The John Edwards Lecture is an annual dialogue presenting leading international architects in conversation with influential figures from other disciplines, from artists and filmmakers to writers and philosophers.
Following the success of 2009's inaugural discussion between Thom Mayne, Morphosis Architects, and Frédéric Flamand, Director, Le Ballet National de Marseille, we are delighted to present Second Life creator Philip Rosedale and Winy Maas, co-founder and Director of the highly acclaimed Dutch practice MVRDV. Inspired by their positions at the forefront of their respective fields they will take a wide-ranging perspective on built and virtual realities, investigating how the two worlds can learn from, inform and influence each other. A dialogue exploring architecture, urbanism, technology, progress, social systems and visions of the future, chaired by writer and editor Shumon Basar.
The virtual civilisation of Second Life boasts millions of citizens and a buzzing virtual economy (which represents over $10 million in "real world" value), held within its rapidly maturing virtual infrastructure. It is arguably the closest realization of the science fiction of alternate reality that humans have achieved to date. Captivated with the idea of simulated reality and imaginary environments from a young age, Philip Rosendale made a living creating and selling databases, became CTO of RealNetworks, and eventually founded Linden Lab to realize his dream of building Second Life. Created with the aim of re-structuring the way we interact with the web, Second Life's appeal to human creativity is demonstrated through its online industries and bustling social spaces, real-life businesses and religious organisations who now use Second Life as a platform for meetings, services and collaboration. Growing every day, Rosedale, listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World, believes that virtual realms such as Second Life will drastically change the way people interact. "You can imagine New York City being kind of like a museum," speculates Rosedale. "Still an incredibly cool place to go, but with no one working in those towers. You are going to work in a virtual world."
Winy Maas and MVRDV are celebrated as leading architectural
provocateurs and thinkers. An architect, professor and urbanist, as
co-founder and Director of MVRDV, Maas speaks for a practice that pursues a fascination for radical methodical
research, provacative ideas and pragmatic solutions. Director of The Why Factory
- a research institute for the future city he founded in 2008 connected
to the Delft School of Design - Maas is commited to discourse within
and beyond architecture, engaging in a network of collaborations from
conceptual artists to cost consultants, scientists to advertising
agencies; an interest clearly displayed in his recent guest editorship of L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui magazine. MVRDV's early projects such as the television centre Villa VPRO, the WoZoCo housing estate
for the elderly, and the Dutch Pavilion
for the Hanover Expo in 2000 saw the practice catapulted to the international
stage. MVRDV's intelligent, rigorous and playful design approach
is balanced by provocative methodical research leading to some of the most
fascinating propositions of recent architecture, including projects such as the Fordist luxury sky scrapers for swine of Pig City and the urbanist response to the information age of Metacity Datatown. MVRDV's Balancing Barn for Living Architectures opened in 2010, as the practice's fist project in the UK. Projects currently onsite include a television centre for Zurich, a markethall for Rotterdam and a culture plaza for Nanjing, China, alongside large scale visions for the future of Greater Paris and the doubling in size of the Dutch new town Almere.
Image: Pig City, courtesy of MVRDV. Second Life, courtesy Linden Lab
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