From Architecture to Wikitecture: How Virtual Worlds and Web 2.0 Will Revolutionize Architecture
December 31, 2007, 5:02 am
Filed under: aias, forum, jon brouchoud, keystone bouchard, ryan schultz, Theory Shaw

Tomorrow, Ryan Schultz and I are heading to Milwaukee to demonstrate Second Life to the American Institute of Architecture Students FORUM convention.

For my part, I put together a survey of everything I could think of related to architecture in SL, and Ryan put together a more philosophical perspective of how we think virtual worlds and web 2.0 will be affecting these students, as the next generation of architecture professionals. We will conclude with a live demonstration of the Wikitecture project, and show our progress to-date.

Beyond our demo, we have the unfortunate reality of reporting to them that New Zealand’s equivalent of their AIAS convention already kicked their butts earlier this year by purchasing an island, hosting an architecture competition, and streaming their entire conference live into Second Life for everyone to enjoy.

The only comfort we can provide is that Ryan and I (former members of AIAS) took both first and second place in their competition! lol. One way or another, 2008 will be catch-up time for AIAS in Second Life, and we hope to kick-start that process tomorrow!

We will be giving a similar presentation at Metaverse U at Stanford University in February.

Its an exciting time to be a Wikitect! =)

via NPIRL: What every Second Life newbie should know – 10 secret tips that will boost your experience from the get-go
December 26, 2007, 3:07 pm
Filed under: bettina tizzy, not possible in real life, npirl

I could be wrong, but I suspect there might be a few readers who still haven’t been in Second Life, or tried and didn’t have a very good time. Just in case you change your mind, I’d like to share this link from fellow blogger and good friend of mine Bettina Tizzy from the ‘Not Possible in Real Life.’ This post contains a wealth of very important points that every newbie to Second Life should consider: 10 secret tips.

While you’re there, check out the rest of the blog. When I open my Google Reader, the first thing I do is scan to see if there’s a new post up at NPIRL.

My post on Clear Night Sky, ‘The Fear of Being a Newbie‘ also has some advice as well (as well as a picture of Keystone Bouchard on day 3 of his adventures in SL! lol). For what it’s worth, you can see all of my Clear Night Sky posts HERE.

Architecture and Culture of Ancient Egypt Recreated in Second Life
December 23, 2007, 4:03 pm
Filed under: ancient egypt, architectural resources, pathfinder linden

For more information, visit the ARCH Network.

“Aura Lily has been using Second Life to recreate the artifacts and architecture of ancient Egypt. Using maps drawn by one of Napoleon’s artist engineers, she’s also working on an accurate recreation of temples and buildings on the island of Philae. Aura’s work is simply amazing, and I think the educational potential to use Second Life as an immersive way to explore ancient architecture and culture is limitless. She has no formal training in 3d modeling, yet she has a true passion for this ancient era and has done all of this work completely on her own. Simply incredible. Visit her amazing space in Second Life and experience it firsthand”

Description and screenshot via Pathfinder Linden’s Flickr site. SLurl.

via SLNN: “Architect DB Bailey ignores gravity and early critics”
December 22, 2007, 7:53 pm
Filed under: db bailey

Interesting story via about RL Architect DB Bailey. Screenshots also via

Bailey says SL is ”unbelievably liberating for an architect, a dream.”

I couldn’t agree more!

[update: after finally having a chance to catch up on my reading, I found another great post about DB Bailey on Eshi’s blog HERE.]

re: What’s wrong with virtual architecture?
December 22, 2007, 6:20 pm
Filed under: competition, gridblog, lordfly digeridoo, virtual architecture

I was a little late on the draw, but there is an interesting post and comment thread over on GridBlog.  Lordfly posts some very insightful thoughts about virtual architecture, competitions, functionality in SL and more.  What are your thoughts?  

Alley Flats Presentation Machinima

Here is a video I made during the University of Texas, Austin Alley Flat Initiative presentation. I have to apologize for the video and sound quality, but I really wanted to share this since it was a very inspirational tour and presentation, including some great quotes and fascinating insights! By no means does this video cover the entire presentation, but is the best I could do at the time. This site is now open for public viewing at the Educators Coop 1 sim in Second Life (SLurl).

This presentation really hit home for me, given that demonstrating sustainable residential design principles is the real reason I started using Second Life in the first place. Our Crescendo Design studio focused on sustainable residential design, and Second Life afforded an opportunity to help educate potential clients about the value and importance of green design principles, and how those strategies can be applied without sacrificing design integrity.

