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Virtual Worlds Case Study:

Santa Clara Island

The essential challenge posed by Santa Clara Island was to design and build a faithful replica of the Information Commons and Library of Santa Clara University — then in the early phases of construction, that could be used by students and faculty at Santa Clara University to explore innovative ideas for the interior spaces.

The entire process was timed so that it could inform the actual real-life development of those spaces — NBC Tech News did a feature story at the time illuminating that aspect of the project:

Santa Clara Video

To fulfill that part of the project’s goals, the Information Commons was designed to faithfully match the exterior of the building using blueprints and architectural renderings to guide the work.

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As with most NMC projects, extensive reference photos also informed the details, which included capturing the Spanish-style architecture and the rich landscaping of the Santa Clara campus.

To capture the feel and character of this Franciscan institution, the mission church and parts of the old Santa Clara mission were recreated, as well as the campus art museum. The grounds were appointed with plants and landscape elements identical to the ones on campus.

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The interior of the Information Commons and Library, however, was designed to allow experimentation with ideas for a reference desk, classroom and theater spaces, group study and reading areas, a store, a multi-purpose studio space, and a café.

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Now that the build is complete, the library interiors and other campus spaces provide faculty and students with a variety of settings to support classes and learning experiences in Second Life.