The Virtual Building Company


Enterprise Applications for Virtual Worlds

Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye_Virtual Reconstruction

Photo: Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye - Virtual Reconstruction

It never rains in a virtual world so why do we still put a roof on our buildings?

But then, why have doors, windows or even walls? The options are there to build in the most fututistic way imaginable and some designers do but most buildings, whether for domestic or commercial use are comfortingly familiar in their design and furnishings.

A house or an apartment looks like it's real life counterpart and a clothes store looks like well.. a clothes store. There is a cetain psychological comfort in that we know what the virtual counterpart of a chair, a table or a bed is for and we are spared having to learn a new lexicon of everyday things. Of course there are new attributes as well, flying for example and some new verbs "to rezz" or "to lag" but mainly it is reassuringly familiar. Rather like first life where the environment was designed by humans for humans, the virtual world is it's mirror.


No one was ever convinced that the architects Computer Aided Design (CAD) walk-through animation was anything other than an architects drawing in 3D, in contrast virtual worlds easily lead us to believe that we are in a world that is very familiar to us. For the architect and the architectural student virtual worlds offer an unparelled medium for visualisation and real time colaboration, for the rest of us the future may be something like this.... I really need a new sofa but don't know which one to choose, I download a selection of free virtual sofas and see how they look in my virtual home, satisfied I click my chosen sofa and select 'Buy & Deliver'.

How would it be if you could visit a vitual bookstore and talk to like minded readers? Tired of tramping round and left speechless at the mendacity of an estate agents description of a house or apartment, save yourself sometime before you trek across town. Make no mistake our childrens children will be logging-on to virtual university campuses where time with a tutor is what counts and not the included costs of building maintenance. A simple bespoke virtual office can be built for a few hundred pounds, add in the running costs (the server) -around sixty pounds a month, do the sums the numbers are a no brainer compared to the travel costs for a single meeting.

If you start to factor in the costs of rent, rates, heating, lighting etc. running an office from a virtual building begins to look like the administrative revolution which the internet brought. Now meeting new people and shaking their hand is always an interesting experience and psychologically a harbinger of trust but the subsequent third, fourth fifth team meetings are often very costly affairs in terms of travel time and infrastructure costs.