Gallery of Reflexive Architecture

Visit the new site: The ARCH Network, to stay informed of the latest in virtual worlds and architecture!

To expand on the idea of ‘Reflexive Architecture‘ in virtual environments, I’ve been experimenting with several installations that explore it’s potential. This video is a composite of several machinima pieces each describing a different installation in the gallery, such as Rippling Prims, Prim Decay, Sudden Space, Restless Spheres, Carvable Prims, Visible Traces, Moving Tiles, Interactive Glass, and The Cacoon. Some include sound as an integral part of the experience, which is best experienced first-hand (SLurl … subject to change).

In physical reality, architecture is a static and relatively motionless artifact. The occupant plays a passive role, observing but rarely impacting its composition. Winston Churchill’s statement, ‘We shape our buildings and afterwards, our buildings shape us,’ illustrates this point well.

In a virtual environment, the architecture is capable of transcending the limitations of static buildings, and become as fluid and dynamic as the communities of people they hope to serve.

The concept of Reflexive Architecture is only one of many branches of opportunity for a new language of virtual architecture to emerge, free from the habit of pure physical replication.

Many of these installations are the result of conversations, brainstorming sessions with Theory Shaw, Far Link’s post on ‘Swarm Architecture,’ Dancoyote Antonelli’s work, posts by Kliger on Metaverse Territories, and intense scripting collaboration with Fumon Kubo. Thanks!!!

These installations will be on display in the new Gallery of Reflexive Architecture on the new Architecture sim (SLurl …subject to change), and will be exhibited on Info Island by the artslib group in the Library Gallery, opening later this month (more details on this will be posted soon).

UgoTrade’s Coverage of Virtual Architecture

UgoTrade  has been doing some interesting research and reporting on virtual architecture, including a new post today (link) including coverage of the reflexive architecture installation, the Cntrl-Shift-07 competition, Theory Shaw, the Wikitecture progress, as well as the important work Eolus McMillan and the EOLUS One Initiative they have been working on.

Reflexive Architecture Demo @ Dr. Dobbs Island

Tomorrow, July 24th at 8AM SL-Time (PDT) I’ll be giving a demo of the ‘Reflexive Architecture’ interactive installation I’ve been working on as an extension of the Architectural Jazz piece.

In real life, we typically experience architecture and music in a passive role. The composition remains unchanged while we listen or observe. However, in a virtual environment, we have a unique opportunity to make the architecture responsive, or reflexive. The buildings can ‘know’ that we’re there, and react to our presence perhaps even remembering that we’ve been there, leaving visual or audio traces of our existence long after we’ve left. I’ve rezzed an interactive demo installation near the amphitheater that will help describe this concept.

Location SLurl and event posting can be found HERE. Slideshow of the installation HERE.

Reflexive Architecture

Here is a brief machinima that hopefully describes the Architectural Jazz concept a bit more clearly. The idea is to make the inhabitant an active part of both the musical and architectural composition. In real life, when we listen to music, or occupy a space, we generally play a passive role. The composition remains largely unchanged when we listen or observe.

In a virtual environment, we have a unique opportunity to make the architecture responsive, or reflexive. The buildings can ‘know’ that we’re there, and react accordingly. They can even remember that we’ve been there, leaving visual or audio traces of our existence after we’ve left.

It isn’t that these ideas are impossible in real life (example), but its a lot easier and far less expensive to prototype and experiment in virtual reality. Plus, opportunities for true collaboration are more readily available. Realizing this installation, for example, required collaboration and general brainstorming with several others, including Theory Shaw, Ordinal Malaprop and Fumon Kubo.

This installation is only a small step toward a much greater realm of possibilities available to us in Second Life, and hopefully part of a broader collaboration-based, cross-disciplinary movement toward a new language of virtual architecture.

And YES, thanks for asking, but I have been made aware of the similarities between my installation and this =) :

Architectural Jazz, by Keystone Bouchard

(This is Keystone Bouchard’s essay submission to the Ctrl-Shift-07 competition on Lebenswelt Island – screenshots also by Keystone.  Slideshow HERE.)

The cannon blast launching this competition triggered an architectural jam session!

