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BEING AND BECOMING IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD

WEBWATCH

While in the pub I thought my interlocutor was taking the piss when he said we should start reviewing Second Life architecture. But in the cold light of day it seemed a less implausible proposition.

Second Life (www.secondlife. com) is a virtual world about which your teen kids will have been dismissive for many months.

Inhabited by 3 million visitors, residents, property owners and businesses (including one US building design practice, Crescendo Design), it is, according to Computer Weekly, worth over £30 million annually. That's a lot of real dosh being made in a make-believe world.

But maybe it's not so make-believe after all. Dell has created its own island, complete with a factory where you can assemble and pay for your own computer, which is then delivered to your real-life door. Companies are using Second Life for friendlier video conferencing, selling houses, designing hotels and more.

Here's my prediction for 2012: architects have abandoned websites and are running extravagant, self-designed architecture emporia on Main Street, Second Life. And the AJ is reviewing them as they emerge from the digital gloop.

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