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It’s coming on 2 weeks since our first organizational meeting, and we’ve come a long way. Looking forward, we have 5 weeks before the deadline for submission to OAN. That seems like a good chunk of time, but things can be deceiving. Depending on who has the right skills and available time, we’ll probably need the final week or two just to transfer the final SL design into the RL files required by OAN. So we really only have three or so weeks left to come up with our consensus for the winning design.

I want to emphasize as much as I can that although our final design entry will be entered into a traditional design competition, the process within the Studio Wikitecture group is not structured primarily as a competition. The whole point of Studio Wikitecture is to discover and demonstrate how collaboration among a global cross-section of individuals (non-architects as well as architects) can combine their varied skills to produce a design that is superior to one done by one or two professional architects working in isolation.

What does this mean for the process? We certainly need people to submit their original ideas to the Wiki Tree, as many have and I hope more will. But just as important is for all the group members to consider those designs, discuss them, and then offer feedback, be it positive of negative. The quickest way to offer feedback is by voting. If you see a design that has something you like, click on its leaf in the Wiki tree to make it active (if it isn’t already) and then click on either of the thumbs-up prims near the top of the trunk. If you see a design you don’t like, click on the thumbs-down prim. Don’t wait; start doing that now. These votes are not expected to be your final opinion. As design refinement progresses, you’ll vote for or against other leaves. Each person only gets 3 positive and 3 negative active votes, so once you have reached 3, your oldest vote will get removed when you cast a new one.

Voting is quick, but by itself it can be ambiguous. When you vote for a design, you’re not saying that you think it is perfect for submission. What is it you like about it? Is it the grand concept? The sensitivity to the environment? The builder’s skills in presenting their ideas? Are there things you would like to see changed? Without augmenting your vote with comments, it is impossible for the submitter, or others, to know what aspects caused you to vote, and to take that into account in the next design iteration.

And then there is contributing by creating and submitting a design to the tree. Here, please don’t feel constrained to the submission of “original” work. If you have the building skills, the best way to give feedback on someone else’s design is to take a copy, modify it and submit it back to the tree. This is not plagiarism, it is an integral part of the collaborative design process. For some, this is a hard concept to get comfortable with. But think of how Wikipedia has come to be the greatest encyclopedia the world has ever seen. It would never have become what it is if individuals had each written their own version of an article, and then there was a judging to see which article would become the official one.

In summary, regardless of your particular skills, you can contribute right now. Please do. And don’t forget that we’ll be having a meeting on Monday at 1:00PM at 2nd Live for a synchronous discussion.

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We have some very exciting news to share!

Since 2007, the Wiki tree software development has been funded by Studio Wikitecture and developed by i3D Inc.  We’ve considered  the software development process to be experimental, just as we’ve considered the ongoing Studio Wikitecture projects to be experiments in collaboration using Second Life.

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The Studio Wikitecture experiments have had great success — winning the Founders Award in the 2008 Open Architecture Network Challenge and the 2009 Linden Prize.  But how can we build on that momentum?  One thing has become clear — the Wiki Tree software needs to grow in many ways. It needs to be easier to set up and easier to use by project collaborators.  It needs new features to make it useful for a wider range of projects, from the small in-world build to large designs that will be built in the physical world.  It needs better integration with the rest of the Web and with other 3D modeling applications.  The list goes on and on.  And by ourselves, we don’t have the resources to make that happen.

So we’re liberating the Wiki Tree software.  We’re releasing all the code, both in-world and server-side under the Berkeley Software Distribution license.  Omei Turnbull (Roger Wellington-Oguri in RL), a long time Studio Wikitecture contributor, has agreed to shepherd the project, and has set up a project home at

https://sourceforge.net/projects/wikitree3d.  The source code has been uploaded to a SCM Repository and we’re in the process of creating a Wiki, discussion forums, and an issue tracker.

