Interactive real-time systems lend themselves to a variety of applications including entertainment, education, 3D modeling, art and design, security and surveillance, and medical training. These types of systems may be implemented as interactive simulations, virtual and augmented reality systems, computer and video games, and artistic installations. In this paper, an architecture called AIRS (Architecture for Interactive Real-time Systems) is presented. AIRS is a client-server architecture. Its aims are to provide a flexible framework for light-weight clients to collaborate and communicate with a server through message passing. The server's role is to maintain state, access local or remote data, and facilitate media output, such as playing audio and displaying video. Examples of systems that could use this architecture are presented. In the spirit of working toward a concrete implementation of AIRS, a prototype called Duck was developed. Duck is an interactive real-time system that allows users to create and position geometric objects in a 3D scene, associate audio samples with them, and interact with them indirectly through a physics simulation. Three test sessions were conducted. Each user was prompted with audio that a scene produces and was instructed to create a scene that matches the audio. Three such scenes are included, progressing in difficulty. On average, users spent 1.5 minutes and 1.3 attempts to solve the first scene and 3 minutes and 2 attempts to solve the second scene. No users solved the third scene.