Zaha Hadid Architects and ArchAgenda have joined forces to introduce METROTOPIA, an innovative metaverse venture aimed at becoming the central virtual communication hub for the global design community. METROTOPIA was inaugurated with a virtual exhibition called “Knowledge Transfer” at the Venice Architecture Biennale.
The exhibition showcased the latest works from renowned architecture studios such as OMA, Morphosis, Coop Himmelb(l)au, UnStudio, MAD, Sou Fujimoto, Archi-Union, LAVA, CAP, EcoLogic Studio, and ZHA.
The exhibition, under the theme “The Laboratory of the Future” proposed by Lesley Lokko for the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, aligns with the overarching vision of METROTOPIA. As part of the Architecture Biennale collateral event, METROTOPIA includes CityX, a cluster of virtual pavilions floating above Venice, presenting research work from architecture educators worldwide.
Additionally, a physical exhibition at Palazzo Ca Zenobio, hosted by the New York Institute of Technology, showcases student projects from various architecture schools. METROTOPIA will also contribute to the upcoming Chicago Architecture Biennial.
Patrik Schumacher, the principal of ZHA, elucidated, “We have invited leading firms to showcase their most forward-thinking work within METROTOPIA. We noticed that recent Biennales have deviated from presenting the significant architectural designs of our time. Therefore, our aim is to highlight architecture’s actual contribution to urban development in its most advanced forms.”
METROTOPIA is a multiplayer virtual environment powered by Unreal Engine 5, offering spatial sound for realistic communicative interaction within a lifelike setting. This immersive platform enables the faithful visualization of designed objects and spaces. Mytaverse serves as the technology partner and hosting platform for METROTOPIA.
With the ambition to evolve into a virtual city and creative culture-industry hub for the broader design ecosystem, METROTOPIA brings together all design disciplines, including urban design, architecture, interiors, furniture design, product design, fashion design, graphic design, as well as related institutions like schools, galleries, museums, exhibitions, design weeks, biennales, awards, conferences, publishing houses, magazines, and web media.
ZHA has designed the first incubator building and initial urban core for METROTOPIA, featuring intervisible spaces that are now accessible. Other architects and interior designers will soon collaborate to create a diverse, multi-authored cityscape that fosters synergies reminiscent of vibrant city districts.
Schumacher further elaborated, “While we draw on technology developed by the gaming industry, METROTOPIA transcends any associations with video gaming. Our audience comprises creative professionals seeking to expand their cultural communication, global reach, and innovative ways of displaying, networking, and collaborating.”
“While early adopters have been pioneers in the ecosystem, exploring Web 3.0 through NFTs or metaverse designs, it is undeniable that the metaverse, as an immersive web enabling spatial browsing navigation, real-time multi-user interaction, and crowd experiences, will soon attract widespread interest. Once adoption reaches a certain threshold, irresistible network effects will be unleashed. METROTOPIA stands ready to anticipate and embrace this pivotal moment.”