It is our hope that the Open Source Wiki Tree 3D project will take on a life of its own, and grow to be something bigger and better than we can currently conceive of.  But that’s up to you and the rest of the community.  If you do use the Wiki Tree, we hope you will give back to the project in whatever way you can, whether that be helping other users, submitting code enhancements, or just spreading the word.  But that isn’t a requirement.  The BSD License is a “permissive” license, meaning you can do most anything you want with the code, commercial or non-commercial, with or without contributing back to the community project.

Studio Wikitecture itself will be actively engaged in the Open Source Wiki Tree 3D project.  We’ll also be offering project hosting, facilitation, training, technical assistance and support.  If you would like assistance with setting up a Wiki-Tree, hosting a project on the Studio Wikitecture website, or conducting a Wikitecture project, please send us an email at info@studiowikitecture.com.

To the future!

Here are a few progress screenshots of our work to-date on the Treet.TV master plan: http://ow.ly/pU7x

Everyone is welcome to join and contribute, and we need your help!  Everything you need to know – both about Treet.TV’s needs, and how to use the Wiki Tree – can be found on this site: http://ow.ly/pU9t

We meet every Thursday at 6pm SLT, at this SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Northpoint/129/166/32 If you don’t care to submit 3D ideas, you can still be very helpful by casting votes on the website – http://www.studiowikitecture.com.  If you don’t have a password, click the very base of the Wiki Tree at the SLurl above.  Then use your full avatar name, first and last, with the password the Wiki Tree gives you.  Your votes make a huge difference in helping guide design development, so please take the time to cast a few votes!

Here are a few screenshot highlights:

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The Studio Wikitecture project on the Treet Islands is ready to start it’s dynamic and creative evolution and you are invited to come and celebrate the kick-off.

Day: Thursday 3rd September
Time: 6pm SLT
Location: Treet.TV Wikitecture Project, Tropical Treet (97, 146, 24)  http://slurl.com/secondlife/Tropical%20Treet/126/166/24/

For a background on the project please visit: http://wiki.treet.tv/Treet_TV_Island_Development

We need your help in deciding how the Treet Islands should be designed.  The goal of the project is to come up with a plan by voting and selecting the best ideas.

Wiz and Keystone will be at the event to talk about their goals and hopes for the project.

Although this is the official event, it’s really an informal gathering where we hope people can find out how to get involved, meet others who are working on the project and to share ideas.

Hope to see you there!

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Second Life’s 6th Birthday is getting dangerously close.  We need to have it setup, on the site by Saturday, June 20! We have a lot of good ideas and themes springing to life, but in order to concentrate everyone’s efforts in the next couple days , we could use a concentrated wave of votes from the community!

Whether you submitted a design iteration, or are watching the design unfold, we could use your vote!  You can simply cast your vote on the http://www.studiowikitecture.com/SL6B/.  After logging in, go to http://www.studiowikitecture.com/SL6B/all_designs.php5 to see all the design iterations.  From here you can cast 3 positive and 3 negative votes.

To Register to Vote:

If you do not have a login for http://www.studiowikitecture.com/SL6B/ site, the following steps will get you one.

  1. Login to Second Life.
  2. Join the ‘Studio Wikitecture’ group, if you haven’t already done so.
  3. Teleport to the following link: http://slurl.com/secondlife/architecture/155/43/22/?title=Studio%20Wikitecture%20SL6B%20Project
  4. Once there, ‘touch’ the base of the ‘wiki-tree’ interface (which is the image below), to get the password for the website.
  5. Your Password will be broadcast to you via the Chat Channel.
  6. Now go to the http://www.studiowikitecture.com/SL6B/ site and enter…
    1. login: use your full ‘Second Life’ name. (eg: John Doe)
    2. password: <the password the ‘wiki-tree’ gave you through the chat channel>
  7. Now you can go to http://www.studiowikitecture.com/SL6B/all_designs.php5 to cast your votes!  Thank You.

