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THE NYSE AND THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM GO VIRTUAL
By Alfredo Andia and Claudia Busch
Assistant Professors at the School of Architecture at Florida International University, Miami, Florida.

FIU,School of Architecture,  VH-212, Miami, FL 33199.
E-Mail Alfredo Andia & Claudia Busch:  alfredoandia < at > yahoo.com

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The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) recently inaugurated the first virtual reality environment for stock analysis and trading.  The fully interactive 3-D Trading Floor (3DTF) consolidates, in one VR world, many of the data streams that are generated from and feed into the NYSE every day.  In the walls of the virtual world there are stock prices, news, indexes, and video feeds from major television networks all constantly flowing in real time. On the floor of the 3DTF, the trade booths are arranged as they are in the real layout so it is easy for floor operators to understand.  A fully interactive 3D graph is situated on the virtual floor, the graph allows for instant replay of events that occur in the stock market. The Virtual Stock Exchange allows trade floor operators to obtain a precise understanding of the complexities and interactions that unfold during NYSE sessions.  The 3DTF is depicted on nine 25-inch PixelVision flat-panel which allows users to access many types of information on-the-fly, something impossible to do in real space or with current databases. 
The new NYSE virtual stock exchange  depicts real time ticker bands and video feeds in its walls.

Images of the interactive 3DTF.
 
The 3DTF was designed and conceptualized by Silicon Alley Architectural firm Asymptote, and engineered by New York based SIAC and RT-Set from Israel.  Asymptote, an award winning architectural firm, also designed the “Advanced Trading Floor Operations Center,” a renovation of the existing operation area within the Stock Exchange to display the 3DTF.  The Operations Center is powered by 6 Silicon Graphics Onyx2 graphics supercomputers, 43 PixelVision high-resolution, a number of flat-panel monitors, and highly innovative applications.


Interactive graphs and virtual booths inside the 3D Trading Floor.


The "Advanced Trading Floor Operation Center."

Asymptote architects have also been contracted by the Guggenheim Foundation to design and build the Guggenheim Virtual Museum (GVM).  The GVM is the most ambitious endevour of this kind by an American museum.  The Guggenheim is spending $ 1 million dollar on the first phase of the project.  The “Virtual Museum,” similar to the NYSE project, is expected to have both a digital and real presence.  The GVM will have a physical presence on a 43-by-24-foot video wall at the entrance of the Guggenheim SoHo’s branch in New York.  The site is expected to also be part of the trans-continental expansion of the Guggenheim to include locations in Venice and Berlin.  Both cities will be able to participate in the Museum events in real time through the use of different media and technologies.  The virtual design of the museum on the Internet is being developed confidentially, but it is expected that will have both a high and low bandwidth versions.  As the GVM prepares to open its first phase during mid-1999, curators at the Guggenheim are rushing into understand the art created with this new medium which has not been intensely exposed in museums, in the US.


Experimental work and installations of Asymptote Architects at a Gallery in NY.

In both cases, in the NYSE and in the Guggenheim Virtual Museum we are confronted with unknown questions regarding how humans can interact and develop rich interactions, with the virtual environment and its physical presence in real cities.   Hani Rashid, a partner of the architectural firm in-charge of these two projects said, “ we think we are in a field of creating cyber-architecture.”   Up until now when people speak about the architecture of cyberspace, they would only refer to data structures, hardware configurations, or interfaces are usually narrowed to web pages “that are no more than just glorified catalogs magazines,” said Rashid.  When we refer to cyberspace we hardly ever speak about the complex interaction that human can have with the architecture of the interface and how we can access it from real space.   These two projects are one step forward in helping us understand the “form,” the architecture of cyberspace.  The partner at Asymptote Architects concludes, “one of the most impressive things that occur at the end of this two projects is that clients began to wish to be inside of those worlds.” 

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PROJECT DATA

3-D TRADING FLOOR,
NYSE, NEW YORK, NY
Client: New York Stock Exchange.
Architect: Asymptote Architecture, New York, NY.  Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture (principals-in-charge)
Animation Code: RT-SET
Operating System and Hardware: Silicon Graphics
Information Display Solution: PixelVision

ADVANCED TRADING FLOOR OPERATION CENTER,
NYSE, NEW YORK, NY
Client: New York Stock Exchange.
Architect: Asymptote Architecture, New York, NY.  Hani Rashid, Lise Anne Couture (principals-in-charge)
Lighting Consultants: LObservatoire International
Structural Engineer: HLW International
Mechanical Engineer: Jaros Baum & Bolles Consulting Engineers
Consultants: Milgo/Bufkin (fabricator)
Construction Manager: Morse Diesel International, Inc.