The ARCH


Virtual Worlds and the Built Environment – White Paper published by Daden Limited

Check out this article HERE.

Daden Limited‘s new white paper, ‘Virtual Worlds and the Built Environment’ (download here) provides an insightful overview of several Second Life case studies relating to architecture, engineering and construction industry projects, along with descriptions of  what make virtual worlds a useful tool for AEC industry projects.
“Whilst the hype (and marketing interest) around virtualworlds has faded, the technology is increasingly being used in areas such as training & education,collaboration and data visualisation. This paper explores the on-going use, and future opportunity, of virtual worlds to help model the built environment, and as a result to use the virtual world to build a better physical world.”
A few points of interest include their overview of differences between SL and traditional AEC tools:
There are a number of key differences here in comparison to more traditional Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) visualisation tools.
Principally that:
  • The user is embodied in the world as an avatar, rather than having just a “camera” view
  • The avatar/user can go where they like, and interact with the build
  • The environment is multi-user, so users  can interact with other users
  • The environment is rendered in real-time, so although visual quality may not be as high, the environment can be far more dynamic and flexible, and renders instantly rather than needing an over-night render-farm.

I also appreciate their list of advantages of using virtual worlds in AEC fields:

The advantages of virtual worlds such as Second Life include:

• The ability to make changes instantly, in-world

• The ability to support multiple users in the same space – typically 50-100 (but of course you can always clone spaces)

• The ability to make things interactive – even linking computers to real computer applications, and signs to real signage systems

• The ability to not only integrate building environmental and performance data, but also to visualise it in new and effective ways

• The ability for users to peel-back layers of a building to see structural and service components

• The ability for users to annotate the space, feeding back comments which can be automatically collated

• The ability to track users through the building, and their interactions with its systems

• The ability to let users choose between configurations and vote on them

• The ability to support “live use” of the building, eg for entertainment or training

• The ability to clone the building to create multiple copies to explore what-ifs

• The ability to use the same platform to support virtual meetings, conferences, training, collaboration etc

• Dynamic rendering which enables the instant changes and multi-user deployment

Extranet Evolution has a great write-up (link) about this paper as well.   Consequently, Paul Wilkinson’s twitter feed is also a must-follow resource for anyone interested in construction collaboration technologies (and more!) – follow him @EEPaul

This site has moved to

www.archvirtual.com

Check out this article HERE.

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Special issue of ITcon dedicated to the use of virtual world technology in architecture, engineering and construction

This site has moved to archvirtual.com Find this article here: http://archvirtual.com/?p=3275

If there was ever any doubt that virtual worlds have a place in architectural practice and education, this month’s special issue of  ITcon presents a staggering amount of content that is sure to help promote the use of virtual worlds and game engines within AEC industries and beyond.

The Journal of Information Technology in Construction (ITcon) is a peer-reviewed scholarly publication recently published a special issue dedicated to the use of virtual world technology in architecture, civil engineering and facility management.

“Virtual worlds, which are similar to the computer games with which they share technology, take their participants called residents to new places beyond the physical and geographic limitations of the real world.  Residents become producers of content in the virtual world, designing and  developing the environment around their own interests. This  virtual world technology can  offer significant benefits  for AEC disciplines from 3D walkthroughs, interactive visualization, through virtual collaboration, design and planning to education, and training. The special issue is aimed to provide insights into the use of virtual world technology in AEC and includes seven papers with authors representing institutions in Australia, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, UK, and the USA.”

The papers are all free to review, published with open access distributed under creative commons license, so be sure to check out this incredible resource.

Here are a few snippets taken from their summaries – just to provide a sampling of what you can expect to find in this issue:

“This paper investigates the innovative use of emerging multiuser virtual world technologies for supporting human-human collaboration and human-computer co-creativity in design.” (link)

“This  paper presents  the concept of  Building  interactive  Modeling (BiM) which complements the capabilities of BIM with social interaction to enhance collaborative information and knowledge sharing. Role-playing scenarios developed in Second Life demonstrate specific opportunities of BiM.” (link)

“…study of design collaboration in the CyberGRID (Cyber-enabled Global Research Infrastructure for Design), a virtual collaborative space developed in Second Life to support design work in global virtual networks. (link)

“This paper will bring evidence to bear that suggests the value in using Virtual Environments (VE’s) is in their potential to facilitate collaboration …  scrutinize design and construction in the VE Second Life.”  (link)

“The paper presents potential utilization of Second Life© (SL) in enhancing learning/training construction project management.”  (link)

“The research potential of Second Life in construction: the whole life cycle costing example.” (link)

This site has moved to

www.archvirtual.com



3D Model Interoperability in Second Life

We really, really need your help on this one!  I am confident that if the readers of this blog collectively vote as a unified voice to push 3D Model Interoperability as a priority item for Linden Lab, we will be heard.  You all know that Importing and exporting models is currently the biggest bottleneck preventing architects and designers from using Second Life as a tool in professional practice, and Linden Lab’s public Jira system is the perfect way for us to make it clear that this is a must have feature.

