July 18, 2006

My main goal for the first post on this site is to learn how to show something from Second Life to someone else in real life (RL). And as I recently found out, this is no small feat. So anyway, I’ll proceed slowly and methodically, and probably come back and do some up-dates until I’m happy with it …


Hipcast is a conference and exposition center in Second Life (SL) located on the Shalida sim [direct SL link, or SLurl]. As seen from the map view below, a dense, J-shaped mass creates an open space to its north that is defined by the body of water. Appendages branch-off from this mass and are suspended above the water. Thanks to the positioning of this mass between land and water, it serves as both a filter between the site’s two natural materials, and clearly defines the site of the Hipcast conference center.

But looking closer at the “mass” shows that it is, in fact, composed of a repeating structural module giving it a diaphanous quality, rather than a massive one. For lack of a better term, I will refer to this spatial archetype as a tube structure.
In keeping with the idea that this mass is a “filter” between land and water, we can see that the tube opens up, not accidentally, towards the northern open-space. The project is oriented towards this open-space, and uses the more dense urban agglomeration to the north, to close it off.

The structural module is conceived as a complex, curving column that simultaneously supports the all of the horizontal surfaces. Its material composition reveals its real life (RL) reference, a reinforced concrete construction with metal rebars encrusted in the columns mass to take the tensile stresses. But I think this detail accomplishes much more than simply recalling a RL reference; it visually and proportionally articulates the functioning parts of the column while retaining its expression of continuity.

The expression of material mass, thickness and weight is used to synthesize the balance between the stable, static supporting vertical elements and the fluid, aerian qualities of the horizontal planes.

This synthesizing of contrasting archetypes : horizontal / vertical…

a interweaving of tangent and color…

strait and curved lines, surfaces and volumes…


  1. […] I was one of 27 business communicators who took part in the monthly “Second Thurdsday in Second Life” meeting yesterday afternoon. We gathered at the Hipcast Expo Center, which is owned by Eric Rice, for a wide-ranging discussion. […]

  2. A great post.
    I think the Hipcast venue is a good one for two reasons. Firstly, the architecture is considered, engaging and stimulating. It is fit for purpose.
    Secondly, the business model idea behind the Hipcast centre is a clever one, and one surely to be copied by others.

  3. i like architecture very much,i’m a student in viet nam,i want a big architect

  4. What a fantastic design, it always amazes me how much these designers put into these enviroments.

  5. […] here is a little about Hipcast Expo Center building (with pictures) by another Second Life media outlet, Metaverse […]

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