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SECOND LIFE: A VIRTUAL WORLD OF McMANSIONS

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WEBWATCH

Virtual Internet world Second Life was billed as a major feature of the recent Architecture Week. I remained loftily uninterested, partly from laziness and fear of having to listen to a lot of selfindulgent rant, and partly from serious early disillusionment.

Getting involved in Second Life requires a total suspension of belief in all you ever believed about design, because, aiming for a global audience, Second Life has gone for a very low quality of detail. It's crude, clunky, early Lara Croft. As it's orthogonal, it's fine for pure Miesians, crap for curvy Zahaists.

Take a peep at the movie 'Mies on Architecture Island' at http: //tinyurl. com/ 2ly3na. A black soutaneclad figure leads you to a representation of the Farnsworth House and then shows you around its interior.

Fine. But dive into Second Life itself and it's the usual old dross - rather like what Jackie Craven at About. com calls the architecture of McMansion: 'large, showy Neo-eclectic? built without the guidance of an architect, with poorly proportioned and placed windows and doors? quickly constructed using mix-andmatch details from a builder's catalog' (http: //tinyurl.com/2cnlq8). Second Life architecture exactly.

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