Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Hortas house reproduction - twists and turns

The skill and imagination of Victor Horta never ceases to surprise me now. I should have started this blog many weeks ago when I set out to start this project as my understanding of the task at hand is growing with each day. I shall recap...

I arrived in Secondlife in April and after a few visits found myself spending a lot of time wandering the streets of a steampunk themed sim known as New Babbage. I was drawn in by the atmosphere and the engaging characters that one found there. By mid-May I decided that it was time to settle somewhere and to build a house. Naturally, Babbage, or rather the newly opened Babbage Canals area, was my first choice. Initially I had planned on building in an Art Deco style but was steered away from this by the mayor (Shaunathan Sprocket) as this was deemed too late for the theme (Steampunk ideally finishes in the first few years of the 20th century. There are a fwe anachronisms in Babbage, like the ugly yellow building with the revolving door but for the most part it is broadly themed in keeping with the late victorian era. I rethough my position and chose to build in Art Nouveau. I few years ago I had travelled to Belgium on a short break and visited a number of Art Nouveau sotes including Horta's own house, now the Musee Horta. I was impressed with the style of the building and have remained so ever since. So naturally I (naively) decided to build a replica of this work.

Secondlife building is somewhat akin to the kids building blocks system, Lego. The builder has a limited set of basic "bricks" to use, these are known as prims. A given plot of land also has a limited number of prims available for use in building, this ensures that the online world does not grind to a halt due to a particularly complex build. It also places some interesting constraints on a builder, not all of which are clear at the outset.

The horta museum website gave may some floor plans and a few details while the web through up a number of images that allowed me to start my build. Scale was a hard thing to address, the viewpoint in Secondlife effectively requires that everything is upscaled by about 2/3rds or even double in order to look vaguely normal. My good friend Anabella was kind enough to point this out to me before I started and saved me a lot of angst.

I've posted a few images to flickr as the build progressed. I'll add those to this blog now to build the history.

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