Consider an Eichler in Your Meta Future

Virtual modern homes
Once mankind starts spending much of its time in a virtual metaverse, modern Linden Homes may attract folks who live in Eichlers in the so-called real world. Images are from Second Life

If Facebook magnate Mark Zuckerberg gets his way, we will all soon be living in a utopian world open to anyone able to afford a virtual reality headset. And the needy no doubt will be subsidized by a federal social-justice virtuality-for-all plan.

As the New York Times recently reported, in an article that questioned whether Zuckerberg could accomplish this, and not whether the result would be frighteningly dystopian, “billions of people would inhabit immersive digital environments for hours on end, working, socializing, and playing games inside virtual and augmented worlds.”

The metaverse, as Zuckerberg seeks to develop it through his renamed company Meta -- “a social metaverse company,” it calls itself -- may be years off. Indeed, it may never arrive at all, many of us hope. But we can get an inkling today of what it may be like by visiting a longer-running metaverse established by another Bay Area company.

This mini metaverse is Second Life, and the San Francisco company that birthed it in 2003 is Linden Lab, based in San Francisco, and, like Meta, certainly home to employees who live in Eichler or other mid-century modern homes.

Lionheart Estate
The Lionheart Estate is another option in Second Life for those seeking modern living in a post-modern cyberspace.

Unlike Zuckerberg’s dream of a metaverse, Second Life comes off as more of a playground and less as a potentially addictive activity that could divorce 'billions' of people from what remains today of real life. The metaverse could, potentially, decimate downtowns, replace real cocktail parties with 3D Zoom versions, and transform real people into imaginary avatars.

To experience Second Life, you don’t need to wear a clumsy VR helmet. Just sign up, pay a few bucks if you want to take advantage of the extras, and go. Create an avatar, learn to move through Second Life’s many landscapes, make friends – and buy real property where you can live, and even enterain virtual friends from around the globe.

Here’s how Linden Lab describes the place:

“Second Life is the largest and most successful 3D virtual world created entirely by its users. Today, tens of thousands of creators around the world continually develop exciting new content and experiences, and profit from selling millions of virtual items on the marketplace.

“Resident additions to the virtual world are called user-generated content, and this content is one of the factors that makes Second Life such a unique online environment.”

Inside a Linden home a winged avatar sees plenty of opportunity for virtual furnishings.

A recent and quick visit to the site, with homes by Joe Eichler in mind, quickly encountered a community of like-minded individuals – some of whom are already inhabiting 21st century versions of mid-century modern homes in this virtual landscape.

Consider Linden Homes, a real estate developer seemingly allied with the creator of the Second Life universe. The firm produces several types of homes for your choosing. Some resemble castles, but the ones discussed by the avatar identified as 'animats' are like modern-day Eichlers, he notes.

“There's an Eichler-type house on Marketplace,” anamats wrote in mid-2021. “If that's what you want, you can get it now.”

“A whole neighborhood of those houses on mainland, with a ‘50s car in every driveway, would be amusing,” he said, suggesting that Second Lifers could use these homes to create entire modern neighborhoods. “Put in a '50s diner and soda fountain, a drive-in theater, and a gas station. Or find a roadside area that has the retail and some abandoned land out back, and build a subdivision.”

Second Life 'resident' Nika Talaj chimed in:

“Or one could start in the Lionheart estate, which already has a built-out midcentury-ish downtown with tram service, and I think some empty commercial space if you want to put in your own diner,” Nika wrote. “They have a ton of empty parcels. Maybe you could make a deal with them and team up with friends to build out most of a region.”

Willowdale Estates
According to virtual developer Willowdale Estate, “Willowdale specializes in 4-season professionally landscaped full-prim parcels and full homesteads.”

“Back when we rented there,” Nika continued, “they had the highest-performing regions I had ever encountered.  Most people used ‘contemporary’ prefabs at the time. We had a spot on the river near downtown.”

Alas, a recent visit to Second Life suggested that Lionheart was no more. Perhaps tornadoes and earthquakes affect the metaverse as well as the universe.

Ah, but those Linden homes await.

“Beautiful homes. Exclusive neighborhoods. Your new Linden home is waiting!” a Second Life realty firm urges. “As a Premium Member, you can move in to a Linden Home at no additional cost.”

A Second  Life administrator, Patch Linden, referred to these homes as being inspired by “'50 to '70s American home style...but not quite that Eichler/mid-century modern approach directly.” 

“A specific mid-century modern theme would be really fun to do,” she added.

Linden Homes even posts a video trying to sell you one of their homes. “You can teleport right to your new home,” the agent tells us. “It’s that fast.”

Keep in touch with the Eichler Network. SUBSCRIBE to our free e-newsletter