Zaha Hadid Architects and ArchAgenda launch metaverse communication hub METROTOPIA at Venice


METROTOPIA, a unique metaverse enterprise intended to become the virtual communication center for the worldwide design community, is announced and launched by Zaha Hadid Architects and the Chicago-based architecture think tank ArchAgenda.

The Metrotopia Metaverse launches on the 18 May 2023 with the vernissage and opening of a virtual Venice Architecture Biennale exhibition entitled ‘Knowledge Transfer’ displaying current works from some of the world’s leading architecture studios including OMA, Morphosis, Coop Himmelb(l)au, UnStudio, MAD, Sou Fujimoto, Archi-Union, LAVA, CAP, EcoLogic Studio, Minimaforms and ZHA.

The exhibition relates to Lesley Lokko’s overall topic for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023, “The Laboratory of the Future.” Metrotopia is a part of the Architecture Biennale collateral event that includes CityX, a swarm of virtual pavilions hovering above Venice showcasing the research work of architecture teachers from around the world, as well as a physical exhibition at Palazzo Ca Zenobio hosted by the New York Institute of Technology and showcasing student works from many architecture schools. Later this year, Metrotopia will also contribute to the Chicago Architectural Biennial.

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.”

Metrotopia Metaverse is a multi-player virtual environment built with Unreal Engine 5, featuring spatial sound for realistic communicative interaction within a lifelike 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.

Metrotopia aspires to be a virtual city and creative culture-industry hub for the larger design ecosystem, bringing together all design disciplines such as urban design, architecture, interiors, furniture design, product design, fashion design, graphic design, as well as related schools, galleries, museums, exhibitions, Design weeks, Biennales, awards, and conferences, as well as related publishing houses, magazines, and web-media.

Metrotopia’s first incubator building and an initial urban core have been designed by ZHA with intervisible spaces now available. More architects and interior designers will soon come together to create a diverse, multi-authored cityscape delivering the kind of co-location synergies we cherish in the most vibrant city districts.

Schumacher elaborates, “While we are transferring the technology developed by the gaming industry, Metrotopia leaves all associations with video gaming behind. Our audience is 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.

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