Hello Metaverse podcast

Space Popular: Architecture’s Role in Building the Metaverse

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While architects have had so much influence on how our cities, buildings and social spaces are constructed, their influence has not quite reached the virtual world. This is perhaps why we haven’t seen examples in the Metaverse of landmarks, versatile multi purpose spaces, or places that have outlived the specific game, use case or event that it was created for. 

Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg of Space Popular are pioneers within the architectural field, having developed curiosity for what virtual reality will emerge to become years before anyone was talking about the Metaverse. They integrate their expertise in traditional architecture with speculative and conceptual work to help people imagine where the future may be headed. Their perspective is unique, especially for the world of consumer tech, and helps create a completely new paradigm for thinking. 

In the episode, we cover a breadth of fascinating topics from:

  • The architectural point of view, and how it transitions from traditional architecture to how it should be thought about in a limitless virtual realm
  • A vision of the future where architecture will happen at the speed of the the spoken word
  • Why portals will become the one of the most common design elements moving forward, the same way cars were in the past era


Space Popular is a research driven art, design, and media studio that explores the future of spatial experience through virtual reality, film, exhibitions, speculative writing, as well as buildings and objects. The studio is directed by architects Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg, both alumni of the Architectural Association in London (2011). The studio has completed buildings, exhibitions, public artworks, furniture collections, and interiors across Asia and Europe, as well as virtual architecture for the immersive internet.

Clients, collaborators, and commissioners include national institutions such as MAXXI - National Museum of 21st Century Art, Rome, Italy; The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design –ArkDes, Stockholm, Sweden; Royal Institute of British Architects, London, UK; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea; as well as independent galleries such as MAGAZIN, Vienna, Austria; and Sto Werkstatt, London, UK.

Lesmes and Hellberg both have extensive academic experience having taught architectural design studio since 2011, first at INDA, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok from 2021 to 2016, at the Architectural Association in London from 2016 to 2021, and currently at Daniels, Faculty of Architecture, University of Toronto sinde 2020, and UCLA Architecture and Urban Design since 2022. Their current MArch design and research studios both at Daniels and UCLA investigate visions for civic architecture in the immersive internet. 


[2:40] Architectural school of thought

[9:10] Architecture’s existing role in entertainment, gaming and creating the Metaverse

[15:40] Design principles for creating virtual environments

[21:50] Value assignment

[25:40] Importance of speculative projects

[31:10] Creation at the speed of communication

[37:00] Portals will become the most common design element in the virtual era

[46:10] Enabling human connections as core utility of Metaverse

[51:10] How can more architects play a role in this industry?

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