunity to meet with author Tara5 Oh at SLCC this year, and we discussed architectural importing just before her interview with Philip, resulting in the following question:

Ugotrade (Tara5 Oh) Question: “But, I think I have heard from architects that using the current tools to do this (model importing) is a very long and complicated procedure?

Philip’s response: “I think in the next couple of quarters we will probably have rich interchange formats for objects – we like that. But I can’t tell you anything too specific about it right now.”

Read the full interview HERE.

The Space Between the Real and the Other Real
August 30, 2007, 4:52 pm
Filed under: australia, east of odyssey, mixed reality, object gallery, rl architecture


In the past, architects and designers have used the virtual world as a workspace in which to experiment and develop prototypes for real world projects. In recent years we’ve seen the growth of networked 3D environments in which users socialise, play games, establish businesses and even fall in love. With millions of registered users of these environments worldwide, the Virtual World is no longer simply the sweatshop for the Real World; it’s fast becoming the Other Real World.

This exhibition is a portal to the virtual architectures of Second Life, a 3D online community where people can fly, and the laws of physics generally don’t apply. While a virtual building doesn’t provide much in the way of shelter, it still functions as a stage for interaction and an effective way to signify identity. As a consequence, there are plenty of fantasy palaces and Barbie mansions in Second Life, but there are also other sites where architects have been able to rethink the possibilities of human interaction with the built environment.”

Sept 10 until Nov 4

Presented by Object Gallery
Curated by Malcolm Smith (Rubix Tomorrow)
Model builder – Sugar Seville
Technical Support Aaron Newton
Model hosted at East of Odyssey

Project Partners
Odyssey Contemporary Art and Performance

Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design


Architecture Professor Uses Second Life to Teach Collaboration
August 30, 2007, 4:23 am
Filed under: montana state university, tab scott, terry beaubois

You might remember him from such periodicals as Architectural Record, Metropolis Magazine, and now Cadalyst! (link) among others. Tab Scott (Terry Beaubois), once again makes big news describing how he uses Second Life to teach Architecture at Montana State University’s Creative Research Lab.

Way to go Tab!

Info Island Library Gallery Exhibition Opening 6pm PDT 30 August, 2007
August 30, 2007, 3:37 am
Filed under: info island, reflexive architecture


The Library Gallery on Info Island will be hosting a two-part exhibition of architectural experiments Thursday, 30 August at 6pm.   Visitors may teleport to the Library Gallery, or visit the Gallery of Reflexive Architecture to experience the larger models.  A reception will follow at the TX859 dance area on roof of the tall building in the NorthEast corner of Info Island.

Many thanks to Rookie Voyager,  Daruma Picnic and Elizabeth Rookwood for this opportunity and for curating this exhibit!

The Virtual Architecture of the Future Workplace
August 28, 2007, 9:23 pm
Filed under: architecture, virtual architecture

There are a number of statements in this ABC piece on the future of the workplace that I think architects and designers should take note of. A workplace with no corporate headquarters? Not even the CEO has an office with his name on the door? Having a desk with pictures of loved ones is a thing of the past? Who needs an office?

So many of these ‘workplace of the future’ pieces seem to focus on the dispersion of the workforce. They refer to these employees as ‘remote’, and describe how companies are rearranging their physical spaces to better accommodate ‘abscence’, de-emphasizing the idea of a personalized workspace, and claiming that there is no longer any need for a headquarters. But is this really a good idea?

I think there will always be a distinct value in having the sense of a central headquarters where people gather, and I think the CEO should have a desk. There is definitely value in enabling individual employees to have a space they can customize with their own content – perhaps even pictures of loved ones if they so choose. Just because we no longer occupy the same physical space doesn’t mean we can’t occupy the same virtual space.

I think virtual workplaces actually offer the chance to place a new emphasis on re-establishing presence, and the idea that everyone can now be together occupying the same space, no matter where their bodies are located geographically. By perforating the perceived boundaries between virtual spaces and physical spaces, we can even stitch the two together seamlessly.

Where should architects fit into this new paradigm? Should architects be the ones designing these spaces, or is this responsibility better served by game designers, graphic designers and 3D modellers? Or, since anyone can build their own content in Second Life, perhaps the workers themselves can design their own spaces?

