Is Metaverse… virtual the future architecture?

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Over the past ten years, architectural agencies have begun to familiarize themselves with virtual models and BIM. But now comes the metaverse … Will the temptation of virtual architecture allow us to rediscover the space of creative freedom?

What is the metaverse?* It is presented to us as the ultimate success of the Internet, the development of a universe similar to the real world where everyone can move around, acquire things, live in everyday experiences .. . ‘heard. Equipped with a virtual reality headset, once you cross the metaverse barrier, you will be able to create your own life.

So you can choose the fate of a multi-billionaire with luxurious assets, available staff, from behind the couch of your 35 m² HLM … If you take off your helmet, the shock can be very strong!

If at first glance, all the failures of this new universe are obvious, along with the attacks on the psychological integrity of users that result from this lark mirror, the fact remains that these new three- dimensional space is an architectural space and, thus. , shouldn’t architects take up this topic?

I have always thought that the advent of BIM for architects was the beginning of the loss of the idea that “ Each building is a prototype », Famous saying that deserves to justify all malfunctions and poor workmanship of a building at the time of its delivery. BIM is a source of industry -developed tools to reduce prototyping costs before going into production. Manufacturers, accustomed to making prototypes of their creations to reduce the risk of malfunction during mass production, quickly understood the interest in making a virtual prototype, which was much less expensive. and faster to use than an actual prototype.

At present it should be recognized that, having reached the level of complexity of our buildings, there are rare cases where integral prototyping has proven to be profitable prior to construction because the building does not reflect the total cost. However, the time to create a virtual prototype is very close to the construction time required by the building.

So the interest is not for the industrialist above but below, to take advantage of the building, the operator having to go through many years more or less embarrassing dysfunctions. Recently, however, clients have stopped launching construction on their new projects until the last minute: they have tightened study deadlines, construction deadlines, and so on. As, usually, they are not the future operators, if the spaces are not fully adapted to use …

Our digital models have not yet revealed their full potential: here again, it is rare to have future users survey the building. In theory, however, it would simply pour the model into the metaverse, giving its address to users who, wearing their virtual reality helmets, could walk the corridors and rooms of their future universe.

Of course, an architect can imagine the worst, with the risk that the client or the company will interfere with all the details of the project. But this tool can also make it possible to ” sale »Architectural fixtures that seem vague in a plan: a triple-height atrium is easier to sell if it is inhabited than drawn in a plan! It is also possible to imagine that the metaverse would make it possible to test these devices and analyze how users perceive them. A kind of area of ​​research and experimentation where architects model spaces so that they can be tested by everyone and thus collect the feelings of a large population. Thus it may be easier to propose, for example, dwellings that are closer to population expectations and undoubtedly more intelligent than the simple normative application it makes today.

It also allows to visualize areas of sensory experimentation related to research, especially medical, making it possible to analyze how architectural spaces influence our psychic state, and thus be enforce it on physical buildings. .

The goal of the architecture remains to create real and concrete spaces and, despite the constant increase in pressure on the constraints of construction work – justify the small gram of material used, its environmental impact, its carbon. footprint, the energy balance of each m² produced, the full control of light contribution is not in relation to a quality of space but in relation to an average standard, the inclusive will tendency to produce a smooth architecture without roughness, etc. – the temptation of virtuality will finally make it possible to find a space of creative freedom! Plus, there are no financial limits!

It may be possible to imagine poetic and lyrical areas without the risk of being imposed by a budget cut or any normative dogma.

So, is the future of metaverse architecture? In any case, architects should go for it, starting perhaps with architectural schools! If this parallel universe is to be created by computer scientists, it is not certain that soon it will not be hell. But maybe this is the final vocation?

Stephane Vedrenne
Urbanist architect

Find all Cronicas by Stéphane Védrenne

*Also read our Hell or Paradise? In the metaverse, nothing is real, other than clones of FL Wright

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