A social experiment for the virtual age, Dewan Architects + Engineers have envisioned a digital city as a blank canvas cultural exchange. A helix-shaped inclusive metaverse that brings together diverse digital communities for the greater good: It might sound like the plot for the next Matrix movie, but in reality – or rather, virtuality – it is the setting for the first architectural NFT from the Middle East.
Named Babel 4.0 after the mythical Tower of Babel, this digital interpretation of the utopian vertical city might just present solutions for deeper cooperation, trust and harmony in the real world.
Bringing an entirely new set of talent including gamers, hardware developers, coders, VFX specialists and storytellers into an architectural setting that is devoid of a physical environment or ties to a specific location, culture or people, Dubai-based practice Dewan Architects + Engineers has envisioned Babel 4.0 is an ever-growing metaverse where tower silos offer scenarios for the collective advancement of its members.
Interestingly, Babel 4.0 has no owners. This vertical city relies solely on autonomous dialogue and exchange between its members, with the eagerness to express one’s heritage and share their knowledge being the pre-requisite. This metaverse even has its own parliament; the information discussed and lessons learned here may be used within the Metaverse but also in the real world. Visitors can use their NFTs to access virtual museums, cultural spaces, utilise various time zones and shortcuts to dictate the length of their stay and even interact with the members.
Metaverse architecture is the logical next step for Dewan, with the studio in the midst of developing a dedicated design research lab to support digital investors and virtual developers. The practise has imagined Babel 4.0 as an extraordinary non-profit library and thought space for architects, designers, project managers and suppliers to tap into from around the world.
The original Tower of Babel had 100 gates; 25 on each side. Dewan intends to create 100 NFTs as part of the Babel 4.0 collection, which will be donated to prominent academics and leaders in the fields of design and architecture. These NFTs can be used and exchanged for plots in the tower to stage exhibition and presentations, or to access them.