What if an architect is asked to design a new building where half of the employees occupy a virtual space and half of the employees will occupy the new physical space?  Can the architect help rethink and design the virtual architecture?  Or, should their role stop at the bricks and mortar?

Shrinking Cities: Another Second Life Competition
August 28, 2007, 5:25 am
Filed under: architectural resources, virtual architecture

Here’s another competition in Second Life a group member shared with me tonight.

I think these competitions are great, but I’m really looking forward to awards that exceed ‘publication’ or book awards as the grand prize. Don’t get me wrong, publication and competitions are great, but I struggle with the idea that we should all be feeding our hard earned ideas, architectural concepts and imagery to these competitions with no other compensation.

Besides, don’t we need new media for this new world? Are ‘books’ really the way we’re going to disseminate our ideas? What about all of the people who open source their ideas about virtual architecture, sharing screenshots and machinima with the existing community in an attempt to spread ideas and concepts as quickly as possible? Surely books have a long tail, but won’t they become essentially obsolete almost as quickly as they leave the press? Honestly, if the state of cutting edge virtual architecture is at the same status 1 or 2 or 10 years from now, I’ll be very, very disappointed.

If what we really want to do is gain social currency as thought leaders through publication, or share our ideas, to reach people, to spread these concepts quickly – I think we should agree to share them with each other openly. Many members of the Architecture Group have already spent a great deal of their time and energy posting ideas, essays and screenshots here on The Arch, and I sincerely hope that more of you will consider the same. If the goal of these publications really is to disseminate knowledge and improve the quality of virtual worlds, it seems to me that it would be in their best interest if the content were presented as openly and in as many formats as possible. The immediacy of the blogosphere, combined with the long tail and increased exposure of a physical book might be just the right combination to have the greatest impact. At the very least, we need to do both.

Having said all of this, I would like to announce with great enthusiasm (tongue in cheeck), the first annual ‘Arch’ Virtual Architecture and Essay Competition!!! There is NO deadline for submissions – they’re accepted anytime! There is absolutely no requirement for formatting (screenshots, SLurls, essays are all accepted)!!!

The prize is… *drum-roll please* publication on The Arch!!!

Anyone Going to SLCC?
August 23, 2007, 3:06 am
Filed under: community convention, second life

I’ll be in Chicago this weekend for the Second Life Community Convention, will you? Send Keystone Bouchard an IM so we can have the first annual ‘Architecture in Second Life’ meetup.

August 21, 2007, 5:58 pm
Filed under: ctrl shift 07 competition, iota ultsch, lebenswelt, virtual architecture

The following essay was submitted by Iota Ultsch.

The Gestalt approach is a form of phenomenological field theory. Gestalt shares the concerns of phenomenology, which are to study the multiple possibilities of a given field or situation as it is experienced subjectively by the people cocreating it at any moment in time. It shares the phenomenological premise that it is not possible to establish a single objective or absolute truth but only to be open to a multiplicity of subjective interpretations of reality, for each of us experiences a uniquely interpreted reality – because people form highly individual impressions of situations and endow events with subjective meaning.” Mackewn, 1997, p. 58-9

ZOOMING in and out of a SYSTEM facilitates the study of STRUCTURAL and BEHAVIOURAL hierarchies, yielding, in some cases, the key to understanding, otherwise seemingly CHAOTIC organisations at their most fundamental level. All systems, regardless of SCALE or degree of DETAIL apparent, contain values which can assist in their identification, and properties which allow one system to COMMUNICATE with another.

An example of these phenomena can be illustrated by the initial and sometimes final division of spatial configurations, within an architectural program for circulation into the binary zones of public and private. Here, the private zone and its associated behaviours can be identified as the primary node of a plan’s system. Conversely, the public zone of a plan, allows REACTION and INTERACTION, between the primary inhabitants and external parties. The public zone can therefore be seen as a FORUM for changeability/mutability, as it allows external stimuli to penetrate its otherwise ordered realm.

Second Life presents opportunities to explore and observe the MUTABILITY of such systems with the paradigm of the blurring of the private and public zones becoming more relevant to the metaverse. An indispensable tool for studying human behaviour within various spatial and social contexts.

The MIND AVATAR begins its journey by creating an idealised physical representation of the ID within the virtual realm. The representative HOST BODY [BODY AVATAR] soon learns to manipulate cameras and movement in order observe, learn, communicate with other avatars and facilitate interaction with spaces.

