The ARCH


Dispatches from Egypt: David Denton, AIA
April 29, 2009, 5:12 pm
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David Denton, AIA – an architect from Marina Del Rey, California has been spending the past several weeks working on a project in Egypt.  He has found virtual world modeling to be far more effective than traditional CAD or BIM applications in sharing ideas with the client, and promises to share some of his observatins and experiences with us in future posts.  For the time being, I have included a series of screenshots showing some of his early progress on this exciting project.

To see some of David’s purely virtual design exploration, visit his LOCUS sim – more information and a landmark can be found HERE.

Cross posted from the ARCH Network.

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The Architecture of Virtual Education

Here is a video of the presentation I gave last weekend at the VWBPE convention , posted by tree.tv, in both a streaming format and high-def download, available here:

http://www.treet.tv/shows/bpe/bpe2009_varchitecture_27mar09/ Other presentations captured by Tree.tv can be seen here: http://treet.tv/shows/bpe2009

Here is a brief outline of what I covered:

  • Comparisons of virtual and real architecture
    • Main ideas
      • Virtual architecture is less rigid, and far more flexible than physical architecture
      • Second Life is a ‘user-generated’ environment, and places that are built exclusively by professional content creators that do not engage the end-users in the creation process are often the most dull and lifeless places in all of SL – no matter how perfectly built or well designed they might be.
      • Virtual campus spaces should engage as many individuals – faculty, students, community members – as possible – not just one person who goes off to build everything… that’s just as bad or worse than hiring a content developer to build everything for you.
      • Architecture should be driven by the end-use, in an ongoing and constantly evolving design process that doesn’t have an arbitrary ‘end’.  Virtual architecture doesn’t have to shape us…we can and should keep shaping it.
      • People building virtual education spaces are building the foundation for their school’s future virtual endeavors, and have an opportunity to re-think what education means in a virtual environment – not just importing the way we do things in real life.
  • Best practices in developing virtual architecture – framework for approaching projects, borrowing and re-mixing some elements from the AIA’s Handbook for Professional Practice
    • Predesign
      • Gathering resources, use-cases, program development, construction schedule, context analysis, project budget, architectural style, replica vs. virtual, precedent studies
    • Schematic Design
      • Blocking diagrams, wayfinding, feedback, etc.
    • Construction
      • groups, permissions, building teams, etc.
  • Case Study: ‘Re-Inventing the Virtual Classroom’ with the University of Alabama
    • Wikitecture overview
      • Process
      • methodology
    • Description of the process
    • Brief and analysis of the end result
    • Concluding thoughts
      • Can students, faculty and community members design their own physical-world spaces in the future?  Can physical architecture be as dynamic and participatory as virtual architecture?

Many thanks for Gianna Borgnine for moderating, and to everyone who helped organize this conference.  Also, thanks to La Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE) for sponsoring this presentation.



More from the AIA about virtual worlds

Last week, I wrote about MellaniuM’s use of the Unreal engine in architectural visualization.  Yesterday, the American Insitute of Architect’s newsletter AIArchitect covers another story about virtual worlds, this time about HKS‘s decision to license the most recent release of the same engine – Unreal Engine 3, by Epic Games Inc.  Read the whole story here: http://info.aia.org/aiarchitect/thisweek09/0306/0306p_hks.cfm

It seems we have 2 vectors emerging.  On the one hand we have a kind of grassroots utilization of free virtual world platforms like Second Life and opensim that are leading with affordances for user-generated-content (UGC).  On the other end of the spectrum, we have high-end platforms like  HKS’s ARCHengine that are off the charts in expense and complexity.  What both vectors share in common is a ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) approach to design visualization.   Imagine it, architects spending 6 or7 digit figures to license a video game engine…

Speaking of DIY and UGC, I’ve been wondering lately…  Is Second Life to architecture what blogs are to publishing?



“Architecture” in Second Life Covered in AIArchitect

The AIArchitect online resource for members of the American Institute of Architects recently published an excellent story about architecture in Second Life (read it here).

In it, they talk about the work of Guillermo Vasquez de Velasco, Assoc. AIA, who is the dean of Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning.  They also mention the work of my good friend Terry Beaubois, AIA, professor at Montana State University’s Creative Research Lab – (aka Tab Scott in SL) covered previously on The Arch here.  

They also covered the work of another friend and colleague – Bonnie Staiger, Hon. AIA (Dakota Dreamscape in SL) who is the exectutive director of the AIA North Dakota chapter – which recently sponsored an architecture design competition (previously posted here).

Is there anything we can do to reach out to newbie architects and designers who want to start exploring SL?  I know there has been a lot of new activity on Architecture Islands, and IM’s from new architects/designers who want to learn more is at an all time high.  It *almost* feels like the good ‘ole days of 2007. 😉   Is this the resurgence, or re-affirmation we’ve been waiting for?

It certainly seems like quit a few architecture and design professionals have been able to look past the (temporary) inconvenient truth of 3D model ‘un’interoperability – but that bottleneck won’t last long, I hope!



AIA (American Institute of Architects) Chapter Endorses Second Life Design Competition

From Dakota Dreamscape:

Welcome to the Dakota Skies Cultural Center ~~Chaplet Design Competition

Theme: A Spiritual Respite

Chaplet Exhibition:
Will open approximately  15 December 2008 and run thru 15 January 2009 on the grounds of the Dakota Skies Cultural Center

  • The number of entries chosen for the Chaplet Exhibition will depend on the total entries and the overall quality of submissions
  • Winning entries will go on permanent display at DSCC (Region: Dakota Ranch)

Prize Awards
Depending on the number of winning entries, Merit Awards will be given at $1000L and one Honor Award will be given at $5000L.

Deadline to Enter:
15 November 2008

  • Submit by dropping 1 (complete) Entry/object into inventory of Dakota Dreamscape

Prim Limit:
75 prims. Scripts must be pre-approved

Size limit:
No greater than    X: 6m   Y: 9m  Z: 5m

  • shape is optional provided it is within overall size limits
  • must be large enough for 1-2 normal size avatars to easily walk around inside

Submissions must:

  • be submitted in one unit which will rez complete when set on ground. No additional assembly
  • allow full permissions
  • must have at least 2 places to sit
  • must allow a place for a piece of art created by Chapl Paisley. She will place a piece of art or sculpture appropriate for each winning entry.

Embargo:
Submitters agree that no copy or version of submission ( from the design and building process ) will appear in any other venue or public place through the end of the exhibition.   Embargo Release: 20 January 2009

Jurors:

  • Dakota Dreamscape
  • Chapl Paisley
  • Jurors reserve the right to reject any entries not reflecting the theme or out-of-compliance with any of the criteria expressed or implied.

Endorsement:

This Design Competition is endorsed by AIA North Dakota (American Institute of Architects North Dakota Chapter)