Faced with the onset of Parkinson's Disease, David Denton also found himself faced with something else; an insatiable urge for creative expression. Through countless hours creating and participating in online, virtual environments, David learned that living a content life may only take some simple advice, "make something". Making rather than consuming has been a great joy for David. In his talk he shares some of the virtual spaces he has crafted and how those spaces came to be.
David Denton, a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is an architect and urban planner with over 30 years of experience in the field. He started his career as a volunteer teaching architecture in the Peace Corps in Tunisia and was an exchange student in the IAESTE program working as an urban planner in Harlow New Town, UK.
He was the design partner for the San Francisco firm of Whistler Patri responsible for numerous large scale commercial projects including the well known San Francisco Center. Before starting his own design firm in Los Angeles he was a managing partner of the internationally renowned firm, Frank Gehry and Associates. He was directly involved in managing many of the well-known buildings produced by that office such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall which was recently featured on a PBS documentary as one of the ten most influential buildings in the history of the United States.
His own design practice for the last several years has incorporated the use of the virtual world in architectural design and urban planning projects. He was one of the first architects to use the virtual world as a design tool for a real life project, a shopping center in Cairo Egypt. He cofounded the Project K2 C with his Egyptian colleague, Dr. Amr Attia inspired by Pres. Barack Obama's speech in Cairo in which he outlined his vision of Internet collaboration between students in Kansas and Cairo. The project brings together in collaboration American and Egyptian architecture students on architecture and planning projects of mutual interest. This project has been funded by the US State Department. The students collaborate in the virtual world through their personalized avatars.
He also has designed several projects in the virtual world for universities that will be utilized as teaching tools for children. Clients in the Virtual World include The McKinsey Company, Stanford University Library, University of Southern California, University of New Mexico and Santa Barbara City College.
His innovative work in the virtual world has been featured in several publications including the Architectural Record and the New York Times. His work has also been selected to be archived in the permanent collections of Stanford University and the Library of Congress as innovative work in the early development of the virtual world.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the mid-nineties.He is a cofounder of a support group for people with the disease which is held in the virtual world with participants represented in the form of their avatars and can come from all over the world. He has also built a place in the virtual world for people to show their creations related to the disease.