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We are very excited to announce that Studio Wikitecture won the $10,000 USD  ‘Linden Prize’ for developing an “innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world.”

To coincide with Second Life’s birthday celebration this year (SL6B), Tuesday, June 23rd  thru Monday, June 29th,  Studio Wikitecture will have a booth visitors can learn more about process and the community’s last couple projects.

In keeping with the collaborative spirit of Wikitecture, it seems only appropriate to open the design process of the booth itself to the Studio Wikitecture community, so that anyone can contribute and vote on the designs they like most/least.  Since the booth has to be completed by June 23rd, this Wikitecture project will be a quick one!

We have a parcel and a fresh Wiki-tree set up here:  http://slurl.com/secondlife/architecture/155/43/22/?title=Studio%20Wikitecture%20SL6B%20Project

The design challenge is to design a booth that best describes what Studio Wikitecture and the Wiki-Tree is all about.  We have images that could be displayed, such as our final entry in the Open Architecture Challenge, screenshots of past Wikitecture projects, the most recent University of Alabama, and more.  It is up to the community to determine how many images should be displayed, how they should be displayed, and how large those images should be.

The full booth can be no more than 175 prims, and the parcel size is 28 meters by 28 meters.

In addition to this final ‘booth’ installation, we will also have a demonstration version of the Wiki-tree adjacent to the booth at the SL6B parcel so visitors will be able to see how the Wiki-tree works by cycling through designs contributed in the booth design project. In other words, we will work together to design a ‘booth’ for a 28x28m (784 sqm), which will be persistent at the SL6B parcel. We will then place a read-only version of the Wiki-tree next to that parcel to help describe the collaborative process we used to arrive at the final booth design.

To review, here are a few of the basic steps you’ll need to take in order to participate:

1.) Get a Second Life account, by visiting this site: http://secondlife.com/
2.) Download Second Life, http://secondlife.com/support/downloads.php
3.) Open the Second Life application, and enter the username and password you just created

4.) Do the basic tutorial to learn the basics of walking, flying, etc.

5.) When you’re ready, click this link – then click the ‘teleport’ this link will bring up: http://slurl.com/secondlife/architecture/155/43/22/?title=Studio%20Wikitecture%20SL6B%20Project

6.) Find the wiki-tree, and click the very base of that tree. It will give you a password.
7.) Use your full avatar name (first and last), and the password given to you by the tree to log into this site: http://www.studiowikitecture.com/SL6B
8.) You can now review designs that have been submitted so far by either clicking the ‘leaf’ spheres on the Wiki-tree and watching them appear on the site – where you can walk through the ideas. Or, you can review them on the website, along with design descriptions, and discussion, etc.
9.) You can cast a total of 3 positive and 3 negative votes on the designs. Votes can be distributed to several designsn, or all given to 1 design. If you cast more than 3, it replaces the first votes you cast, and so on.
11.) Think of ways you can combine the best of the ideas you’ve shared so far, combined with your own ideas… when you’re reviewing designs at the wiki-tree, you can simply select the designs you like, and ‘Take a Copy’. Then, head to a sandbox to synthesize your contribution!
12.) Remember this is not a competition! Wikitecture is all about collaboration, and sharing ideas. The last thing you should do is work out a final and polished design before submitting it to the tree for others to review. You’ll run the risk of spending too much time on an idea the community might not adopt. The rule of thumb is to share ideas early, and often… this will give the community a chance to provide feedback, and maybe even include your idea in a new hybrid design contribution.
11.) When you’re ready to share your own 3D design idea using the Wiki-tree, just let Keystone Bouchard or Theory Shaw know, and we will walk you through the process. Otherwise, you can review the tutorial here:http://studiowikitecture.wikidot.com/how-to
12.) Once your design is submitted, it will automatically create a new place for it on the website. You can change the leaf description, and add any design descriptions or screenshots that will help others understand your design.
13.) Check the site often to see how your design does in the community! Remember to continuously cast your 3 positive and 3 negative votes regularly, so the community can get a sense of what are the best ideas to carry forward!

