The importance of architects in virtual environments

Main image: Rendering of Liberland by Zaha Hadid Architects

In the physical world, architects need a broadened scope of design and critical thinking skills are required. This time-consuming field of expertise needs to compete with the changing world. Technology is progressing and architects must adapt, restructure or reinvent from industry to academics. The metaverse is a new playground in which architects and other interested parties can participate and adapt to the shifting technological and social climates.

The link between real and virtual reality

Architects have been the designers of physical environments; now they have an opportunity to build a bridge between the real and virtual worlds. Architects could use simulations to construct virtual versions of the real world.

We need experiences such as virtual amusement parks, virtual movie theatres, virtual concerts, virtual casinos, virtual schools, and virtual conferences – anything you can imagine. For architects, the metaverse is a virgin territory full of possibilities. For this, we need architects for all the necessary construction.

As the metaverse is not geographically bound, its users come from a variety of cultural backgrounds, so we may create “vernacular” metaverses that are rich in diversity and cultural inclusion.

The importance of architecture

Architecture dates to prehistory and is as complex and long as the history of humanity. Now it needs to stretch its legs into the 21st century and the digital age. An unmaterial metaverse can be constructed if we can better define and implement the value of architecture.

Meta Modernism Architecture is an architectural movement, ideology, and trend based on fresh and novel virtual architecture design technology in multiple metaverses.

Opportunities for architects in the metaverse

For architects who are tired of the traditional modalities of working, the metaverse is a space filled with opportunities for them to realise their dream project with fewer constraints. Public spaces such as theatres, cinemas, concert venues, amusement parks, streets, and cities need to be established in the virtual world.

According to Eduard van Niekerk from EVN Architects, we will spend more time in the metaverse as it evolves with the development of advanced hardware and becomes more affordable. “It is a very immersive environment and an amazing opportunity for us architects to work outside of the normal restrictions such as gravity just to begin with. We are free from the usual material, time, and budgetary constraints too. It enables us to create rich spatial experiences in a cost-effective way that are widely and virtually accessible to more people.”

Eduard says it was apparent at a recent World Expo hosted in Asia that the prototypes for new hardware have already demonstrated new advanced features that not only tap into our visual and auditory senses but can also is already so advanced that it does not only tap visually into our senses, but we can also add scent, physical pressure, and tactility to the virtual experience. This creates a rich user experience, and it is evident that new technologies have become so advanced that is now can easily tap into our senses to create a very close to the realistic experience.

“There is still a lot to be said about the quality of the spatial experience available in the metaverse. Architects now have chance to add value to this brand-new landscape. If one is to reflect on the ancient civilisations and their available technologies and resulting architecture, I then wonder what this paradigm shift will bring to the profession and public at large. That is if we are to take the design challenge seriously. I can imagine that we will see a completely new array of ‘spatial typologies’ instead of the ‘building typologies’ as we know them.”

What role do architects play in the Metaverse?

The question of opportunities for architects may also be rephrased: can the metaverse exist without the input of architects?

If we are to take the evolutionary step forward from the current two-dimensional experience to something that is spatial, we will need trained design professionals to lead the way. Spatial design is a qualitative art form that has a subtle influence on one’s psyche and it takes practitioners many years to develop and perfect these skills. Therefore, the spatial dimension is not merely another dimension that is added to the existing internet experience but should rather be designed with specific needs and outcomes in mind.

Eduard explains, “Architecture since the first century BC has arguably been rooted in the Vitruvian principles of Firmitas, Utilitas, and Venustas. Now the playing field has changed. There is no requirement for Firmitas in the Metaverse, but the other two very important principles should remain for the Metaverse to be successful.”

Full acknowledgment and thanks go to for the information contained in this editorial. Contact Eduard van Niekerk at for more information.

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