Zaha Hadid Architects is designing a virtual city for libertarians

by AryanArtnews
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Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

One of the world’s most prominent architectural firms is designing a new Metaverse. This is a virtual city that wants to be a libertarian utopia.

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has unveiled a rendering of the “Cyber ​​Urban” Liberland Metaverse, a small virtual city made up of futuristic curved buildings with architectural styles that made the late architect’s company famous. When complete, users will traverse the hub as an avatar and will have access to the City Hall, collaborative workspace, shops, business incubators, and NFT art show galleries. Communities that want to grow not only focus on autonomy, but also have fewer rules and regulations.

Rendering of Liberland Metaverse Plaza. credit: ZHA

These ideals are based on the so-called Liberland, the so-called Liberland. This is a real micronation founded in 2015 by Czech politician Vit Jedlicka with the aim of realizing the values ​​of libertarians of small government. The 2.7-mile territory between Serbia and Croatia, wider than the Vatican and Monaco, is a disputed land, neither country claims. Since its inception, we have never moved to Liberland, which has no infrastructure, or started full-scale construction. However, according to Jedlicka, who emailed CNN, there are 7,000 approved residents and 700,000 applications. Micronations also have national flags, national anthems, and currencies-the benefits of the cryptocurrency Liberland.

Serbia and Croatia dismissed the micronation in a statement to CNN at the time of its establishment, saying that the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarded it as “a frivolous act that does not require further comment.” Liberland is not recognized in any other country.

Liberland Metaverse "Incubator" For technological innovation.

Liberland Metaverse has an “incubator” for innovation. credit: ZHA

But now, Micronation wants to bet that claim in the virtual world. According to ZHA Principal Architect Patrik Schumacher, the Metaverse, often built using blockchain technology for the common goal of political philosophy of decentralization and autonomy, is due to the prosperity of libertarian ideals. It is an ideal space for. Since he was founded in 2015, he has been interested in Liberland right after attending his first conference.

“It’s a very lively scene of contributors … many IT, crypto and tech entrepreneurs who feel too restrictive to the world,” he explained.

Freedom of architecture

Many metaverse concepts arose from the aesthetics of video games, for example Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse concept is similar to the Nintendo Wii avatar design, but Liberland’s digital architecture is more realistic. Intended to be. The building is ultra-futuristic, but resembles the glossy look of a typical architectural rendering. But they were made with a parametric design-a way to create complex forms using algorithms.

Liberland Metaverse exhibition space.

Liberland Metaverse exhibition space. credit: ZHA

“I don’t think Metaverse is a fantasy world, it’s not a video game,” Schumacher said. “(Liberland Metaverse architecture) is unusual and unique, but at the same time it is realistic when it comes to the types of architecture we have already built and are about to emerge.”

However, he added, there is more freedom in virtual design. Rendering demonstrates the company’s ability to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with a physical building, from impossible features such as hovering the rooftop to vast interiors that do not need to consider energy efficiency and other considerations. .. Schumacher is also excited about the possibility of an adaptive environment in which a room like an auditorium can be expanded based on the number of users in it.

Liberland Metaverse City Hall.

Liberland Metaverse City Hall. credit: ZHA

The Metaverse directly refers to the real world and mimics the same borders of the Free Republic of Liberland. One of the main attractions of the project is the virtual and physical land ownership system, and digital stakeholders also own part of the terrain. However, those details have not yet been resolved, Schumacher explains.

“It could be a proportion. It could be a particular land-we haven’t solved it completely,” he said. “But we like the integration of virtual and real land, and that’s one of the core assumptions of the project.”

Libertarian trends

So how does the libertarian metaverse differ from other metaverse environments?

“It will be an exciting question,” Schumacher said.

Although the digital infrastructure and its policies are still under development, he describes various areas of digital space. “Specific Zones without Collective Rule Creation”-However, users are still subject to the laws of their own country.

But while many online forums and social media companies have had to work hard to moderate their users, sites like Reddit are out of the ideal of uneased free speech as their user base grows. I have to leave. Slowly expand to keep the community under control. Jedlicka has confirmed that Liberland’s citizens and residents are the first to access it.

The appearance of Liberland Metaverse from the user's point of view.

The appearance of Liberland Metaverse from the user’s point of view. credit: ZHA

Schumacher is optimistic about Liberland’s Metaverse maintaining its digital space without being bound by rules. “If you start with a clean environment and don’t throw away the trash, it can be maintained without a lot of crackdowns,” he said.

Currently, part of the Metaverse is being tested on two virtual floors in one of the buildings. This coworking area is open to invited guests 24 hours a day, allowing you to explore, chat and share your space as an avatar. A screen in one of the windows of a room that acts as a presentation screen. On April 13, the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States and a libertarian hero, and the anniversary of physical Liberland, 100 people can move between several spaces in the city. There is an opening party.

It’s still unclear if the metaverse hype will lead to mass adoption, but Schumacher is working on that vision. The company debuted a virtual exhibition space with artist Kenny Schachter at Art Basel in 2021, and the work has another private Metaverse project. Schumacher believes that in the future all institutions will have both physical and digital space, catalyzed by the need to be more online during the pandemic.

“I think these hybrid (and) mixed reality spaces will be very important in every workplace,” he said. “I think it will definitely spread.”

Above image: Liberland Metaverse Master Plan.


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