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The Upcoming Architects' Realm, Metaverse

Let's admit it: we're all fascinated about the metaverse and the possibilities it holds, especially after Mark Zuckerberg unveiled it in October 2021. Have you considered how various components of the metaverse pervade the fields of architecture and design? This article aims to provide an answer to that question.

Foremost, what is the metaverse?

Metaverse is a virtual world that combines augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video, and other kinds of communication in an online environment. Users in the metaverse interact with one another, using avatars and virtual reality technology to "live" in a digital domain. By adopting distinct digitalized avatars, this technology allows people to live parallel lives.

Indeed, the notion of the metaverse has been around for a long time. An American author named Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel initially proposed the concept "Snow Crash" in 1992. It reflected the idea of a soon-to-be-born digital world. Stephenson is currently employed by Magic Leap, where he is assisting in the creation of the metaverse.

Projects that serve as foreshadowing

"Second Life" and "Roblox" were the first games to use the metaverse idea. Second Life is a virtual world game in which it granted players a second life. Users may explore breathtaking scenery, construct castles, woods, and spacecraft, create avatars, meet new people, shop, and engage in social activities. It was launched in 2003 and failed later because of hardware requirements, a lack of an intuitive interface, and other factors. 

Philip Rosedale, the creator of Linden Lab's virtual online world of Second Life, will return to the project as a strategic consultant to assist with the metaverse debut. Roblox is an odd game based in a vast open environment with lots of games. Since its beginning in 2004, the platform has grown to encompass 47 million daily active users and 9.5 million developers who make money by creating "experiences," or user-created settings and games.

Facebook Meta:

The metaverse, according to Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of the social media website Facebook and its parent company Meta (previously Facebook, Inc.), is the next phase in the evolution of social networking that intends to help individuals interact, build communities, and expand their businesses. It allows users to have immersive experiences in a virtual world where they may do whatever they want, including work, play, and socialize.

To represent this new area of his brand, he changed the name of his firm to "Meta." Zuckerberg considers the metaverse to be the start of a new age, predicting that it will reach 1 billion people in the next 10 years. This new world will not appear overnight, and architects as we know them today will be around for a long time.

Architects of the Metaverse:

It is impossible to deny that architects play a key role in the realization of inventive initiatives in the metaverse. People need locations in the metaverse, which causes the hiring of architects and designers to develop or improve these venues. However, as this new world expands, those we regard to be architects will most likely alter.

Because of the shift in architecture's aim, it's possible that we'll see a distinction between the titles of architect and meta architect emerge. Traditional architecture is important for providing shelter and enabling our daily activities, but meta architects will focus solely on form, geometry, and aesthetics.

Building for the metaverse may cause new talents and a shift of viewpoint for architects. Architects in the metaverse must undertake 3dmodeling and incorporate professional expertise from a variety of professions, including user interface, content design, character design, and even game design. And this will introduce a large number of individuals to the realm of architecture. 

Architectural design teams might include a wider spectrum of game designers and programmers. This new-age architectural design will involve a larger number of individuals. Aside from that, architecture education will need to educate this next generation of architects a mix of digital media and 3D technologies. This results in a move away from architectural history, building processes, and materials.

By providing a completely immersive environment that does not need physical presence, the virtual metaverse setting would be used to strengthen the interaction between architecture students and their professors and instructors. We will offer a practical framework for establishing interactive interactions, which may be applied by any architectural school.

BIM Models — NUS Baba House, Tanjong Pagar, Singapore

Furthermore, metaverse might also be a new frontier in architectural conservation. Since several buildings have collapsed by natural or man-made calamities, metaverse can be the platform where we preserve buildings inside this digital reality for the sake of future generations. It can be considered a way to express and explore the architectural heritage that allows users online to have an immersive interaction with the environment and each other.

Metaverse vs. actual architecture:

A metaverse and authentic architecture are not the same thing. The most significant distinction is the space's qualities. Regardless of how you engage with a location, it exists in a natural setting. In a virtual environment, however, each location has a rationale or a tale. That reason is one of the most important aspects of the virtual environment.

In addition, no real-life rules or restrictions such as gravity, structural stability, climatic issues, or physical laws will be at play in the metaverse. Therefore, architects have the freedom to overcome the existing conditions and create exceptional environments and authentic pieces of art. Not all five senses are included in the metaverse architecture. 

As a result, the mood is created with fewer sources, and visual and auditory elements are emphasized more. Finally, whereas visualizations are made in present architecture to convey the ambience and features of the space to the audience prior to construction, in the metaverse, the entire environment is constructed with the same amount of time and effort spent just on visualization.

Metaverse's Advantages and Disadvantages in Architecture:

Courtesy of Plethora-project

Metaverse is regarded as both beneficial and detrimental for architects. For instance, a digital twin of an actual project can be created in the virtual environment of the metaverse, in which clients have the authority to live there for a month to see if they enjoy the space before building it. Another benefit of this new realm for architecture would be the capacity it gives to people of all ages to make a name in the architecture industry. Comparing it to the most famous architects of the natural world who are pretty old because it takes years to build projects is a real benefit. However, as metaverse architects working in front of computer screens for long hours, it's harmful to our circadian rhythm in the long term.

New business opportunities

The world around us is changing, and all of this has been accelerated with the popularity of NFTs. Companies are creating digital assets with significant values since they are scarce, just as regular assets in life. Platforms like Somnium Space and Decentraland have already started selling virtual parcels of land that people can own and build upon, resulting in a surge in the digital real estate field. Demand in meta-architectural firms has recently surpassed supply, providing new opportunities for architects to take part and design in this new digital world.

Design companies in the realm of the virtual world

Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects has teamed up with PUBG Mobile to build a virtual environment where gamers from all around the world may engage in interactive entertainment. It's a place where up to 100 people battle it out in a visually and technically impressive battleground.

Courtesy of ILLUSORR

ILLUSORR is a design-focused metaverse that brings the physical and virtual worlds together to create unique landscapes and experiences. It aspires to reimagine the formerly fragmented virtual reality industry as an all-in-one platform that offers a fully immersive metaverse experience to businesses, creatives, and people.

Decentraland Architects

Decentraland Architects are a virtual world based on the blockchain that was established in March 2021. Customers may use their 3d design and architectural services to create and develop professional virtual real estate. Users may buy parcels and plots of land with the in-game coin Mana and spend their time in an immersive world. Taking everything into account, how we envision our future home, the metaverse, is largely determined by how effectively the places are constructed. As a result, architects will be at the groundbreaking of the metaverse, delivering extremely desired spatial attributes for millions of users.

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article by Amit Caesar:

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