So, please, please, please take a minute and log in to Jira and vote on the following issue: http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/SVC-2634

To vote, go to the left margin on that website and click on ‘Voting:’
You will have to Login first.  That’s it.

Spread the word!  Post this on your own blog, and link to this page!  Let’s do whatever it takes to raise the priority level on this!  If you have any other ideas about how we can move this forward, feel free to leave comments!

Thanks to Theory Shaw for continuing to promote this!



Architect Magazine Features Second Life in Fall Product Spec Guide
November 12, 2007, 7:50 pm
Filed under: architect, architectural resources

It doesn’t appear to be published in an online edition yet, but will likely show up HERE when the time comes (the Spring edition is currently live).



Rationalist Virtual Architecture, Giuseppe Terragni Inspires

Transcript of Gioacchino Laryukov’s presentation is below.  Transcript of the entire discussion can be found HERE.

“Giuseppe Terragni (1904-43) was an Italian architect who worked in the ’30’s during a period when others such as Sartoris, Cattaneo, Figini, Lingeri, Pollini were active; an era known as rationalism.  His best known works can be found in the city of Como, where he lived and worked during his brief life. You can find a listing of rationalist buildings in Como here: http://www.ordinearchitetticomo.it/itinerari.asp   The main works are: Edificio ad appartamenti Novocomum (1927-29), Casa del Fascio di Como (1928-32), Monumento ai caduti (on a Sant’Elia drawing, 1931-33), Asilo infantile Sant’Elia (1935-37)” all of this in Como; and Casa ad appartamenti Rustici (1933-35) and Lavezzari (1934-35) in Milan.

Looking at his buildings, you can identify some aesthetic analogies with the house I have built here.  I have choosen to use some of same style characteristics (like the white walls) and materials (like the glass blocks) to emphasize the reference to 1930’s architecture and in particular, the Modern Movement.  My reference to Terragni’s architecture is not so much about the appearance, but rather, the manner in which the building is constructed and the way you move through it. The appearance is the result of the process.  I will try to explain further:

Buildings in SL start with the prim…  its finished volume. A prim could be in and of itself a house.  Only you must create the internal space by emptying it.  What I mean is that a room  is not a space limited by four walls, a floor and a roof, but rather it is the internal space of a volume, therefore of a prim.  We can also say that the walls, roof and so on, are not single elements, but are parts of that volume.  You can better understand what I intended by looking at the ground floor of my house.  There is a cube or rectangular box that is an emptied prim and is therefore a room. The rest is only virtual and open space defined by the grate.  I want to highlight that the single elements cannot really enclose the space on their own, they don’t create a room, instead the interior of the volume can do it, likewise when two sides are opened.

The construction of the architecture is a work on volumes, and the space between those volumes.  Working with some architects on the lineage of Terragni, you will often hear the term “equilibrio fra pieni e vuoti,† which is to say “balance between fullness and empty†.  If you look at this house you can see three main volumes:  two big cubes (10x10x10mt) to the sides, and a central cuboid that is a 10x7x5mt which is transparent at the side opposite of the stairs.  Looking at the side where the stairs are located, you can see the building as a unique volume, a cube that measures 30x10mt that has been hollowed and cut to obtain the space needed.  The central volume has beed reduced to create a place for the stairs, but also this is the first step towards the development of the project.  I built this house working on these three volumes, not on the single walls themsleves but based on the relationship between these three elements.  I have rezzed the main prims and moved them near each other.  The shape, size and character of the main prims then become the foundation for the modification of another prim…. and so on, until a situation develops which I consider to be balanced.  In this way, the side of the central cube, which is only 7mt, is used to create the place for the stairs, and this has determined the second level and the upper windows of the main cube.  In this manner, the cube has become the structure for the internal development of the main cube.   This is more evident in the other 10x10x10mt cube, which was hollowed and cut to the level of the roof of the cuboid.  Also, it was divided in two different spaces by the measurements of the cuboid and this is visible in the external walls by the glass blocks.

