Introduction to Virtual Reality

A walk through the Roman Colosseum in 72 A.D. is an impossible feat. The ruins of today were functional structures of a forgotten Era. But what if we could explore the Colosseum as it stood back in its day? With the Oculus goggles, students of the University of Miami can experience that “reality” from their classrooms. This is only possible through the game-changing technology of the metaverse. 

What is the Metaverse?

Metaverse is a euphemism for an immersive, hyper-realistic virtual world where people coexist as their chosen avatars. This term was first used by the author Neal Stephenson in his book ‘Snowcrash’ published in 1992. It is centered around the protagonist ‘Hiro,’ a pizza delivery boy who is a samurai in the virtual world called the metaverse in the story. The game’ Second Life’ simulates the real world, where the users create their avatars and socialize in the virtual world. However, this game has not succeeded in unifying the real and virtual worlds. 

Metaverse Architecture 

Metaverse architecture involves creating virtual spaces to be experienced digitally. The scope is not limited to architects; it can be open to all fields of design, mainly 3D and graphic designers. Architecture in the metaverse knows no conventional barriers. With a free hand given to any creative mind up to the task, these virtual spaces can trigger a transcendental experience for the user. 

A gap will be created between conventional architects and the architects of the metaverse. Architecture, as we know it, mainly acts as a facilitator for our daily lives. The metaverse will be different. Architecture in the metaverse will work to integrate knowledge connected to various fields, such as user interface, content, and character design, among others. 

Our perception of the world is no longer what it once was. The possibilities of the metaverse will accentuate this change. Architecture must also work to integrate digital elements with our physical world. It can act as a trendsetter when it comes to designing homes, cities, or whole new worlds. With a myriad of resources at the disposal of the new Era of designers, the possibilities are endless. 


The popularity of virtual environments is growing by the day with technology becoming more sophisticated. As a result, companies are racing to create platforms to attract people to various aspects of the metaverse. For some companies such as, Microsoft Mesh, and Facebook’s Horizon Worlds, it is an extension of their everyday work life. The avatars of the employees can interact virtually in bright modern environments or landscapes from the comfort of their homes or offices.

In which half do we reside- Architecture in Metaverse or Metaverse in Architecture. - Sheet1
Avatars can meet to work on crypto projects together_©

Zaha Hadid Architects has designed a “cyber-urban” city, Liberland in the metaverse where users purchase land with cryptocurrency and explore virtual spaces as their avatars. Once inside the incubator, they can tour the built fabric, which includes a city hall, plaza, and exhibition centre. 

In which half do we reside- Architecture in Metaverse or Metaverse in Architecture. - Sheet2
Liberland by ZHA_©

All buildings are designed with curvaceous, sinuous forms and rounded corners. In addition, many buildings have elements not supported from the ground – something that is impossible with gravity in the real world.

The city hall, which is the city’s central urban heart, has a terraced walkway that wraps around the building. Inside, benches are arranged in a horseshoe configuration, and the Liberland flag can be seen hanging on the wall.

In which half do we reside- Architecture in Metaverse or Metaverse in Architecture. - Sheet3
City Hall_©

It is speculated that in the future, people will experience multiple interoperable metaverses which can connect to one another in the tapestry of digital space. This will be powered by the blockchain and on-platform currencies that power their meta economics. 

Architects and engineers have dictated the built environment around us since time immemorial. Complexities of the physical environment, such as regulations, bye-laws, and zoning, are why not every designer can build a skyscraper. However, the metaverse is a creative reinterpretation of our built fabric. Everyone can be a part of this new world irrespective of designation. 

An End to Barriers

The metaverse has seen an end to barriers of gravity and material constraints. Factors such as structure, materiality, and cost go to waste,” says Leon Rost, director of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), which has worked on some virtual projects for clients. When stylistic restrictions are eliminated, boundaries of space planning can be pushed beyond imagination. For example, BIG partnered with UNStudio to develop a virtual meeting platform called SpaceForm, where people can collaborate in real-time inside futuristic rooms with holographic tables that display 3D renderings and data visualizations. 


Designing these new spaces of tomorrow is not a skill limited to architects. Developers can code them with no formal design experience. While some architects may consider this as a threat to their profession, it has the potential to question who can participate in the design process. Zaha Hadid Architects have embraced this new technology and presented NFTism, a virtual art gallery that explores interaction of people’s avatars and architecture in the metaverse. 


Architecture is what brings the metaverse to life. It is a representation of our built fabric, which designers push beyond conventional boundaries. It is difficult to imagine the metaverse replacing traditional architecture, but it will birth new ideas of what can exist in the world as we know it. Fiction is soon becoming a reality through the technological benefits the metaverse offers. Architecture in the metaverse will ultimately become a reality beyond anything imaginable in the current technological state of our world. Notions of fiction have forever changed. Architecture will have to become a part of this whole new world. As creators of the built environment, the constraints for better design have the potential to be obliterated. All that we are left with is design in the purest form, with no barriers of any kind.


Schumacher, P. (2022) The metaverse as opportunity for Architecture and Society: Design Drivers, Core Competencies – Architectural Intelligence, SpringerLink. Springer Nature Singapore. Available at:,architects%20rather%20than%20graphic%20designers 

Designing the metaverse: What is metaverse architecture? (2022) Hommés Studio | Modern Interior Design. Available at: 

The metaverse is a game changer for architects (2023) University of Miami News and Events. Available at: 

 Matoso, M. (2022) Metaverse: A fertile ground for architects?, ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at: 

Alice Finney |11 March 2022 Leave a comment (2022) Zaha Hadid architects designs virtual liberland metaverse city, Dezeen. Available at: 

Image citations 


Kaira is an architect, artist, writer, and the occasional dancer. Her passion lies in design that promises future generations a better tomorrow. She believes that we can shape a stronger society through our architecture. Her writings are a reflection of these inner thoughts.