Architects design physical buildings in the real world and the metaverse is 100% virtual. But, some think that the metaverse could change the profession of architecture as we know it. Will architects be interacting with the metaverse? How could the metaverse change architecture?
What Is the Metaverse?
The metaverse isn’t actually all that new. First coined in 1992, in the fiction novel “Snow Crash”, the metaverse is a virtual and immersive world.
The game Roblox, created in 2013, gives players the ability to play and build in the metaverse. Fortnite, another game, also exists in the metaverse. Some describe the metaverse as the next iteration, or evolution, of the internet.
Why are we suddenly hearing about the metaverse when it has been around for a while? What changed? Simple, the announcement that Facebook would change to Meta. This name changed signaled to all that Facebook, or Meta, thinks the metaverse is going to be huge.
New Playground for Architects?
Big architects like Patrik Schumacher, the principal of Zaha Hadid Architects, think the metaverse is going to be a big deal for architects. He is calling the metaverse the next playground for architects.
The owner of the blog and YouTube channel Blessedarch, Rishabh Wadhwa, reminds us in this video that the metaverse won’t have the same rules of reality. Gravity and other rules of physics won’t be a thing architects will have to contend with in the metaverse. And building codes definitely won’t be a concern.
Rishabh Wadhwa isn’t alone in thinking that the metaverse will be a big deal for architects. Studies are being done, like this one done by Nottingham Trent University in 2020. In this study, the author, A. Moneta, tries to understand the architect’s role in the metaverse.
The author concluded that the metaverse is an important personal and collective space that has the ability to be shaped by us and shape us. Given this importance, architecture is needed to bring continuity across the metaverse. The author also noted that the metaverse will also provide architects with a valuable distance learning tool and encourages architects to embrace this new technology and the challenge it brings.
How Could the Metaverse Change Architecture?
The bad news? This could change the concept of architecture. Will architects in the metaverse need a license since there is no threat to public safety? The metaverse could cause a split between metaverse architects and real-world architecture, with changes to architecture education to accommodate this split.
It could also change who the big-name architects are and what they look like. Currently, most big architects are older, as it takes years to build your firm and brand. Since buildings in the metaverse can be designed and built in a day, will we see younger big-name architects?
Rishabh Wadhwa with Blessedarch thinks it’s possible that the metaverse will mainly become a part of the design process for real world architecture. Meaning, for most professional architects the design in the metaverse won’t be the end game. In this case, will the metaverse change architecture? At this point, only time will tell.