I found this old article I wrote at the time of SecondLife. I publish it today 06/13/2013 for archive function.
As an architect, I find the possibility of thinking about architecture in the metaverses very fascinating. What is impressive is the infinite freedom of design there is in SecondLife and this is why I’m quite disappointed with the ways currently used to represent architecture.
If architecture can be defined as a discipline, whose aim is to design space in which human beings live, then the same definition can also be applied into SL, substituting “human being” with “avatar”.
Vitruvio, a 46-30 BC writer of treatises, ascribed architecture three factors:
Lets think of these factors in relation to virtual architecture. In SL Architecture, one of these factors is superfluous, and not only that but venustas masks one of these factors with a structural issue firmitas.
In a world without gravity (or low gravity) and without dangers of instability, I don’t regard everything relating to the structural paradigm very interesting.
Probably, if Vitruvio, or other writers of treatises, had known about SecondLife, he would have shown us that it’s not essential to use solids to make beams and pillars appear. In fact, beams and pillars in SecondLife are only part of an aesthetic issue, of decoration.
Architecture in SecondLife should go beyond these formal limitations and in so doing, un-tap its own virtual energy.
Some projects could deal with moving architecture: buildings that float in space and move like clock hands, more like a machine than a block of concrete or brick, with buildings that fly like planes and with walls of light.
The architecture of SecondLife must free itself from the burden of Real Life because the factors characterizing SecondLife are very different. Architecture that can be taken back to Real Life, I would define as “Spontaneous Architecture”, derived from our “terrestrial anthropocentrism”.
While the few examples of projects that exist in SL would crash if you transported them into Real Life due to firmitas, which is superfluous in the metaverse, they are nevertheless the start of a thought process, which has already understood the de-materialization of the terrestrial universe and which projects itself into the near future of a de-materialized life with new rules.
Contributed to The Arch by avatar turboy Runo. Translated from http://www.secondlifelab.it by DG Johin