Is Metaverse a fertile ground for future architects?
Extended reality (VR, AR, and BCI) technologies are gaining traction as metaverse computing platforms.
The term “metaverse” refers to a virtual environment that is immersive, collective, and hyper-realistic, in which individuals will be able to live together using 3D customizable avatars.
In his science fiction novel “Snow Crash,” published in 1992, writer Neal Stephenson coined the phrase. The work depicts the story of “Hiro Protagonist,” a figure who works as a pizza delivery boy in real life but is a samurai in the virtual world (dubbed “metaverse” in the story).
Some projects have attempted to construct a metaverse-like environment. Second life, a game developed by Liden Lab and published in 2003, is one of the most notable instances. The game is a three-dimensional virtual environment that simulates real-life situations. Users can make avatars and interact with one another. Thousands of people have played the game, but it has yet to integrate the actual and virtual worlds properly.
Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft are just a few examples of games that use the metaverse concept to include certain parts of this new environment. People in these games create their own characters, go on quests, form bonds with other players, and attend events. For example, Travis Scott held a concert inside Fortnite that 12.3 million people watched.
In October 2021, amidst the misunderstanding surrounding the phrase, Facebook Inc. announced that it would change its name to Meta (the social networks remain the same name).
The link between Facebook and the metaverse isn’t new, and the business interest isn’t either. The group bought Oculus in 2014, a business that develops virtual reality headsets, which are required to enter this new reality, which is still under construction.
The goal is for the metaverse to have its own virtual economy, with people being able to work, buy houses, buy clothes, attend parties, have meetings, and live their lives online. Every day, it becomes more real. This new reality requires the blockchain and the technologies that run on it, such as cryptos, NFTs, and others. Is this science fiction?
Blockchain has the potential to be the backbone of the metaverse economy. This technology, which debuted with Bitcoin at the end of 2008, allows for the generation of immutable records without the involvement of a third party and is a powerful instrument for platform governance — without the involvement of banks or governments.
As firms strive to construct platforms that will entice people to their separate corners of the metaverse, virtual environments are becoming increasingly prevalent and complex. Metaverse feels like an extension of work or life for systems like Spatial.io, Microsoft Mesh, and Facebook’s Horizon Worlds, where avatars can meet in bright modern environs or spooky encounter landscapes.
Mega-platforms such as The Sims, Minecraft, Second Life, and Roblox, on the other hand, have been creating enormous and immersive virtual worlds for years, allowing players to build their own structures and explore these ever-expanding environments.
People will no longer navigate a single metaverse but rather a several interoperable metaverses, each with the potential to connect to one another in a digital tapestry, and all driven by the blockchain and on-platform currencies that fuel their meta-economies.
There are valid reasons why not everyone is capable of constructing a skyscraper. Architects, engineers, and builders have primarily shaped the built environment for millennia. Regulations, zoning, accreditations, and best practices are all necessary safeguards in the physical world.
On the other hand, the metaverse is commonly regarded as a communal recounting of the constructed environment. It’s been compared to the Wild West, where anyone with a bit of cryptography and a pioneering spirit may plant their flag and develop their own chunk of the virtual world, whatever they choose.
Of course, the reality is far less egalitarian. Money, access, and information are increasingly mediated in the metaverse by the same factors that regulate real estate in the actual world. Speculative cryptocurrency speculators and real estate businesses are already buying up large swaths of “land” in the metaverse, where a square foot of virtual acreage may cost thousands of dollars.
The price of land on Decentraland, one of the largest metaverse platforms, has risen to over $10,000 in the game’s busiest virtual districts. Without regulations or constructive barriers, virtual land is used to construct virtual buildings, some of which are somewhat atypical of what we are used to.
The End of Obstacles
Gravity and material restrictions do not exist in the metaverse. By the way, things like structure, materiality, and cost go to waste,” explains Leon Rost, director of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), which has done several virtual projects for customers. This lack of aesthetic restraint has piqued the curiosity of architects who want to push the formal bounds of what space may be. BIG teamed up with UNStudio to create SpaceForm. This virtual meeting platform allows people to engage in real-time inside future rooms equipped with holographic tables that display 3D drawings and data visualizations.
