Author Image Robbie King

Robbie King

Aug 2 2022

Metaverse Architecture: Why It's So Key and Who's Behind It

Real architecture that looks like metaverse architecture
Categories: Metaverse, Architecture, Web 3.0.
It’s official, we now have
architects designing buildings specifically for the Metaverse
. This makes total sense. The Metaverse is growing, new environments are being built, and they need to be designed. Or do they? Is there really a need for good metaverse design? Does it make sense for talented people to pour hours of creativity into virtual architecture? It’s not like the Metaverse is providing living space for real humans.
Still, whilst the Metaverse may not be physically “real”, it does offer many of the same things the real world does. In the following blog, we break down why metaverse architects are “meant to be”, look at some of the most prominent virtual architecture projects to date, and take a look at how VerseProp is contributing to the world of metaverse architecture.

Why high-quality metaverse architecture is a no-brainer

There is no doubt that the design of the spaces we spend our time in can influence our psyche. Buildings can make us feel good, bad, focused, anxious, lazy, energized, and everything else in between. Anyone serious about the Metaverse approaches it from the same viewpoint, and sees good metaverse architecture as an inevitability.

    The metaverse is going to be big and it needs to be designed
We can see the Metaverse blossoming before our very eyes, but is anyone responsible for designing it? If it really is going to be a brand new world, then we need to be careful. Otherwise, it could end up being more congested than LA during rush hour and more depressing than a dystopian sci-fi novel.
Much of the Metaverse has been designed by any user or developer that felt like having a go (i.e. people with zero experience in urban or interior design, ergonomics etc..) Granted, the rules will be slightly different in the Metaverse. But we still need to design with the end user front of mind. Architects are some of the best people to do that.

    We’re growing more digital and remote
It started with websites. Many brick-and-mortar businesses that went online around the turn of the millennium welcomed serious profits. When the pandemic hit, the businesses that were already remote work ready gained a serious upper hand. Despite the pandemic being over, many of its practices remain; hybrid/remote working and video calls are used by almost every medium and large business. This lubricates the international job market: businesses can now easily hire from wherever they can find the best talent, provided their new employee has a stable internet connection.
This new online environment does need work. Remote/hybrid work has come at the expense of a collaborative office culture; the backbone of many businesses. But this is where the Metaverse can help — putting distant co-workers in the virtual office together. Metaverse architects will be key to optimising metaverse offices through skilled space planning and tasteful interior design.
They’ll be equally important for any brand that wants to expand into the Metaverse in style. If a high fashion brand wants to open a metaverse flagship store, or a fine art exhibition needs to be put on, then metaverse architects will be instrumental in making sure the design environment ticks the right boxes.

    Architects have been designing digitally for years
Let’s briefly disregard the demand for metaverse architecture and consider the supply. Architects are used to pre-visualizing their work using digital 3D renders. This means there’s next to no learning curve for keen metaverse architects. In an industry that’s only just been born, we’ve already got a large pool of experts.

    It’s all architecture, zero physics
Continuing with our ease of adoption theme, the second reason why virtual architecture will be so easy for architects to embrace is that it’ll just be easier! There’s no mathematics to wrestle with. No building loads. No back and forth with engineers. Just pure, unrestrained creativity. Besides
limits on height
, there’s also less red tape to contend with. Well, for now at least.

    It can be a more attractive business model
Architecture can be tough. Building can be stressful, with complicated planning and construction approval processes, tight budgets, long delays, and uncertainty at every turn. Clients can be difficult too and much of the best work never even gets made. With metaverse architecture though, architects can easily offer their buildings pre-made. They may even wish to create a design that can be copied, pasted, and licensed. The designer can then earn money from their work without stress or sacrificing any additional time, whilst retaining recognition for the work.

    It can support real-life architecture
Even if things don’t fully take off, metaverse concerts don’t become a thing, and people stop visiting
the metaverse Nike store
, metaverse architecture can be utilized to help real-world activities. Globally recognised practice Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) believes that the Metaverse can blend with the physical office of tomorrow to optimize the virtual/physical office relationship.
Another boost to the real world that metaverse architecture offers is its ability to mimic real-world cities. Architects and designers are recreating cities brick by brick so that they can simulate and monitor real-world activity. These
digital twins
can do things like help predict traffic, or run a disaster scenario. It’s essentially an urban planner’s dream.

