Virtual Online Worlds: Towards a Collaborative Space for Architects

Nahinu, Tiffany
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Although research has been trickling forth in the last eight years about online collaboration and use of virtual online worlds (VOW) amongst architects and architectural students (2006-2010), little discussion is dedicated to how the use of VOWs have improved collaboration, communication and quality of design for those that have used it. Researching VOWs and their use in architecture was a difficult task since much of what needed to be found was scattered amongst the fields of education, construction engineering, computer science and even online blogs dedicated to architecture in video games. An analysis of those findings has contributed to the development of a pilot project conducted in a VOW called Blue Mars. The project was set up in order to discover how VOWs improve communication skills of its users and analyze what happens when architecture students are allowed to virtually experience their designs as avatars. This study is part of a growing body of research on the exploration of virtual online worlds in the practice of architecture both in the classroom and out in the field.
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