The ‘real-time evolution’ called for by the competition brief started with a few entrants immediately rezzing elements that responded to the existing context, leading to more complex responses over time.

In the first few weeks of discovery and evolution, the dialogue between competitors seemed to be the most pervasive. I decided to document this phenomenon by charting avatar movement, architectural responses, and the informal discussions that were happening at the site. With this data, I wrote a piano score loosely based on these observations. Considering the brief’s call for ‘overlap between the real and virtual worlds’, I recorded video of the subtle key movement on my real life piano and optimized it to play in Second Life.

After inserting this video as part of my composition, I observed the response, feedback and reaction to the installation. It became clear there was an opportunity to create an even more direct, real-time relationship between avatar movement and the musical composition. Instead of relying exclusively on abstracted avatar movement, I collaborated with a scripter who wrote a code enabling a sound to be played and the key to change color and size upon detecting avatar presence. I then recorded three chords that were in harmony with the original score, and when combined with the script, enabled avatars to actively participate in the creation of the music and the architectural composition, establishing a more immersive mind-avatar connection.

While my entry shifted shape over the course of the competition, starting off as a hyper-responsive and eclectic composition, it has evolved into a considerably refined piece, consistently relying on a steady stream of direct and indirect communication and collaborations with other contributors. Throughout the island’s evolution, it became clear that a new language of virtual architecture seems to necessitate a collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach, where no single contributor can be isolated as exclusively responsible for the final composition.

It has been my stated desire from the first day of this competition to enable this emergence and dialogue to continue by maintaining Lebenswelt Island as a testing grounds and incubator for an ongoing, dynamic, and collaborative effort to derive a new language of virtual architecture in tune with the stated objectives of this competition. Given the time and a proper catalyst, truly profound concepts can emerge from this collaborative process, and I would like to see this dialogue continue indefinitely.


Autodesk Presentation Transcript

Thanks again to everyone who joined in the presentation and discussion this morning on Autodesk Island. You can find the transcript HERE.

Upcoming Architectural Events in Second Life

May 15, 10AM PST Sergio Palleroni in conversation with Phil Bernstein: Green Design as Civic Engagement
One of the challenges of green design is the need for widespread adoption if it is to make a significant impact on the future health of our planet. In this process of adoption designers play a central role, not just through their designs but by redefining their role to clients, society, and the built environment. For over 20 years the BASIC Initiative has worked to educate students of architecture to engage this challenge and consider it as an opportunity to re-imagine and empower design as a force for change.

Sergio’s presentation will explore this challenge to redefine the role of architecture as an agent for change through three projects of the BASIC Initiative. In this work the responsibility of architects to create spaces of aesthetic value is challenged by environmental, economic concerns as students and faculty tackle issues of poverty and environmental degradation faced by the globes poorest citizens. In the work presented collaboration among designers and with the client and community, and at times other disciplines, creates solutions and new possibilities for design which help advance the idea that design has the potential to reformulate the conditions and paradigms of our societies. Attend this event on Autodesk Island HERE (SLurl).



May 29, 10AM PST- Keystone Brouchard: Using Second Life as part of your Architectural Practice
Keystone Bouchard will be doing a demonstration showing several ways in which professionals can use Second Life as a tool to support their practice. The strategies demonstrated will range from the most basic low-cost installations to more comprehensive long-range opportunities. The following topics will be covered:

  • How to import and display portfolio images to display in Second Life
  • How and where to buy or rent virtual land
  • Do’s and don’ts of bringing clients into Second Life
  • Receive landmarks to places you can learn to build, script and meet others

Attend this event on Autodesk Island HERE (SLurl).


June 14, 10AM PST Chris Luebkeman : Future Challenges: Global Creative Contexts
Population shifts, increasing scarcity, and the wanton consumption of arable land and natural (renewable and nonrenewable) resources amount to what could prove to be a significant global dilemma – a dilemma of disastrous proportion. Yet trends in design and an ever-increasing focus on conservation and environmental issues suggest that we are headed for a collective change. This program considers the impact of global drivers of change on sustainable creative contexts, explores potential implications, and provides attendees with examples of design work that is already responding to the challenges.

Attend this event on Autodesk Island HERE (SLurl).