Hipcast.com Conference and Expo Center
Perhaps Jauani Wu has already best captured the essence of this build in his comment on Snapzilla:
"simply - wow!"The Hipcast.com Conference and Expo Centre bears the design signature of Endira Udal and Rez Menoptra of Rezzust (formerly Kush Design Lab), and represents their most jaw-dropping work to date.
Their Art of Nature Gallery was the subject of a previous review, where the attitude toward the use of color, tensile materials, and landscape integration have been clearly carried forward into this massively-scaled event space, commissioned by media superconductor Spin Martin and projected over the water on his island sim of Shalida (146,238,30 - view on map | direct teleport)
Functionally, the build appears well-purposed for hosting large conferences and trade events in a manner that is easily navigable and as much fun to fly through as it is to walk around. The spaces are enveloped by an continuous extrusion that threads its way through repeating structural sections, creating pockets for the primary hall and gathering space on the main level, as well as secondary halls in the two levels above. The whole thing is capped off with a hypnotic curved glass canopy that Rez simply described to me as taking a long time to figure out... Astride the main extrusion are two levels of smaller salons with a courtyard formed by the space between these two major architectural elements.
The overall feeling is open and airy, in some ways more like a pavilion or an inhabitable sculpture where avs are to be found nesting with their ideas and wares. The material palette is restrained, save for the exuberant colored banners and glass panels that Spin describes as his favorite parts of the build. The restraint also lends further punctuation to the landscape elements, plants, trees, and fountains, all carefully integrated to at times respond to the structural order, at others to deny it, adding to the overall sense of dynamic interplay between the spaces of the conference centre and the formal elements by which they are framed. The only relatively problematic aspect of the build at this point appears to lie with the entry sequence, specifically the manner in which one begins to walk toward the entrance from the circular rezzing platform only to encounter an unexpected and unceremonious drop down onto a short bridge that is itself nicely laden with event-specific regalia.
One minor problem aside, the conference center is a significant watershed structure, a genuine (and photogenic) work of virtual architecture that has the potential to contribute to the image of Second Life on the world stage. Rather than drag out the example of how an iconic build like Frank Gehry's Bilbao Guggenheim has put the Spanish city on the map (an impact that is slowly diluting as every B-list burb vies for its own version of the titanium turd), I would rather suggest parallels to the manner in which Massimiliano Fuksas's new conference centre, the Nuovo Polo Fiera Milano utilizes architecture as a medium to elevate the art of gathering and the exchange of ideas. With a similar sense of refinement, elegance, grandeur, and enthusiasm, the architecture of the Hipcast.com Conference and Expo Centre is sure to broaden the appeal and edifice of Second Life to the big fish that Spin has been reeling in as of late (not to mention a certain 800 pound Gorilla).
So, like Jauani said, wow. Simply, wow.