UNIC Architecture Students Among Winners at Inaugural Next Top Metaverse Buildathon

Students, experienced architects, 3D designers and developers created novel virtual infrastructure designs across a multitude of categories under industry-leading mentorship and guidance for NFT architecture.

The winners – 62 architects and designers selected from 160 international entries – were revealed on 23 June 2022 at a first-ever awards ceremony across the billboards of Decentraland’s One Times Square (-106, -119), the metaverse recreation of the renowned New York City landmark.

Among those awarded were the third-year University of Nicosia Architecture students Raphaela Nicolettis, Marino Papachrysostomou, and Giannis Paraskevas for the awareness platform “LUSH”, and Betel Abdella and Maxim Murashov Alexandrovich for “CTRLshift”, a customisable gamified NFT gallery space.

Next Top Metaverse Build, a first-of-its-kind ‘buildathon’, challenged university students and architectural and design professionals from all over the world to create virtual infrastructure designs with categories ranging from houses, museums and galleries, to casinos, classrooms and festival grounds, as well as play to earn or play to learn games. The competition aimed to raise awareness of opportunities in the Metaverse and demonstrate to architects and designers how they can monetise their expertise in these promising upcoming virtual worlds, in addition to the traditional industries they already serve.

The Department of Architecture, ARC, of the University of Nicosia dedicated and hosted “Metascapes”, an intensive 1-week educational workshop, as part of the  University of Nicosia’s collaboration with the Next Top Metaverse Build. The workshop was supported by the following UNIC and Seamlexity mentors, tutors and visiting specialists: Michail Georgiou, Odysseas Georgiou, Ioulios Georgiou, Christina Christoforou, Andreas Prokopiou, and Stavros Voskaris.

During the workshop, students had the opportunity to explore the potential role of architecture and education in the current development phase of the Metaverse, as well as research, develop and design their projects for the competition. They engaged with custom software workflows towards constructing interactive virtual environments for selected Metaverse platforms. Novel ideas and design processes were tested, discussed, and analysed in an attempt to set a research framework, aiming to produce knowledge and design methodologies to support architectural contributions to the field. The proposals yielded conclusive findings and revealed fertile ground for the proliferation of architecture in the Metaverse era.

Awarded Projects

(registered as Non-Fungible Token)


by Raphaela Nicolettis, Marino Papachrysostomou, Giannis Paraskevas

Award: 1st Category – Architecture Runners Up – 9th Place

LUSH is an awareness platform, designed to inform, donate and buy NFTs that benefit environmental development and the preservation of endangered nature. A garden space, which is used for gathering, education and play.

The project was developed in Rhinoceros 3D and was adapted, optimized and tested for the Decentraland metaverse.


by Betel Abdella and Maxim Murashov Alexandrovich

Award: 1st Category – Architecture Runners Up – 15th Place

CTRLshift is a customisable and gamified virtual Non-Fungible Token (NFT) gallery space that can foster interactions between visitors and engage the audience.

The project was developed in Rhinoceros 3D and was adapted, optimized and tested for the Sandbox metaverse.