The Alley Flats installation has truly raised the bar for this application of Second Life.


Not only does it describe principles of sustainbility, but it served an integral role in educating students on a University level, and enabled members of the community to experience these designs on a more holistic level than even the most photorealistic illustration or cardboard study model could ever achieve. Given that this project depends on community approval and support, I think this virtual model could go a long way toward helping the general public understand just how well these homes will fit in and improve the fabric of this neighborhood. When you stand in this virtual build, you get a real sense of place, and can more fully appreciate the way these homes will compliment their context.

Plus, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear Sergio Palleroni say ‘yes, Wikitecture is exactly the future.’ Good call! =)

Complete slideshow from the presentation HERE.  This video was originally shared on by keystone1111 with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Wikitecture’s N-Tuple Brain Continues Work on the 3D Wiki
December 9, 2007, 1:21 am
Filed under: 3D wiki, open source architecture, wikitecture

Here is a transcript of Friday’s Wikitecture meeting on Friday (link), and here is a slideshow (link). The in-world 3D wiki portion of the open source architecture project is advancing nicely, as is the web forum. We have collaboratively assembled a significant amount of information and insight about the culture of Nepal, the regional vernacular, local materials, site realities and more.

Here is my conclusion:

“While we certainly hope this project results in a successful entry in the competition, it is important for us to remember that this is still just an experiment, and the technology will always be evolving.

But in the end, I think we have to ask ourselves – ‘What if this works?’ The fact of the matter is – if we can collectively prove that multiple designers can collaborate on 3D design within a wiki-like methodology, that reality holds the potential to completely revolutionize the industry.

When you amplify the scale of Wikitecture, it could change the entire way we look at city planning as well. The possibilities are truly limitless.

However, I would like to conclude with the following thought. The Wiki-tree technology is only a very small fraction of what Wikitecture really is all about. Just like Wikipedia – it is nothing without a strong community of contributors.

Likewise, as you read about the reality of the Open Architecture Challenge we are working on, you start to realize that this isn’t really about winning a competition either. These people need serious help, and I want to be a member of a team that has the best chance at helping these people.

As you’ve seen, the first batch of design concepts are truly innovative – and they are just the beginning.

Even if you aren’t an architect or a designer, everyone has a certain innate ability to understand space, and Second Life gives you the chance to express your ideas. I really hope you’ll consider working with us, reading up on what we’ve learned so far about the project, and seeing if you can contribute or strengthen what we have here so far. “

University of Texas Brings the Alley Flat Initiative to Second Life

The University of Texas and a community in East Austin recently announced an exciting collaboration in Second Life.  The Alley Flat Initiative <> is a real-world project that combines cutting-edge architectural designs, sustainable development technology and community development in East Austin. With the help of a UT graduate interdisciplinary communication class, this exciting collaboration will officially unveil specially designed three-dimensional representations of the architectural plans in the online virtual reality environment, Second Life.

Alley Flats are small structures of 850 square feet or less that home owners can build as a separate, secondary structure on their lot that can be accessed by alleys to the rear of the property. As communities in East Austin come under pressure because of rising property prices, alley flats can provide an extra source of income for East Austin homeowners that are affordable to build, cheap to maintain, and are sensitive to the environment and local communities.

The flats are designed by UT Architecture graduate students under the guiding hand of Professor of Architecture professor Sergio Palleroni <> , co-founder of the nationally recognized BaSiC Initiative <> . Professor Palleroni has worked closely with the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation to find two suitable sites on Lydia and East Second streets in East Austin.

The virtual presence of the project is designed to give local audiences a more realistic “feel” for the proposed real-world alley flats. Second Life users will be able to walk through the buildings, see how they blend in with other buildings in the area, and find out about the sustainable technologies and innovative building materials that are the basis of the designs.

The Second Life presence is a result of the work of a collaboration between Professor Palleroni’s team and the students of Professor Leslie Jarmon <> ’s “Communicating Across the Disciplines” <> graduate course. Students in that course worked with Professor Palleroni’s team and expert Second Life builders from the Educators Coop <> to bring to life this exciting virtual reality dimension of the Alley Flats Initiative. Everyone involved in the project is confident that the Second Life alley flats will be of interest to both local and global audiences interested in community development and sustainable architecture.

The site will be open to the public Friday, December 7th. I will update this post with a SLurl as soon as it is available.

For more information, contact: Sean McCarthy, 504 717 1912,> <

Related Sites:

Alley Flat Initiative: <> /

The BaSiC Initiative: <>

Second Life: <> /

Communicating Across the Disciplines:

Educators Coop: <> /

Here is a clip from Sergio Palleroni’s presentation on Autodesk Island:

Make it Right: The Pink Project Freebies
December 5, 2007, 3:40 am
Filed under: architecture island, brad pitt, make it right, makeitrightnola, pink project

The Architecture Islands of Second Life have seen no shortage of humanitarian aid projects this year!

First we built the Porchdog (machinima) for Cameron Sinclair’s Second Life appearance. Then, the Wikitecture group started work on a telemedical center for a poor village in Nepal, and now a new installation on Architecture Island (SLurl) is aimed at helping ‘The Pink Project‘ realize its goal of helping to rebuild New Orleans in the wake of devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, and becoming “an installation potent enough to focus immediate global attention onto a pervasive local issue.”

The ‘Make it Happen‘ website rocks, and the 3D interactive donation part of the site is awesome. But I must admit I was driven to distraction by thoughts of how incredible this project would have been if it were actually a place you could visit in Second Life, where you could literally live inside these houses, walk around the neighborhood, meet other members of the community, watch videos, hang out with Brad Pitt’s avatar, and so on. 😉

I can definitely respect the value of a web-based client that anyone can easily engage without a massive download, and with zero learning curve. Yet I still can’t help but notice how many times the word community is used on the site, and how much the success of this project depends on visualization, awareness and high levels of interactivity. They have an all-start lineup of contributing architects, including BNIM , Kieran Timberlake , Morphosis , Pugh + Scarpa , Adjaye Architects , Constructs , Graft, MVRDV , Shigeru Ban Architects . Wouldn’t it be great if visitors and donors from all around the world could hang out in the living rooms of these houses or walk the Lower 9th Ward from wherever in the world they happen to live?

The build’s value could easily extend far beyond the reach of the Make it Right project, living on as a continuous resource and demonstration tool of these innovative and ecologically responsible designs. Home Depot, their primary sponsor, could even enjoy the indirect opportunity to test the metaverse waters if they haven’t already. After all, Sears is already in pretty deep, and DIY Shopper looks promising.

My bias aside, what really engaged me was the visual potency of the Pink Project installation, and its potential for raising awareness and intrigue around this issue. By reducing the architectural massing of a home to its formal essence, then wrapping it in a single bold color, they have created a simple, yet very bold expression that extends to an urban scale. The concept depends on active community, thrives on collaboration, and walks the line between art, architecture, graphic design, theater and urban planning. In sum, this installation is absolutely ideal for a Second Life counterpart.

As a grassroots gesture in lieu of an official Second Life presence for The Pink Project, I temporarily covered parts of Architecture Island in pink canvas, and created a small neighborhood of the smaller pink houses as well. For what it’s worth, each of these houses are free for anyone to copy (set for sale at $0). You are encouraged to take as many as you want, copy them as much as you want, and give as many of them away as you can. All donations should be made directly through

Make it Right!

Gehry Inspired Build Opens Thursday, Dec. 6th at 5:30PM SL-time
December 4, 2007, 6:33 pm
Filed under: architecture island, ted mikulski, the tracer

submitted by ‘The Tracer’

“So I began to think about Gehry and his ideas of form and beauty as it pertains to space. The ideas behind his aesthetics are unmatched, but the functionality of his builds in RL are somewhat unsuccessful. Therefore, in no other place do Gehrys designs belong more, than in Second Life.

I first began to think about creating a Gehry Inspried design when I was looking for a challenge. Using geometries in Second Life to create an organic shape is not an easy task. So upon laying out the structure for the build, I decided to keep the general spaces of the building open for use, since I had no purpose for it yet.

The building indeed was a challenge, but I feel that it is a success. It is both imperfect in form, and staggering in scale. It is a pure expression of architectural exploration.

The opening for the build will be December 6th at 5:30 PM SLT. I will give a brief 5-10 minute presentation, then everyone can walk through the build.

The building will be available for purchase (and possibly auctioned off) shortly after the opening.”

A slideshow of screenshots is HERE.