The Architecture Islands of Second Life have seen no shortage of humanitarian aid projects this year!
First we built the Porchdog (machinima) for Cameron Sinclair’s Second Life appearance. Then, the Wikitecture group started work on a telemedical center for a poor village in Nepal, and now a new installation on Architecture Island (SLurl) is aimed at helping ‘The Pink Project‘ realize its goal of helping to rebuild New Orleans in the wake of devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, and becoming “an installation potent enough to focus immediate global attention onto a pervasive local issue.”
The ‘Make it Happen‘ website rocks, and the 3D interactive donation part of the site is awesome. But I must admit I was driven to distraction by thoughts of how incredible this project would have been if it were actually a place you could visit in Second Life, where you could literally live inside these houses, walk around the neighborhood, meet other members of the community, watch videos, hang out with Brad Pitt’s avatar, and so on. 😉
I can definitely respect the value of a web-based client that anyone can easily engage without a massive download, and with zero learning curve. Yet I still can’t help but notice how many times the word community is used on the site, and how much the success of this project depends on visualization, awareness and high levels of interactivity. They have an all-start lineup of contributing architects, including BNIM , Kieran Timberlake , Morphosis , Pugh + Scarpa , Adjaye Architects , Constructs , Graft, MVRDV , Shigeru Ban Architects . Wouldn’t it be great if visitors and donors from all around the world could hang out in the living rooms of these houses or walk the Lower 9th Ward from wherever in the world they happen to live?
The build’s value could easily extend far beyond the reach of the Make it Right project, living on as a continuous resource and demonstration tool of these innovative and ecologically responsible designs. Home Depot, their primary sponsor, could even enjoy the indirect opportunity to test the metaverse waters if they haven’t already. After all, Sears is already in pretty deep, and DIY Shopper looks promising.
My bias aside, what really engaged me was the visual potency of the Pink Project installation, and its potential for raising awareness and intrigue around this issue. By reducing the architectural massing of a home to its formal essence, then wrapping it in a single bold color, they have created a simple, yet very bold expression that extends to an urban scale. The concept depends on active community, thrives on collaboration, and walks the line between art, architecture, graphic design, theater and urban planning. In sum, this installation is absolutely ideal for a Second Life counterpart.
As a grassroots gesture in lieu of an official Second Life presence for The Pink Project, I temporarily covered parts of Architecture Island in pink canvas, and created a small neighborhood of the smaller pink houses as well. For what it’s worth, each of these houses are free for anyone to copy (set for sale at $0). You are encouraged to take as many as you want, copy them as much as you want, and give as many of them away as you can. All donations should be made directly through makeitrightnola.org
Make it Right!