Traversing the virtual environment via teleporting, flying, point-animating or simply walking, the AVATAR perceives and responds to virtual space as a series of perpetually distorting, texture-mapped surfaces offering everything from infinite vistas to jarring dead-ends, forcing the MIND AVATAR into a CHANGE IMPULSE condition. “Change impulse” is my term to describe both the cognitive and emotive; the involuntary responses to any environment, which occur as a result of the mind-avatar’s degree of compulsion/repulsion to the spatial experience in question.

The “Tree of Second Life” build is part of a tripartite proposal. It was designed to interrogate the meaning of architectural practice in virtual space by challenging traditional [Real Life] architectural paradigms and establishing to what extent these paradigms are supported or simply collapse in a metaverse.

The build was designed to be visually permeable. An avatar can walk a bridge directly to the Tree of [Second] Life, fly through the mostly phantom space for a dynamic, phenomenological experience of the form, or sit and pose at various points, allowing for a more static special experience.

The build is composed of a series of interwoven orthogonal prims floating above the site. Textured with alpha transparency and rendered steel, the build is BODY MAPPED with deconstructed AVATAR body parts created in Poser and sculpted in MAYA, the fundamental 3D software for Second Life’s avatars.

A narrow suspended internal bridge leads the avatar through the build and reaches a solitary tree in a concrete box. The displaced and interwoven body parts act as metaphor for the diverse sociocultural demographic of Second Life.

These images, relating to the human form have spatial significance due to our subliminal attraction to representations of ourselves. i.e. GESTALT. Form thus, FOLLOWS FORM.

Finally, the Tree of [Second] Life; a place where MIND + BODY AVATAR come to rest and reflect…perhaps a harbringer of sustainable solutions to REAL LIFE from the metaverse.


Bachelard, Gaston, The Poetics of Space, Beacon, Massachusetts, 1969.Bois, Yve Alain and Krauss, Rosalind, Formless: A User’s Guide, Zone
Books, Cambridge, Mass.: Distributed by MIT Press, New York, 1997.
Carter, Paul, Repressed Spaces: The Poetics of Agoraphobia, Reaktion
Books, 2002.
Ching, Frank, Architecture: Form, Space & Order, Van Nostrand Reinhold,
New York, 1979.
Kauffman, Stuart A., At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity. Oxford University Press, 1995.De Landa, Manuel, Uniformity and Variability: An Essay in the Philosophy of Matter, 1995.
Dodds, George and Tavernor, Robert, Body and Building, MIT, 2002.Foreign Office Architects, Phylogenesis, Actar, Spain, 2004.
Mackewn, J. Developing Gestalt Counselling, London, UK: Sage Pulications, 1997.
Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, Routledge, New Edition,

UK, 1992.
Tschumi, Bernard, Architecture and Disjunction, MIT Press, UK, 1996.Tschumi, Bernard, Event-Cities 3: Concept vs. Context vs. Content,
MIT Press, UK, 2004.
Vidler, Anthony, Bodies in Space/Subjects in the City: Psychopathologiesof Modern Urbanism, from Differences 3, 1993.
Wolfram, Stephen, Complex Systems Theory, Addison-Wesley, 1988, [pp. 183-189].

More Reflexive Architecture Resources
August 21, 2007, 4:54 pm
Filed under: reflexive architecture

One of the most amazing things about Second Life is the ability for like-minded people to cluster around a given catalyst for discussion. In many ways, this phenomenon is the very essence of what we call ‘community’ – not just in SL, but anywhere.

Since the Gallery of Reflexive Architecture opened just a few days ago, I’ve met some remarkable people who have provided some great resources toware the ongoing study of Reflexive Architecture that have been fascinating studies. The potential for this kind of responsive environment is quite evident:
This book is especially interesting, since one of Neil Spiller’s first books ‘Architects in Cyberspace’ is what got me started on this path of virtual architecture to begin with – over 10 years ago!

If you know of any additional resources related to the concept of Reflexive Architecture (RL or SL – they seem interoperable in this case), please post them in comment, and we’ll add them to the list.

I hope to open source the scripts behind these installations in time for the Info Island Library Gallery opening exhibit on the 30th!