Architecture CAD Model Importing Now Possible!

….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.

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