These places are frequently developed and coded by users or developers that lack professional design training. Some architects may see this as an existential danger, but experts see it as a chance to rethink who can and should engage in the design process.
Some architects have taken use of the new possibilities and expanded their design horizons into the virtual realm. At Art Basel Miami, Zaha Hadid Architects debuted “NFTism,” a virtual art gallery that examines architecture and social interaction in the metaverse.
In a few fundamental ways, the micronation of Liberland does not exist. https://t.co/ObVwbRDFOt
— Fast Co. Tech (@FastCoTech) April 20, 2022
Inversion of the customer
Would the metaverse follow the same rules as the actual world when it comes to acquiring clients and projects?
Architects and designers in the real world rely on clients to get their businesses off the ground. While it may appear that architects spend most of their time designing buildings, in reality, the majority of an architect’s efforts are focused on seeking new clients and projects.
Regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, the metaverse’s creative economy can provide fair and ample chances for rising and/or minority designers. Users become owners, lowering customer acquisition expenses to near-zero levels. If you wish to create virtual experiences for businesses and landowners, you may even earn commissions.
We can only have one winning design in every design competition. Every designer has incredible plans sitting on their hard drives, waiting to be used. You can revive an exhibition of “unbuilt buildings” in the metaverse to share your creativity with the rest of the world.
Each specialty can develop its own society, form its own industrial chain, and attract people who share its interests.
Design and the Metaverse
What about in the field of design?
Nemo, a lighting design and technology company, stated earlier this year that it was the “first” design firm to break the NFT world — a type of non-fungible token that is encrypted and sold on platforms for usage in metaverse environments.
He did it with a collection by digital interior designer Luca Baldocchi. Baldocchi collaborated with Nemo on a “metaphysical direction” reinterpretation of some of the brand’s renowned physical lighting solutions.
Although the buyer may only be interested in the digital element, Nemo’s NFTs include rights to the associated drawings, renderings, and sketches, which help explain the story behind each part.
NFTs for furniture and lighting don’t have to match real-world physics, according to Palazzari, and Nemo’s NFTs are a good example. “The creative process, spontaneous and unplanned, mixes various unrelated components, finding equilibrium,” he explains, referring to the maximalist creations.
We must build a unique method of owning and curating goods and artworks and learn to love life in a digital realm. Luca Baldochi Luca Baldochi Luca Baldochi Luca Baldoch
The classics of Nemo were transplanted into surreal situations and unavoidably received a new power of speech – perhaps a discourse about the high-value relationship between reality and virtuality could be started.
Transport and the Metaverse
Even the transport world, as in the case of travel, can be altered by the entrance of this new way of interacting, living, and working.
Because of the trend of online collaboration technologies, intercity business travel has no long-term future. So everyone on board a future airplane will be leisure travelers of some sort, doing what leisure travelers do: engaging with people and places in ways that will not be quickly displaced by the metaverse, such as retreats and vacations, natural wonders, and gastronomy.
Because all travelers will be leisure travelers, airports and aircraft, railway and rail terminals, stations and capsules, and other transportation infrastructure and vehicles will adapt to reflect this.
Subways and light rail, which were built to transport people’s bodies to and from centralized urban hubs at predictable morning and night cadences, will struggle for relevance — and funding — with so much activity going on in the metaverse.
This isn’t to say that these systems will vanish entirely. Instead, the metaverse will aid in the transformation of its use. That’s because the metaverse entails constructing high-fidelity digital duplicates of the things we physically interact with — such as transportation infrastructure, which ranges from major highways and airports to bus stops and bike racks — and then administering them digitally.
At least in principle, this will result in a slew of new efficiencies. We will likely require less infrastructure as a result of these efficiencies, which implies we will not need to create or maintain as much infrastructure.
There’s still a lot to learn, comprehend, and research about how these effects will spread to places we can’t even envision.