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NFT Architecture vs. Regular 3D Models? What differs them.

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Consider inviting your coworkers to a business meeting at your house. The table is situated next to the infinity pool, in the shadow of a massive curved metal structure evocative of Zaha Hadid's most daring designs, save for the lack of pillars. The roof, which floats in the air, completes a beautiful setting for this mansion on a rocky hillside. The house was recently acquired as an NFT and is now accessible digitally via encrypted code. Yes, this is your virtual residence. The physical one is a modest 40m2 apartment in the heart of one of the world's busiest and most polluted cities.

This futuristic scenario is far more plausible than we might believe.

Last month, the first NFT digital house was sold for $500,000. The Mars House, designed by artist Krista Kim, is made of translucent surfaces and covered with magenta and blue gradients, and it is placed in a mountain landscape with an endless sunset. Kim describes it as a light sculpture and expresses her desire to sit in MH with friends in AR and drink Champagne, to hold her zoom meetings in Mars House, and to eventually be able to transpose MH over the physical environment whenever she desires. While such interaction is not yet possible, Kim plans to create a meditative environment accessible via computer screen or mobile phone, similar to a digital Zen garden.

The sale of MH heralds the start of a new era, dubbed hybrid reality by experts, made possible in part by the advent of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. In a word, NFT is a blockchain-based virtual certificate of authenticity that verifies the origin and ownership of a digital content. It can symbolise any digital asset, image, video, music, social media post, meme, or anything else that makes it unique in the eyes of the world. This technique of commodifying digital assets eventually draws a large number of investors and collectors. The invention of NFT has transformed the production of virtual art by allowing original digital artworks, which are easily duplicated, to be traded on third-party marketplaces in the same way that non-digital pieces are.

"Rejuvenation", 2021, Unique Non Fungible Token. Image © Karisman

With million-dollar transactions such as the sale of the Nyan Cat meme, the 'deal with it' sunglasses, or the first tweet in history made by the inventor of Twitter, which just went up for auction, NFTs are becoming increasingly popular in the media. Andres Reisinger, another architect, got $450,000 by selling his digital furniture collection. Reisinger's furniture, unlike MH, already allows for some interactivity because it can be placed in any shared 3D space, including virtual and augmented reality apps, games, animations, and films.

Despite the fact that it does not yet allow for much interactivity, Mars House establishes a precedent for a new area of building. Unlike traditional 3D models, NFT architecture is more than simply a tool for project presentation; it is a kind of art even before it is completed. And it is precisely because of this detachment with the material world that it allows for a creative and artistic rebirth with an ethereal atmosphere, where beauty and value reside in the freedom of unsubstantiated and impossible buildings that can be virtually inhabited and experienced. One may walk inside the gigantic and impossible sphere of Newton's great Cenotaph and get a peek of what this paradise could be like without having to worry about whether or not it is possible.

Mars House, First Digital Home to be Sold on the NFT Marketplace. Courtesy of Krista Kim

Chris Precht, an Austrian architect and NFT enthusiast, recently stated that NFT architecture creates opportunities, particularly for young architects and small offices who can sell digital versions of their designs to raise funds to build them in the future.

Although NFT architecture is not yet fully interactive, the Mars House's exorbitant price suggests that we are only a step away. It may sound like another episode of Black Mirror, but it is reality - virtual reality.

"Fascade", 2021, Unique Non Fungible Token. Image © Karisman

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