Here we have Lebbeus Woods, who “continues to work at a small drafting table in a corner of his apartment here, a solitary, monklike figure churning out increasingly abstract architectural fantasies…”

Would someone please get this man a Second Life account?

He even has a show running at MoMA called ‘Dreamland’  (not to be confused with Anshe Chung’s virtual ‘Dreamland‘ empire in Second Life).

If ever there was an architect who’s work would benefit from virtual immersion, it is Lebbeus Woods.  His sketches are brilliant, and will always hold an important post in architectural expression, but they are just so many static portals into his imagination.  Wouldn’t it be better if the rest of the world could walk inside  living, breathing, holistic creations in a virtual environment instead of traveling to MoMA to see sketches?

We have seen several projects within Second Life that have this kind of ‘shake-up’ potential to challenge the status quo, and even some outward facing projects that challenge real life architectural norms.  But they’re still essentially off the industry radar, with very little uptake in mainstream discussion or education.  There is no doubt in my mind that native architectural talent already immersed in Second Life has the skill and wherewithal to achieve such great heights, but how and when will their work be counted amongst the industry’s FIC?  Will it ever be?  Should it be?

In my humble opinion, the vast, amorphous, virtual fabric of the Second Life grid itself is already worthy of inclusion and consideration as one of the most significant architectural achievements of our time.  The profound, the abstract, the literal, the silly, the corporate, the preposterous, the serious…the whole thing, every prim of it, ought to be considered a magnificent architectural manifestation on par with even the most recognized theoretical inventions.  To be sure, Second Life is the greatest singular manifestation of free, creative architectural expression the world has ever seen. Yet it remains all but ignored by our profession.

When will architectural giants of theory see the low hanging fruit of virtual environments as a tool for enabling people from around the world to more fully experience their ideas in an immersive and holistic fashion than sketches and illustrations offer?  Will they ever?  Or will it have to be born from within?  It seems increasingly clear to me that the architectural greats of tomorrow’s serious theory might not come from hallowed halls, but from avatars, and communities of avatars operating in virtual environments- not starchitects or solitary monklike figures.

Here are some other ‘food-for-thought’ quotes from this article about Lebbeus that I find very applicable to our collective work on the virtual frontier of architecture industry.

“During the 1960s firms like Superstudio in Florence, Italy, and Archigram in London were designing urban visions intended to shake up the status quo. These projects – walking, mechanized cities and mirrored megastructures that extended over mountain ranges and across deserts – were stinging attacks on a professional mainstream that avant-garde architects believed lacked imaginative energy.”

“By abandoning fantasy for the more pragmatic aspects of building, the profession has lost some of its capacity for self-criticism, not to mention one of its most valuable imaginative tools.”

And finally, a quote directly from Woods, “what interests me is what the world would be like if we were free of conventional limits. Maybe I can show what could happen if we lived by a different set of rules.”

Welcome to Second Life, Mr. Woods!

Quotes from “Lebbeus Woods: An architect who still explores the fringes of reality” in the International Herald Tribune.  Full article HERE.

Images from ‘Architecture My Ninja Please” post HERELebbeus Woods on Wikipedia.

Still on the Stump

Be sure to check out this month’s issue of Business Week’s ‘SmallBiz’ publication, for it’s cover story, “First Stop: Second Life,” which explores how several small business (including Crescendo Design!) are using Second Life to prototype real life designs.  I was told there will soon be an online slideshow to complement the print article, but I haven’t seen it live yet:

Also, tune in to last Sunday’s episode of Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe, to hear more of Keystone evangelizing Second Life as a platform for architectural collaboration and design.  I had a blast on the set with these folks – incredibly professional, and highly entertaining!

Review of Fallingwater Replica in Second Life

Thanks to Lotja Loon for sending her review of the replication of Fallingwater, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr. by Ethos Erlanger and his and his partners Lox Salomon and Ty Jaehun.

Screenshot by Derek Hotger,

Prototyping a Real World Urban Development in Second Life

In June, when I was on a panel discussion with Eric Gordon, during Linden Lab’s birthday celebration, I was very inspired and impressed with his work – especially given my own interest in the use of virtual worlds for collaboration.  Now they are taking on a new project that I expect will raise the bar for using Second Life to prototype real-life urban environments. 

“Residents engage in a process that employs 3D virtual tools and problem-solving techniques to articulate a common vision reflecting the participants’ values. Goals of Hub2 include strengthening civic engagement with public spaces, involving population segments traditionally left out of development planning, and providing a constructive and productive community input process for public design.”

Learn more about the project HERE, and read the full story where I read about this project on the terrific blog, ‘The Click Heard Round the World” blog HERE.

Caleb Booker calls for wider adoption of virtual worlds by architects
August 13, 2008, 4:14 pm
Filed under: rl architecture | Tags: , ,

In a recent post, Caleb Booker suggests:

“Wider adoption by architects is long overdue. Initial experiments in fast prototyping of architectural designs, and of bringing clients on very early tours, is very promising.”

Obviously, we couldn’t agree more.  Read the full story HERE.

The Renaissance of Geographic Information: Neogeography, Gaming and Second Life: Newly Published UCL Working Paper Available for Free Download

I haven’t had a chance to review this yet, but wanted to pass along right away a link to Digital Urban’s post announcing their newest in their series of UCL Working Papers available HERE.

“The world of Geographic Information (GI) Science has changed. It has experienced expeditious growth over the last few years leading to fundamental changes to the field. Web 2.0, specifically The Cloud, GeoWeb and Wikitecture are revolutionising the way in which we present, share and analyse geographic data.”

Their work is always very thorough and engaging, I’m sure this one will be no exception!

LiDAR Generated Sculpties

YouTube video.

Darb Dabney is a veritable whirlwind of energy when it comes to mirroring Berkeley, California in a virtual environment.  If avatars ever walk the streets of virtual Berkeley, there will be a gleeful Darb showing it off and giving tours!  I am increasingly confident that it won’t be long before he achieves this dream.  His most recent effort is a 40-region build in OpenSim using nothing but LiDAR surface sculpties, as shown in the video above, and described on his blog HERE.

“Wow it has been a lot of effort to get the 40 regions built out with their LiDAR surface sculpties….   My priority is to create good graphics for large-format display, but I’ve posted a rush of the first end-to end plod by the Ruth named “UC08 Visitor2″.”

Darb may very well be leading the way to a feasible method of achieving mirror world renditions of physical environments inside virtual space.  This would surely be a game changing opportunity, to say the least.