This project will not include a cash payout, so your time and contributions will be voluntary, but contributors names and a profile image of everyone who contributes will be on display throughout the SL6B festivities.

As always, contact Keystone Bouchard or Theory Shaw if you have any questions at all!

Good luck!

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If you’re in the Chicago area, next Tuesday, December 2nd, stop by the local Pecha Kucha event hosted at Martyr’s Pub where I’ll be presenting the projects and process the Studio Wikitecture group has been working on for the last couple years.  Including, of course, the group’s winning competition entry for the Open Architecture Challenge.  Now, I only have to figure out how to stuff all this into 20 slides at 20 second each!

Hope to see, you there.

[update: Kick-off transcript posted HERE Wiki-tree tutorial will be held Tuesday, October 28 at 5pm PDT (SL-Time).  However, anytime you’re ready to submit an idea, just IM Keystone Bouchard and I’ll walk you through it!]

With so many universities and academic institutions from around the world using virtual environments like Second Life for teaching and research, many have started to wonder what, exactly is a virtual classroom?

In an environment where you can fly, and with no elements to protect from, what role does architecture play in a virtual university?  In what ways should a virtual classroom be similar to a classroom in real life?  How might they be different?  How can the virtual architecture best serve the students, staff and community who use it?

Because buildings are so expensive to build and modify in the real world, rarely are students and staff able to actively participate in the creation of the physical spaces they use.  In a virtual space, however, the tables are turned.  Anyone can easily prototype their idea in 3D, walk through it, and share it with others.   Given these new opportunities, why not let the students, staff and public community who actually use these classrooms design it for themselves?  Who better, in fact, to offer insight to improve a occupied space, than the people that use it on a daily basis?

These are the questions, the Studio Wikitecture group has been asking for some time now.  Composed of individuals from various backgrounds and open to anyone, the group has been asking whether new modes of production, as witnessed in the open-source movement, for example, can offer any clues into how we might improve the process of designing our buildings and cities, both real and virtual.  In much the same way Wikipedia enables a loose, self-organizing network of contributors to come together to create a surprisingly accurate encyclopedia, the group has been conducting a number of experiments and projects to explore ways by which a disperse group, spread around the world, can come together to share ideas, edit the contributions of others, and vote on the success or failure of an evolving piece of architecture.

Over the years, the group has conducted a number of experiments to flesh out the possibilities of a more decentralized approach to practicing architecture.  In fact, Studio Wikitecture was recently honored with the Founder’s Award for their collaborative competition entry in last year’s Open Architecture Challenge to design a tele-medicine facility in one of the most remote areas of Western Nepal.

As you can imagine, having a group collaboratively design a building is a daunting and difficult task.  In this light, Studio Wikitecture teamed up with i3dnow to develop a software prototype plug-in for the virtual world of Second Life that helped the group better collaborate on the collectively designed competition entry.  The plug-in, in it’s simplest form, is a kind of of 3d-Wiki.  The ‘Wiki-Tree’, as it is called, acts very much like a typical wiki, but instead of tracking versions of a text documents, it tracks virtual 3D models and unlike a conventional wiki that conveys submissions in a linear fashion, the ‘Wiki-Tree’ visual conveys, in a sort of 3-dimensional mind map, how the submitted designs iterations relate and ‘branch’ off each other over time.

To continue this exploration into open-source architecture, for the group’s 4th project, the University of Alabama has challenged the Second Life community along with its students and staff, to collectively brainstorm and design a virtual set of classrooms.  Through this project, you will be working in close collaboration with both your professors and/or peers to design a series of classrooms in the virtual realm.

Furthermore, you and your fellow contributors will be awarded at total of $250,000 Linden dollars, distributed based on a unique ‘Community Assessment’ method.  A method, whereby members of the community collectively determine the approximate percentage of credit each contributor deserves.

