Architecture shapes our lives every day, but how can it be decentralized? At the core of efforts to design extended reality (XR) environments is a desire to make these projects more human and more relatable. As technologists, architects, and users themselves develop new tools for the metaverse, as well as augmented and virtual spaces, new projects are increasingly democratized and open source. At the same time, the design process is being reimagined.
Metaverse: The Latest Architecture and News
We are still at the dawn of the Metaverse, the next wave of the Internet. The current “mainstream” Metaverse platforms serve as experimental containers to host the wildest dreams of virtual worlds where we are supposed to unleash the imagination. However, from a spatial design perspective, they have so far been lame and ordinary. Without the constraints in the physical world, how do we draft the urban blueprints in the metaverse? I believe metaverse planners can find inspiration from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, in which he revealed a poetic and mathematical approach to “urban planning” in the imaginary worlds.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) has collaborated with Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) for the 'Meta-Horizons: The Future Now' exhibition in Seoul, Korea. Designed by ZHA to promote the instigation and exchange of new ideas and to showcase innovative technologies and media, the inaugural exhibition of DDP’s new Design Museum explores ZHA’s work across multiple fields, from digital technology to artificial intelligence and virtual reality, featuring the firm's recent designs, process, and research that incorporates immersive technologies and new fabrication techniques. The exhibition will be on display from 26 May - 18 September 2022.
The digitisation of architecture and design projects has been going on for some time now and has increased even more, largely due to the global pandemic. To hear talk of the metaverse, the NFT or the digital twins seems to be commonplace at this time, when the digital economy is booming and where architects and designers who seek to move from the physical world to the virtual world are beginning to proliferate. But will virtuality be the future of architectural visualisation?
As Antoine Picon describes in Architecture and the Virtual Towards a new Materiality? : "An architectural project is indeed a virtual object. It is all the more virtual that it anticipates not a single built realization but an entire range of them. …Whereas the architect used to manipulate static forms, he can now play with geometric flows. Surface and volumes topological deformations acquire a kind of evidence that traditional means of representation did not allow.”
Metaverse is the name used to name an immersive, collective and hyper-realistic virtual environment, where people will be able to live together using 3D customized avatars.
It was coined by writer Neal Stephenson in his science fiction book “Snow Crash”, published in 1992. The work tells the story of “Hiro Protagonist”, a character who in real life is a pizza delivery boy, but in the virtual world – called metaverse in the story – is a samurai.
This week for the final Archdaily roundtable host Sara Kolata is being joined by Zaha Hadid Architects Principal Patrik Schumacher, Founder of the Techism Movement Krista Kim and an award-winning Hollywood and Silicon Valley media executive Joanna Popper to discuss ways Architects can benefit and profit from new digital opportunities in the Metaverse.
As the world of Architecture finds itself on the edge over the recent Metaverse and NFT hype, Zaha Hadid Architects is at the forefront of innovation showing us exactly how to utilize Web 3 and its socio-economic opportunities for architects, globally.
The topic has become especially relevant at the beginning of this year, with more and more platforms publishing about it. All the recent hype forces us to evaluate our role as architects and whether or not we want to consider servicing the digital realm.
With the recent Metaverse hype, let's address the elephant in the room! As more and more people dance around the subject of weather or not it is harmful for sustainably-conscious architecture designers to utilize the Metaverse, I decided to interview Oliver Lowrie, a Director at Ackroyd Lowrie, an award-winning London-based architecture practice dedicated to building the cities of the future, who is already using this technology to enhance Ackroyd Lowrie’s low-energy designs.
Zaha Hadid Architects - ZHA has unveiled a virtual "libertarian micro-nation" in the metaverse titled The Liberland Metaverse, where residents can buy vacant plots centered around a curated urban core, and access them as avatars. The community features hyper-realistic districts that encourage urban self-governance and zones where the absence of urban planning "allows for a spontaneous order via a free-wheeling discovery process".
A new place for design - State of Address (SOFA) - is a world-first design community on the blockchain, shifting how design and architecture is made, owned and collected.
Founded by four Melbourne entrepreneurs - Chris Stribley, Domenic Cerantonio, AJ Batra and Anmol Sekhon - SOFA uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to turn products of architecture and design into tokenized and investable assets that are unique, scarce, and transferable. All of which provide a plethora of digital and physical utility and have the potential to be on-sold for longer term gain.
All aspects of society today are becoming increasingly more digital. Our interconnectedness and speed at which we are able to search and transfer information have made us more accustomed to exploring new ways that technology can impact our lives. Over the last few years, the rise of bitcoin, blockchain, and now the metaverse, has caused architects and designers to reconsider the notion of physical and virtual space. But beyond that, there’s an “in-between” of spaces that will be designed to support the technological escapism that the metaverse and web3 offer. While these virtual worlds are on the frontier of the digitization of everything, architects will play a huge part in designing the real-world physical spaces that can support them.
Michael Beneville opened his studio in the Flatiron district of New York City a decade ago. The renovated two-floor office has 20-foot-high ceilings, custom furniture, and a wall of arched windows that look out onto 19th Street. Beneville and his team haven’t been inside the studio together on a regular basis for months—at least not physically. The employees of the small creative studio, known for its design work on immersive experiences like Las Vegas’s mega–entertainment complex AREA15, are scattered across the country due to the pandemic, but they regularly gather in a virtual replica of the studio for meetings, sitting around a digital table, their avatars carrying digital cups of coffee.
Over the past year, NFTs have entered the realm of architecture, prompting conversations over the role of the profession in the future digital economy. From the design of digital real-estate to exhibitions and architecture events exploring its value for the practice and established architecture firms embracing the new medium, NFTs have been embraced by the profession as the promise of a new form of creative production. Discover a round-up of architecture's experiments with NFTs so far, together with a series of Archdaily articles shedding light on the topic.
Nike recently acquired RTFKT, a design studio that was founded in Jan 2020, and is known for its virtual “metaverse-ready sneakers and collectibles”. Metaverse land purchases are making headlines with multi-million dollar price tags. We’ve also seen mainstream adoption for NFT art this year and the sales are expected to surge to $17.7 billion by the end of 2021.
Beneath the hype and frenzy, we can spot a fundamental shift that unlocks a new creator economy. It provides the creators with direct access to the market, builds ongoing relationships with fans, and unites strangers in self-governed communities. In this article, we will discuss why every 3D designer/architect should embrace the Web 3.0 movement to adopt a new business logic and benefit from the creator economy in the metaverse?