Architecture in the metaverse. Can a virtual convenience store shape the responsible attitude?

The Metaverse inspires architects and buildings, designed on the same principles as real solids, find their way into the virtual world. Okrglak is such a project, which is a virtual version of a local store operating on the principle of zero waste. The creators, i.e. the A8 Architektura studio team, have shown exceptional vigilance – each element of the structure has been thought out and planned to work in harmony with nature and its forces. . The functions of the building and the surrounding space refer to the idea of ​​15-minute cities.

  • Is there a place for environmentally and human-friendly architecture in cities of glass, concrete and steel? The creators of the new Okrąglak virtual concept store say yes.
  • Natural building materials, use of natural forces, incl. to lighten and darken the building and the inclusiveness of the space – these are the main elements that the architects emphasized when designing the model of this sustainable store.
  • This project is a tribute to Mother Nature, which shapes the social attitude of responsibility towards the environment.

Okrąglak is a virtual store concept, designed by the studio team Architecture A8 with the investment support of Interseroh Organization Recovery of Packaging SA The main hypothesis was to create a place consistent with the ideas of a circular economy, which shapes social attitudes towards the environment – both among buyers and the producing entities that put their products on store shelves.

– It was very exciting to be able to design an installation based on the use of environmentally friendly spatial and material solutions, and at the same time centered on the human being as the most important user. The entire construction sector, which has a significant share in the economy of each country, is responsible, among other things, for more than 40% of energy consumption, and at the construction stage for 30% of water consumption and 50% of the extraction of materials. Projects such as Okrąglak help raise awareness of the architecture around us – he comments Piotr Lewandowski, owner studio A8 Architecture.

The structure of the building does not alter the landscape, but remains in harmony with it. This unique place on the web is to help shoppers make ecological choices through its range of seasonal products packaged in reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging. In Okrąglak, many functions have also been provided for people visiting the store and passers-by – in the assumption of the creators, the store not only plays its basic role as a space for the exchange of goods and services, but also provides a place for residents to meet and rest.

A building without edges as a symbol of transparency

The log is a self-darkening block – its wooden structure supports the curved roof which, thanks to the presence of a skylight, helps to control the amount of light entering the building. The play of light and shadow allows you to regulate the temperature inside the store, which helps keep vegetables and fruits cool on hot days. The roof also plays an important role in saving fresh water – special channels on its surface drain rainwater to the tank. The collected water should be used for watering flowers, washing floors and flushing toilets. There is also a special waste area outside the building with a recycling machine and an Oklin GG02 composter, which processes plant and animal residues.

Large windows mounted next to the ground ensure that the building is well lit by sunlight during the day, saving you electricity. The transparent walls and the round shape of the building are meant to be a symbol of transparency and honesty on which customers can and should rely. Upon stepping inside, it is impossible to ignore the lushly planted pot, located right in the center of the interior. Around the store are shelves with everyday products such as fruits and vegetables, dairy/vegan products, drinks, snacks, cosmetics and newspapers. The building has a refillomat, i.e. an automatic filling machine for liquid cosmetics. To use, bring an empty shampoo or soap bottle with you. Next door is a Sielaff bottle vending machine – a machine that accepts aluminum cans as well as plastic and glass bottles. By returning the container to this machine, you can be sure that it will be recycled.

For man and nature

Okrąglak should be a meeting place for the local community, so in the center there is space for a seat, and a coffee machine is placed next to the cash register. In the DIY area (“Trade, buy, craft”), you can trade items you have brought, such as reusable bags or vegetables. In addition, sanitary facilities are available to visitors. Inclusive space was supported by adjusting the hallway width and store counter height to the needs of people with disabilities. Outside there is space for a bike rack and pushchairs.

The space is closed by benches which, together with the vegetation, surround the building. In large pots, a miniature flower meadow was sown, full of herbs and flowers, which provides food and shelter for many species of insects. On the other hand, the ivy that climbs on the wooden panels purifies the air and rests tired eyes. Plants “fed” are not only rainwater, but also precompost obtained from the Oklin device.

Where can we see this product of modern architecture? Physically – nowhere. Okrąglak is a friendly place for people and nature. It’s an ideal store concept that could see the light of day in the future if investors take sustainable construction ideas to heart. Currently, the building can be visited in the interactive metaverse on the website, which has an educational function. We want to teach consumers how to make conscious purchases and we encourage producers to produce packaging responsibly. You won’t buy anything from us, but you will surely learn something new – he comments Agata Szczotka-Sarnadirector of sustainable development at Interseroh Organization Récupération des Emballages SA

The shelves of Okrglak stores will be filled with good examples of eco-friendly packaging, available in real stores. Anyone can add them – buyers and producers. To do this, you just need to fill out a simple form and attach a photo of the package on the site. Then the application will be checked by the Interseroh administrators. Thanks to this verification, Okrąglak will become a trusted place on the network from which you can find out which packaging is the least harmful to the environment.

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