Virtual architecture trumping physical counterparts [updated]

We’re no longer talking just about augmenting physical reality.  Many virtual spaces are effectively replacing the use of entire physical buildings and spaces they would otherwise occupy.  Not only that, but they are performing better and saving companies big money.

“IBM Saves $320,000 With Second Life Meeting,” reads this VWN post, referring to a recent case study released by Linden Lab and IBM (pdf available here).

Rivers Run Red saved a client over $1 million dollars with a presence in Second Life using their Immersive Workspaces (TM) solution (in the comments of this post).

This is just the beginning.

Does the design of the virtual environment matter?  Does it play a role in the effectiveness of the function?  Will some virtual buildings perform better than others?   Will those virtual buildings need to have a relationship with their physical counterparts?   Does any of IBM’s virtual campus relate to their physical buildings?  Does it matter?  If there is a connection, what will it be like?  Will designers start to juxtapose virtual and physical space the way modern and historical are often played off of each other?

[updated: another post on VWN re: the TPMA holding a conference in Second Life – “Combined with the lack of hotel costs, flights, and other expenses, Gronstedt says it was easily a savings of over $200,000. There’s also a significant savings in time.” ]

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