London-based global architecture brand Zaha Hadid Architects and Chicago-based architecture think tank ArchAgenda announce and launch METROTOPIA, a unique metaverse venture dedicated to become the go-to virtual communication hub for the global design community.
The Metrotopia Metaverse launched on the 18th of May with the vernissage and opening of a Virtual Venice Architecture Biennale show entitled ‘Knowledge Transfer’ displaying current architectural designs from some of the worlds leading architecture firms, including OMA, Morphosis, Coop Himmelb(l)au, UnStudio, MAD, Sou Fujimoto, Archi-Union, LAVA, CAP, EcoLogic Studio and ZHA a.o. The exhibition responds to this year’s overarching theme ‘The Laboratory of the Future’ put forward by Lesley Lokko, for the 18th Biennale Architettura. The Metrotopia show is a segment of a Venice Biennale collateral event that includes CityX, a swarm of virtual pavilions hovering above Venice showing the research work of architecture teachers from around the world, as well as a physical exhibition at Palazzo Ca Zenobio in Venice hosted by NYIT, showing student work from many schools of architecture. Metrotopia will also contribute to the Chicago Architecture Biennial later this year.
ZHA principal Patrik Schumacher explains: “We have invited leading firms to feature their most future-oriented work inside Metrotopia. Some of us noted that recent Biennales diverged from presenting the major architectural designs of our time. Our idea therefore is to foreground architecture’s actual contribution to urban development, in its most advanced incarnations.”
What is Metrotopia? The Metrotopia Metaverse is multi-player virtual environment built with Unreal Engine 5, featuring spatial sound for life-like communicative interaction within a photorealistic setting that allows the character and quality of designed objects and spaces to be faithfully visualized. Metrotopia’s technology partner and hosting platform is Mytaverse.
What is the mission of Metrotopia? The ambition of Metrotopia is to become a virtual city as a creative culture-industry hub for the wider design ecosystem, bringing together all designers and design brands, including urban design, architecture, interior design, furniture design, product design, fashion design, graphic design, plus related schools, galleries, museums, exhibitions, Design weeks, Biennales, awards, conferences etc., as well as related publishing houses, magazines and web-media. The first incubator building and an initial urban core has been designed by ZHA, offering great, intervisible spaces to be leased right now. However, many architects and interior designers will soon come together to create a lively, diverse multi-author cityscape delivering the kind of co-location synergies we cherish in the most vibrant city districts. Patrik Schumacher elaborates: “While we are transferring the technology developed by the gaming industry, our metaverse leaves all associations with video-gaming behind. Our audience are creative professionals looking to expand their cultural communication, global reach and ways of displaying, networking, and collaborating within Metrotopia. Early adopters are those in the ecosystem who are pioneering Web 3.0 via NFTs, or via metaverse designs. But there can be no doubt that the metaverse as immersive web enabling spatial browsing navigation, real-time multi-user interaction and crowd experiences will take off with everybody onboarding soon enough. Once adoption crosses a certain threshold irresistible network effects will be unleashed. Metrotopia stands ready to anticipate and embrace this moment.”
note: the designs (Z-Car, Z-boat, Belu shown in Kenny Schachter’s NFTism Gallery are designs created in a collaboration between Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) and Zaha Hadid Design (ZHD).