The central message here is that the building develops based on the relationship between simple prims in a succession of steps, in which a prim dictates how you will modify the next and that one will impact the next…. and so on… Going back to Terragni:  it is clear – especially in the Novocomum and in the Casa del Fascio – that his projects are, above all, a play on volumes.  The Novocomum is a simple cube and the edges have been first hollowed and then that space has been occupied by cylinders.  These cylinders become the foundation for the continous taper of the first floor and for the development of the balconies. The single elements like walls, balconies, roof are the volume’s children.  More complex is the construction of the Casa del Fascio which is a perfect half cube (33x33x26mt). it has been partially hollowed and in this way you have other volumes, new relationships and new spaces which become the seeds for others to be developed in a succession of filling up, emptying, and cutting in spaces which are then born and take form.

The exterior appearance is the mirror; the result of the work on the volumes.  This is rightfully called rationalism because all the parts of the building have a precise connection with the other parts, and all the parts of the building are elements of the procedure from which the building emanates.  that’s alll what I would like to say..



Architecture CAD Model Importing Now Possible!
July 26, 2007, 5:31 am
Filed under: architect, architectural resources, architecture, virtual architecture

….will be a headline on this blog someday. We’re not there (yet), but now that I have your attention, I have a favor to ask.

For the time being, let’s not focus on what we can’t do in Second Life, and take a look at what we can do there that we can’t as easily or as affordably do anywhere else. It isn’t that each of these points can’t already be done elsewhere, but now they can all be done in the same place, at the same time, for free…

  • We can meet with other architects, designers and collaborators from all around the world
  • When we meet, we can talk to each other – either in 3D proximity-based voice, or in chat.
  • We gain value and insight during meetings by being able to observe fashion signals, body language, and spatial clustering (thanks Trevor!)
  • We can psychologically ‘prime’ the 3D context of our meetings with appropriate visual and informative cues, increasing effectiveness and productivity (discuss modernism sitting inside the Farnsworth House).
  • We can watch live streaming content from architecture and design conferences worldwide.
  • We can attend (free) presentations by world renowned architects, discussing important issues and opportunities facing architects today.
  • We can use the building tools to quickly mock up (in real time) 3D studies to help more effectively describe our ideas.
  • We can allow others to modify what we’ve created, so they can add or contribute their ideas – see Wikitecture.
  • We can quickly and affordably build mockups of design ideas, and invite the public to tour the concept – testing their reaction, hearing their input, and improving – at a cost far less than the same experiment would cost in real life.
  • We can teach architecture.  See Tab Scott’s work.
  • We can share design concepts with our peers, gaining a diverse range of feedback from surprising and qualified sources worldwide.
  • We can do all of this for FREE!

There are many more advantages, too many to cover here, but you get the main idea. In the end, it all comes down to community and collaboration.

Rez Menoptra and I exchanged some comments on a post he wrote on PrimDig last week, and I’m starting to understand what I think is at the core of Rez’s point about architects being more open with their work in Second Life. The really big deal in SL is the community. Without the community, SL would be nothing. So, the more architects we can get to adopt, the more great conversations we can have, the more collaborative building we can do, the faster the platform will evolve. To Rez’s point, this is one of the worst things an architect can do is hide their work on a private sim. I respect the need for privacy in real-life projects, and argue in support of that right, but I think those architects do truly hurt themselves by hiding in isolation if they’re not participating in the community. They’re missing out on the real reason Second Life is a special place for architects. If all you’re going to do is build projects to show clients your project in isolation, there are better applications for that purpose. You’re wasting your time in Second Life.

I think every architect in Second Life needs an elevator pitch. If you catch a newbie architect flying around, how quickly can you get them past ‘can I import my models?’ Invariably, the visitors you can truly engage, and prove to them that SL is more than just a place to import your models, they come back – again and again.

Sure, there are limitations in Second Life. But there is absolutely no question about it – the benefits far outweigh the challenges.



More Land on Architecture Island Finally Available!

 

The Architecture Island annex is almost complete, and rental land will be available within the next few days!  Over half of it is already spoken for, but we still have a large 1/4 island lots available, as well as a handful of smaller 8,000 sqm parcels, and some 4,000 sqm parcels.

If you aren’t ready for a parcel of land to build on, but still want to be in on the action, check out the new arcspace build.  For a modest monthly fee you get a 2 story flat, adjacent to the most exciting new architectural venues around.  I’ve got my apartment picked out and customized, and have really enjoyed hanging out there during the past few days.  Check out my last post for details on how to join.

If you’re also ready for a parcel of land to start building on, and your and work involves architecture as a central theme please IM Keystone Bouchard for more info about renting on Architecture Island.