Notable metaverse architecture projects

Although metaverse architecture is in its infancy, there have been some well-publicised efforts to date. From notable individual projects to dedicated metaverse studios, these are the notable projects within the nascent industry so far.

    The Mars House
As much a work of art than anything else, the metaverse artist Krista Kim created
Mars House
and sold it for over $500,000. This was the first of its kind. A digital home, sold as an NFT. Kim has been dubbed “the new digital Rothko” by Forbes magazine and is one of the biggest boundary pushers in terms of making the Metaverse a space for art and creativity.

London-based studio Grimshaw Architects, famous for its commitment to humane design and sustainability, has been approached by the
pax.world metaverse
to create four “metaserai.” These will serve as central points for users to gather and interact with each other. I.e city centers. In the words of Grimshaw Chairman Andrew Whalley:
“We see the Metaverse as offering an incredible opportunity to build on the global connectivity of digital platforms while reintroducing the social sense of connectivity from a shared environment.”

One of architecture’s biggest names, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is designing an entire city within the appropriately named “
” metaverse platform. The shape of the city’s borders actually mimics the borders of The Free Republic of Liberland. This micronation has a pretty interesting
but to give you the cliff notes, it’s a piece of disputed land, between Serbia and Croatia, claimed by neither country.
Liberland is still aiming to have one foot firmly in reality. Despite looking futuristic, the buildings ZHA is designing are meant to be interacted with as though they were in the real world. ZHA doesn’t want the metaverse to be an escapist experience, but rather a functional environment for business, education, socialising, etc. As opposed to the fantasy, videogame-esque world that seems to be the direction most
metaverse platforms
are going in.
ZHA wants the Metaverse to transform work lives the world over. The firm’s belief is that now’s the perfect time, both technologically, economically, and socially, for moving to the Metaverse.

This is the first metaverse office from innovative Danish practice Bjarke/Ingels Group (BIG). Created for Vice Media Group in Decentraland, this is designed to serve as Vice’s virtual headquarters. The plan is for it to be a virtual innovation lab where employees and clients worldwide can meet. There are also plans to use it as a place to conduct research into how digital communities work.

    Roar’s new shop
Roar, an Emirati architecture firm, has bought two plots of land in Decentraland for 18,600 MANA. The plan is to create a metaverse architecture showroom and studio that both designs and develops property in the Metaverse. Pallavi Dean, founder and creative director at Roar, wants the architecture world to view these forays into the Metaverse as an extension of their current work, and not a deviation or disruption.
“This is not unchartered territory for us. Designing with AR and VR is second nature, it’s how we work, they’re the tools of our trade. Traditionally we would hand the designs to engineers and builders to create a physical space — the metaverse simply cuts out that part of the process”.

    The Skyscraper Collection
This NFT project
, a collaboration between renowned architecture practice PLP Architecture and a certain virtual real estate platform called “VerseProp” aims to help establish architecture as a key element of the Metaverse’s evolution, and help those interested in both digital and physical real estate to learn more about the impact of Web 3.0 on the architecture industry. The project offers the opportunity to own one of 5000 unique images depicting a piece of metaverse architecture, designed by PLP. It also gives owners access to a range of utilities; from discounts on metaverse real estate purchases to a bespoke piece of metaverse architecture. Full details available by signing up to our list below.

Final thoughts

The advent of metaverse architecture shouldn’t be underestimated. For the first time in history, we’ll have buildings without boundaries. This could create a whole new generation of architects that deviate from traditional forms of architectural education and practice.
In the Metaverse, the definition of architecture could even change. With the need for buildings to facilitate shelter and other real world functions removed, suddenly architects are tasked with simply providing enjoyable experiences. They could essentially become artists. This new sector of the design industry is exactly what VerseProp and PLP Architecture are seeking to explore with The Skyscraper Collection.
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