Here is a brief video showing some of the amazing work currently under development at the University of Auckland’s Putahi sim (SLurl) in Second Life, led by Professor Judy Cockeram.
The University continues to leverage their virtual ‘Living Sketchbooks’ (covered previously HERE), but this time there are over 115 first year students exploring the virtual space, and it continues to evolve each day. After visiting the site several times since construction started, I can confidently say that it does, in fact, feel as though the place is alive.
Instead of pinning up sketches on a wall, students are exploring design concepts in an immersive virtual environment, where they work amidst the growing virtual community that has grown to hundreds of thousands of users strong, along with a rapidly growing number of architecture schools that are actively exploring virtual worlds in education.
I asked Judy to describe the current project.
“They are currently in their first semester doing an Architecture media course, ARCHDRC102 which includes paper based drawing/collage etc for the first 6 weeks then in the second six weeks we are considering technology –the aim is to get them working in a creative way – they come with strong drawing and modeling skills that enable them to design in an unimpeded way and we are using Second Life to put the focus on design rather than the interface of a ‘big’ cad package,” Judy explains.
The work currently seen on the sim is only development work, and the actual assignment is yet to come.
“They each have three architecture journals they are researching and have to build a shrine to research – so they will have literal links to websites etc but also have a built form that is an abstraction of the information they have found – 100 prims being the limit and how they place the work ( a touch of urban design) being this weeks concern- the hand in date for that will be 23 24 25 of June.”
This is building on the work that 8 other students in the University’s “ARCHDES300 Design” course, which happens during the first semester of the third year of the Bachelor Degree.
“One more design after this for them and they will have a BAS bachelor of Architectural studies and then they go on to do a Masters(prof). After the work of the first six weeks with NPC (Non Profit Commons) they are now developing their own brief and investigation –they are expected to be able to research and develop a project of a high academic and architecture value.”
Judy allows them to bring their own interests to the project,
“I usually end up with very different work – the commonality being the medium and architectural attitudes based in ideas of professionalism and culture connected to values we share toward people, places, ideas and …. the stuff of architecture. It is a very long list, but in allowing students to shoot off in their own direction it becomes clear to them and us what the success and failures are and we acknowledge it all – as long as it is presented in an architectural manner.”
Stay tuned for more information and an invite to their final presentations!