As with the last project, we will be using the 3d-Wiki versioning tool to keep track your and your fellow contributor’s design submissions.  Through the ‘Wiki-Tree’, you will be able to review the various designs submitted, as well comment and vote on your preferences (or dislikes).  As an overview, this video will give you a really quick sense on how the ‘Wiki-Tree’ works.

To participate, you’ll need to create a Second Life account HERE if you don’t have one already, then join the Studio Wikitecture group (in Second Life, click Search at the bottom).  Then visit the University’s virtual site HERE (UA ESPRMC sim, 186, 87, 26), and click on the base of the Wiki-tree in order to register your avatar and get a password.  This password will then give you access to the website component HERE, where you’ll be able to vote and comment on ideas submitted by the community.

For more information about how to use the Wiki-tree, visit this site:http://studiowikitecture.wikidot.com/how-to

In an effort to keep the project as open as possible and avoid hindering creativity, the following are the only guidelines to the project.

1.  The architectural style is open to the group’s discretion.
2.  We need six classrooms with ample space for student (30 avatars)
3.  The disciplines we may house in the rooms include: Science, Mathematics, Art, English, Social Sciences, and Music.
4.  No more than 800 prims total
5.  Occupy no more than 5,000 square meters

We will also be holding regular tutorial sessions every Tuesday at 5pm SL-time, and at times requested by the community, for anyone who has questions or needs help submitting their idea.

If you have any questions, we can reached at the following emails:

Ryan Schultz (Theory Shaw in SL): (ryan.schultz [at] studiowikitecture [dot] com).

Jon Brouchoud (Keystone Bouchard in SL): (jon.brouchoud [at] studiowikitecture [dot] com).

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It is with great pleasure I bring you the news that Studio Wikitecture’s entry in the Open Architecture Network Challenge was awarded the ‘Founder’s Award’ as well as ‘3rd Place’ for our design of the Nyaya Tele-Medicine facility in Western Nepal. The announcement was made this morning.

Architecture for Humanity awarded its Founders Award to the third place Asia challenge finalist, Studio Wikitecture, for embracing a truly collaborative way of working using online crowdsourcing and Second Life as a way to create a highly participatory design approach. Source

I want to direct a big ‘congratulations’ to those individuals that contributed, on whatever level, to the ultimate success of this entry. Well done! In particular I would like to thank the following for their dedicated contributions.

Jon Brouchoud – (Keystone Bouchard in SL)

Roger Wellington-Oguri – (Omei Turnbull in SL)

Roberto Carretero – (Otrober Breda in SL)

Michael DiTullio – (Far Link in SL)

Simone Riccardi – (Turboy Runo in SL)

Ethos Erlanger in SL

Chip Poutine in SL

I would also like to thank the programming gurus at i3dnow for helping us develop the 3d-Wiki technology we used to help facilitate this whole process. With all the contributions made throughout the process, it would have been a virtual impossibility to build a consensus without it.

And finally a shout out to Kirsten Kiser from arcspace for generously donating a large part of her Second Life island to this project.

We’ve definitely come a long way since asking the question: Can the design and production of architecture learn anything from the open and decentralized methods of production demonstrated in projects such as Wikipedia and open-source software. We certainly learned a lot since the early days of Wikitecture 1.0 and 2.0. I have no doubt Wikitecture 4.0 will prove just as successful.

Thank You, Again.

Ryan Schultz

We’ve moved the Wiki-tree containing the results of our 3rd experiment (the entry in the Open Architecture Challenge) to a new parcel on Architecture Island.

Since the project is completed, the tree is no longer accepting design contributions or votes, but you can still click the leaves to cycle through the leaves that weren’t pruned. As always, if you have any questions, or would like to hire Studio Wikitecture for your next project, please don’t hesitate to send an IM to Keystone Bouchard or Theory Shaw.

Here is the SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Architecture%20Island/90/90/24/?title=Studio%20Wikitecture