The Virtual Building Company


Enterprise Applications for Virtual Worlds

Virtual Birmingham Library, UK

Photo: 'The Virtual Library of Birmingham (2011)

The Virtual Library of Birmingham in Second Life, opened its doors to the public in August 2011 allowing access two years before the real life building is ready for occupancy.

The Museum of Dresden, a virtual replica of the real life museum has been running in Second life for nearly two years.

NASA have had a presence in Second Life since 2006, in 2011 they opened their 'Education Resource Centre' to help educators teach about space exploration.


The Virtual Library of Birmingham allows visitors to explore and learn more about the public spaces within the new library as well as leave their comments it's purpose is for awareness raising and feedback. Again most people are unlikely to visit the UK to visit a library but using Second Life a world class piece of architecture can now be experienced and explored by Second Life visitors. Prior to it's actual completion Birmingham City Council are asking for feedback. Do you like the design? What do you think about the colour scheme? What about the cafe? When would you be likely to use the library? Have we got the periodicals section in the right place? Some of these questions could be answered by questionnaires instead of the in situ virtual objects but the ability to wander around this virtual space gives a unique impression of how the building will 'be' when it is completed.

CLICK to visit The Virtual Library of Birmingham, UK

Virtual Dresden Museum

Most people are unlikely to make a special trip to Dresden to see that city's art museum but with a single mouse clicks you can. The Museum of Dresden in Second Life is a superb build of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Germany), one of the world's most famous museums. The virtual museum displays 750 sixteenth to nineteenth century paintings including Raphael’s “Sistine Madonna”, Giorgione’s “Sleeping Venus”, Rembrandt’s “Self-Portrait with Saskia“ and Vermeer’s “Girl Reading a Letter”. This virtual museum was not in fact built with the primary purpose of presenting their collection to the public but for the very practical role of training curators. Visitors can however explore this virtual museum for hours, clicking a painting gives a notecard with art historical details and if you choose you can aslo buy a copy of the painting. In the past museums have relied upon catalogues for exhibition visitors to take away and while these illustrate the works they fail to give the viewer any sense of the actual exhibit. That these virtual exhibits are also persistent means that even when the actual exhibiton is dismantled and put back into crates, the virtual exhibit remains in perpetuity.

CLICK to visit The Museum of Dresden, Germany

NASA Virtual Education Centre

Simulation in virtual environments has been a mainstay of NASA's training programme since it's inception but the fact that they have now decided to increase their education presence in Second Life with their Education Resource Centre points to a new direction. Trained NASA advisors now provide feedback to educators through this virtual facility, supporting education in space research, astrophysics and engineering. Recently some colleges have arranged virtual link ups with NASA astronauts in one to one question and answer sessions. From NASAs budget perspective the cost of a half hour virtual conversation is very practical whereas an actual meeting would be prohibitive.

CLICK to visit The NASA Education Resource Centre, USA

Education and training can benefit enormously from using virtual worlds to work on otherwise financially impossible projects as well as reaching out globally to make new connections. The experience is rewarding for students and engages them in many different ways. It is novel, it is hands on, it uses visuals, audio and text, it is collaborative, it is persisitent 24/7 and is global in it's reach. Only with virtual worlds can you connect in real time two schools thousands of miles apart and on different continents for a real time collaborative project.