building near completion

*The following is a discussion of the building process at my former institution.

I think we are at a point where the major building is about complete. I want to leave open enough room–and there is always the sky–for individual faculty-student projects that would require a new build, or at least some space for their own building. Spots in the sky might be good for a number of those, but if there are suggestions about setting up displays of work for visitors to the island, we can work those out as well, with advertising to educators, signs and landmarks.

If you haven’t been to the island in a while, here are a few of the new spaces:

Expanded library space. The library dominates the center of the northwest side of the island, easily seen from the landing point where visitors arrive via teleport. The original library was expanded to 20 x 30 meters on the main floor, and a lower floor was added to the right side. Our builder, Scott Kahler (Sneblen Dagger), and I collaborated on the library.

On the back, or southeast side of the island there are two new builds, a Building Boardwalk near the public sandbox which will house building tips, tools, and general building information, and the Water’s Edge Coffeehouse, complete with a dock and upper level dance floor, where students can do poetry or fiction readings, as well as perform music. I built these two features while Scott was working on the next, bigger item.

Up about 100 meters above the bay on the northwest side of the island, you’ll find a huge round learning lab. It’s a space that is currently open to design suggestions, and also literally open in design. In that respect, it mimics a number of other educational learning spaces in SL, and invites faculty to imagine how best to use the space. Now that the building is almost done, I will be concentrating more on specific ways to teach and learn here, and so the space may be divided up at some point. For the time being, I put in some games–4 chess tables, 1 Mahjong table, a matching game, and Tic Tac Toe.

The design of the sky lab is a mashup inspired by one of my favorite science fiction films, Metropolis. The round shape with the five triangular points pays homage to the film’s famous Tower of Babel building (below). The use of gardens and fountains are reminiscent of the gardens where the elite sons and daughters of the ruling class frolicked unaware of the lives of the workers, but the flowing waters of the fountains, particularly the one in the center of the lab resonate with the main square in the workers’ city where a flood nearly wiped them out and led to a rethinking of the whole society.

At the same time, the lab has a whimsical touch in its transparent dome and bright colors, and our gardens are for everyone! Kudos to Scott for being creative in expressing my ideas and adding his own touches to this terrific building. You can only know how great it is if you have tried your own hand at building with the SL tools.


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