METROTOPIA is a novel endeavour in the metaverse that has been announced and launched by Zaha Hadid Architects and ArchAgenda, which is situated in Chicago. METROTOPIA is geared toward becoming the virtual communication hub for the international design community.
The vernissage and opening of a virtual Venice Architecture Biennale exhibition called “Knowledge Transfer” will mark the launch of the Metrotopia Metaverse on May 18, 2023. The exhibition will feature current works from some of the world’s leading architecture studios, such as OMA, Morphosis, Coop Himmelb(l)au, UnStudio, MAD, Sou Fujimoto, Archi-Union, LAVA, CAP, EcoLogic Studio, and ZHA.
“The Laboratory of the Future” is the overarching concept that was proposed by Lesley Lokko for the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, and this show is a response to that theme. A portion of the collateral event known as the Architecture Biennale is known as Metrotopia. This portion of the event includes CityX, which is a swarm of virtual pavilions that are floating above Venice and displaying the research work of architecture educators from all over the world. Additionally, there is a physical exhibition at Palazzo Ca Zenobio that is being hosted by the New York Institute of Technology and displaying student works from numerous schools of architecture. In the latter part of this year, Metrotopia will also make a contribution to the Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Patrik Schumacher, a principal at ZHA, offers this explanation: “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.”
The Metrotopia Metaverse is a multi-player virtual environment that was created using Unreal Engine 5. It features spatial sound for realistic communicative engagement within a lifelike setting, which enables the personality and quality of designed objects and settings to be depicted in an accurate manner. Mytaverse serves as both a technological partner and a hosting platform for Metrotopia.
In its pursuit to become a virtual city and a creative culture-industry hub for the larger design ecosystem, Metrotopia brings together all design disciplines. These include urban design, architecture, interiors, furniture design, product design, fashion design, and graphic design. Also included are related schools, galleries, museums, exhibitions, Design weeks, Biennales, awards, and conferences, as well as related publishing houses, magazines, and web-media.
ZHA has built the first incubator building and an initial urban centre for Metrotopia, and there are now available intervisible spaces in the building. Soon, an increased number of architects and interior designers will collaborate to produce a cityscape that is multi-authored and diverse. This cityscape will give the kind of co-location synergies that are prized in the most active city districts.
Schumacher provides further explanation, saying, “While we are transferring the technology developed by the gaming industry, Metrotopia 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. While early adopters have been those in the ecosystem who are pioneering Web 3.0 via NFTs, or via metaverse designs, there can be no doubt that the metaverse as an immersive web that enables 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.”
18 May virtual launch event within Metrotopia Metaverse:
• 17:00 – 18:00 CEST: Press Preview with contributors
• 18:00 – 19:00 CEST: Vernissage
• 19:00 – 21:00 CEST: Panel Discussion with editors and authors of ‘Five Critical Essays on the Crit’. Penny Lewis, Patrik Schumacher, Alex Cameron. Moderated by Austin Williams
19 May conversation at Palazzo Ca Zenobio, Venice:
• 14.00 – 15.00 CEST: Reinier de Graaf discusses his new book ‘architect, verb’ with Patrik Schumacher (this public event will be live-streamed to Metrotopia)