Ironically, one of the most unique and memorable highlights of my time spent exploring virtual worlds had to do with music, not architecture.

The ‘Wikisonic’ collaborative music installation, first prototyped in Second Life with help from John Street was later chosen for construction at The Tech Museum of innovation in San Jose. Team member Anne Ogborn and I were flown to San Jose for the gallery opening, where we had the chance to play the ‘real life’ Wikisonic installation, built by The Tech’s brilliant team of technicians led by the tireless and perpetually innovative Nina Simon.

The gallery was packed with installations that were built and prototyped in Second Life before physical construction started.

The Tech is at it again with a new round of projects and opportunities. Bob Ketner, Virtual Community Manager at The Tech recently posted an invitation on The Arch’s ning network (sign up!) to help collaboratively design the gallery and exhibits.

More information can be found on their site here:

“I just put up a blog post about a renovation project at The Tech Museum, using The Tech Virtual website + virtual world space in Second Life.
Basically we are looking at themes to renovate a space around microchips. Like to design museum exhibits? Interiors? Check out this project, I’d love to have some of the Archvirtual people have a go at it. We have a “blank” which developers can modify.…

The “before” part is done. The “after” is far from known. Did I mention we’re also building an open source collection of exhbits? Have ideas on conveying themes about microchip speed and power? Contact me directly if any of this intersts you!”

I followed up with some questions, and have included his answers below.

Q – Is the project already built?

A – No, it’s in progress. I have no idea what it will eventually look like. I thought it might be a good idea to open up the concept of what a gallery on microchips could look like. A major chip manufacturer is the sponsor and they work w. museums all over.

Q – Is the tear-drop shape space the existing ‘shell’ within which this new exhibit will exist?

A – Yes the tear-drop shape is the available space to work on the theme. It should house 3 exhibits. I have a modifyable “blank” in Second Life.

Q — What is the timeline for the project? When will construction start – when do you expect the new gallery will open?

A – This is mostly a proof of concept, and an opportunity to utilize the virtual compoent to design around the microchips theme. How many ideas come to mind? I thought the interior might be closely dependent on the exhibits therein, as an environment. The end design of the room itself may be decided already, but the exhibits inside are not. They may come from input at… This is scheduled to open March 2010.

Q – Is there any compensation available, financial or otherwise, for people who contribute their time/design energies into helping The Tech achieve a compelling, buildable design solution?

A – Exhibits moved into production receive $600. USD per team member (up to 3). Similar to the exhibit design competition you were in back in 2008, Keystone. I know that’s not a lot so it’s for participation and proving the concept. The gallery space is just for ambiance and creativity. If you design great exhibits, shouldn’t they deserve an awesome interior? I’m working really hard to convince the higher ups on some funding models, especially for exhibits. If we win the Linden Prize the $ will go towards this, that much is approved.

Q – Are you depending exclusively on the virtual prototype to derive the final gallery installation, or are there other local/paid design professionals also working on it?

A – Exhibits are relying on the virtual/open source sourcing. Interior is probably decided, as far as I can tell, but… I’ve known these things to change quickly and be redone…hmm will have to see if we can have some impact.

We will also be showing these efforts at Museums and the Web in Denver in April 2010 so I’m interested in the proof of concept. I’d like to show off the “What’s Possible” in the idea space to show the benefits of virtual worlds. Snail mail me business cards and i’ll be happy to pass them out!

Another experiment in the virtual world menagerie. Hoping to get some other ideas going on the uber-cool Citilab on this and oh ya, we need a warehouse space for this.

Q – Have you posted, or could you post photographs of the ‘before’ of the actual space to be renovated?

A – The photos on the model on the blog post are rather photorealistic! It really look(ed) exactly like the model!

Q – I think this would help clarify this opportunity, for me anyway – and hopefully generate some interest in helping out!

A – Thanks Keystone. We’re working to leverage all these virtual benefits. Looking to connect to people who also believe in that and can tie in their creations. How do you spell experimental?

Q – Thanks for posting this, and please keep us posted on progress as the project moves forward!

A – Will do Keystone! Posting will start at

This museum project is about opening channels to get work viewed, portfolios built, and I’ll certianly do what I can to get these “virtual” pitches in front of, well, whoever I’m in front of!

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