Building Design in the Metaverse

$500,000. That’s how much the first metaverse house design sold for.

It’s called “Mars House,” designed by digital artist Krista Kim.

It fits the name.

Everything looks like it’s made of glass. Everything.

Or maybe some acrylic.

As the colors of the light change, so do the furniture, ceiling, and floor colors.

The walls are entirely transparent. The entire house is built on floor-to-ceiling windows, except for one wall section and a pillar.

This house could not exist in real life.

That’s the point.

In the metaverse, the only building codes are programming codes.

No government regulations telling you what you can and can not build.

Physics is adjusted to what you need them to be.

Or non-existent.

This is home design in the metaverse

It’s the future you should start preparing for.

What is the Metaverse?

The whole concept of the metaverse is pretty confusing.

The term comes from Neal Stephenson’s book Snow Crash, a parody of the sci-fi subgenre known as cyberpunk.

There are two parts to it: Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

The VR of the Metaverse.

When we talk about the VR of the metaverse, we’re talking about a video game.

Purists will be mad at me for saying that, but it’s the truth.

Right now, it’s essentially just a video game.

When you design a house, and a client can “walk” through the 3D model, whether on an Oculus headset or just a computer screen, that’s the first part of the metaverse.

Most building designers are familiar with this by now.

Imagine that instead of just the house you designed, all of the homes you designed were in a neighborhood, and your clients could walk through the community, in VR, and check out all of the houses.

They can point out what they like about each house, and then you can put all of that together in just a few minutes to give them a demo to walk through before you spend a bunch of time working on the details.

Now imagine every designer in the world has that, and they’re all connected.

You have complete control over your neighborhood, but only you have control over it.

The same goes for all the other designers and their neighborhoods.

That’s what the metaverse will be in VR.

The AR of the Metaverse

Within that VR metaverse where you and your clients can walk around and look at houses, everyone can customize the way they look.

You could be wearing a $5000 Armani suit or Niemen Marcus dress.

Step out of the metaverse. 

People with AR glasses could look at you and see you as if you were wearing them in real life.

The examples in this video are pretty extreme but they should give you an idea of how it will work.

That’s where the metaverse starts to mix with reality.

The designers who get in on this stuff early will be the ones who benefit the most.


You need to think differently about building design in the metaverse.

In our Fall 2021 Conference, we had an informal happy hour chat about the metaverse and NFTs.

Between talking metaverse at our conferences and on our Facebook page, most designers have said the same thing:

“I could put my designed houses on the metaverse! They’re already 3D models!”

Well, sure you could. But don’t you think they’re boring?

Of course, you don’t. Not in the real world.

But in the digital world, your house is just like the ones in reality.

We go to the metaverse to escape reality.

Think bigger.

You can design and build anything.

Make ceilings made of water.

Have walls built of jello-like substance that doesn’t need doors — users can walk right through.

You’re not limited by building codes anymore.

Physics does not even limit you.

One thing preventing you from doing this may be the software you’re using.

I’m not super familiar with BIM/CAD software, but the one I have (Ashampoo 3D CAD Professional) seems pretty limiting on what I can do with shapes.

However, you could start there for your main structure.

Then you export to something like 3DS Max or Cinema 4D, where you can start changing the walls, roof, floors, etc., into whatever you can imagine.

All Meta, No Verse

I’m working on a separate article about this, but a phrase I’ve been using lately is that we have “all meta but no verse.”

What I mean is, we’re building all these little neighborhoods in VR, but none of them are connected.

Sure, I can leave one and go to another.

But my Armani suit doesn’t go with me.

I’m limited to whatever clothing is already designed and programmed for the neighborhood I’m in.

They’re not all connected yet.

Some people are already starting to build their neighborhoods so that when the technology is ready to connect, they’re already there.

A big name you may have heard of recently is Facebook changing its name to Meta Platforms. 

They’re working on building their little corner of the metaverse.

Some games you kids or grandkids may be playing: Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite.

They also have their neighborhoods, and they’re not connected yet, but that is the ultimate goal.

You may not have heard of two big players yet: Sandbox and Decentraland.

In fact, in Decentraland, you could start selling your houses right now.

Sandbox isn’t far behind.

I think you can participate in Roblox, too.

NFTs and Blockchain Contracts

When you create something for the metaverse, you create a contract called a non-fungible token (NFT), that proves ownership.

You could also think of it as a “certificate of authenticity.”

What makes this type of contract different than one, in reality, is that it’s made for software to read it.

That’s how people will be able to take things with them throughout the metaverse.

The contract exists on a blockchain (like cryptocurrency, bitcoin, etc.), software agnostic.

Any software can be programmed to read NFT contracts.

So, you create something, create the NFT contract, and own it.

Then you can transfer that ownership, usually by selling on an NFT marketplace.

Most NFTs right now are absurdly expensive.

But there are also some cheap NFTs out there on less-known blockchains.

All of this is is still so much in its infancy and it’s only going to become more affordable.

As it becomes more affordable, mass adoption takes place.

When that happens, anyone who didn’t get involved early will wish they had.

What will you do in the metaverse?

It’s time for you, as a designer, to start learning about the metaverse and thinking about how you can bring your business into it.

I’m calling it now: this is the future of the internet.

If you’re not planning on closing up shop any time soon, you’ll want to be involved in this.

Some architecture companies have already gone full-metaverse:

Garrett Mickley is the Communications Director for AIBD and has over a decade of experience working in digital marketing.

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