METROTOPIA by Zaha Hadid Architects


Zaha Hadid Architects and Chicago-based ArchAgenda launch METROTOPIA, a unique metaverse venture dedicated to becoming the virtual communication hub for the global design community.

The Metrotopia Metaverse launched with 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 and ZHA.

The exhibition responds to the overarching theme of the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale put forward by Lesley Lokko, “The Laboratory of the Future”.

Metrotopia is a segment of the Architecture Biennale collateral event that includes CityX, a swarm of virtual pavilions hovering above Venice showing 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 presenting student works from many schools of architecture.

Metrotopia will also contribute to the Chicago Architecture Biennial later this year. 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 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.

Aspiring to become a virtual city and creative culture-industry hub for the wider design ecosystem, Metrotopia brings together all design disciplines including urban design, architecture, interiors, furniture design, product design, fashion design, graphic design, plus 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 has 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 are 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.” Source by Zaha Hadid Architects.

  • Location: Venice, Italy
  • Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects and ArchAgenda
  • Urban and Architectural Design of virtual environment lead: Patrik Schumacher
  • Metaverse Map Design ZHA CODE: Jennifer Durand, Shajay Bhooshan, Vishu Bhooshan, Henry David Louth
  • ZHVR: Jose Pareja Gomez
  • Exhibition building Levels Design ZHA CODE: Binru Wang, Jianfei Chu, Shajay Bhooshan, Vishu Bhooshan, Henry David Louth
  • ZHA IA: Bidisha Sinha, Chhavi Mehta, Marco Pavoni
  • Metaverse Integration for Unreal Engine ZHVR: Jose Pareja Gomez
  • ZHA CODE: Jennifer Durand, Keerti Manney
  • Metaverse Content Optimisation ZHA CODE: Sergio Mutis, Keerti Manney, Jennifer Durand, Taeyoon Kim, Ling Mao, Henry David Louth, Vishu Bhooshan
  • ZHVR: Jose Pareja Gomez
  • Documentation Graphics & Multimedia ZHVR: Jose Pareja Gomez
  • ZHA CODE: Taeyoon Kim, Jennifer Durand, Keerti Manney, Vishu Bhooshan, Henry David Louth, Shajay Bhooshan
  • ZHA Exhibitons and Archives: Henry Virgin
  • Metrotopia Technology Partner and Hosting Platform: Mytaverse
  • Dates: 20 May to 26 November
  • Images: Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects