What if Architects Designed Video Games? 10 Classic Games in the Style of Famous Architects

By Jon Henning •  Updated: 08/07/22 •  3 min read

Video game design and architectural design have more overlaps than you might think.The modern design process for architecture typically relies on 3D modeling and photorealistic renderings to convey design concepts. In fact, some of the software that architects and designers use is actually the same software that videogame developers use — like Unreal Engine, V-Ray, or 3Ds Max to name a few.

As a more practical example of connecting architecture and videogames, there have been a handful of articles over the years talking about how Assassin’s Creed Unity could be used as a tool for reconstructing the Notre Dame Cathedral. The series showcases some of the best architecture in video games that you could imagine. Although, there are some major caveats that would prevent this from being possible, there was speculation that the highly-detailed 3D models of Notre Dame that were used in the game could actually serve as an accurate reference for reconstructing the real thing.

Whether or not this comes to fruition, it’s still a testament to the overlap that architecture and video games share.

Recently, I started exploring the world of AI generated art. I wrote a post on how to use a bot called MidJourney, and I’ve become really curious on how this technology can help expand our creativity in architectural design.

One of the ways that AI generated art can help is by helping us to create more realistic and lifelike designs. For example, in MidJourney, we can create a model of a building or a room and then use the bot to generate the textures and lighting for the model. This can help us to create more realistic and lifelike designs that can be used in a videogame or an architectural design project. Although this technology is still in its early stages, it’s a great way to expand our creativity and help us to create more realistic and lifelike designs.

As a creative challenge, I used AI to render out some “what if” scenarios that blends these two worlds.

What if architects designed video games? What would they look like?

For this study, I’m selecting the top 10 video games that IGN listed on their Top 100 Video Games of All Time post. For the list of famous architects, I have selected 10 based on the 20 Greatest Architects / Best Architects in the World post, on re-thinkingthefuture.com.

What video games have the best architecture?

Disclaimer: The images in this post have been created by MidJourney AI, and are fictional. The architects, artists and designers mentioned are in no way connected to these works, and this study is simply for entertainment purposes.

1.) Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild:

If designed by:

Bjarke Ingels Group

Steven Holl Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects

2.) Super Mario World

If designed by:

Frank Lloyd Wright

Le Corbusier

Renzo Piano

3.) Portal 2

If designed by:

Mies van der Rohe

Richard Rogers

Santiago Calatrava

If designed by:

Alvar Aalto
Rem Koolhaas
Eero Saarinen

5.) Super Metroid

If designed by:

Frank Gehry
Philip Johnson
Tadao Ando

6.) Mass Effect 2

If designed by:

Buckminster Fuller

Peter Zumthor

Zaha Hadid

7.) Super Mario 64

If designed by:

David Adjaye

Jean Nouvel

Michelangelo

8.) Red Dead Redemption 2

If designed by:

Louis Kahn

Bernard Tschumi

Antoni Gaudi

9.) Half-Life 2

If designed by:

Cesar Pelli

Jeanne Gang

Moshe Safdie

10.) Disco Elysium

If designed by:

Alvaro Siza

Eero Saarinen

Oscar Niemeyer

Get Set Up Using Ai Art Generators

If you want to make your own AI art, be sure to check out my review of the best AI art generators for architects and designers. It’s a ton of fun running through ideas and letting your imagination run wild.

I’d love to see some more architecture and video game concepts, and any other weird architectural cross-pollination you come up with, so feel free to share your creations and thoughts in the comment section below!

Jon Henning

Hi, I'm Jon. I have over 10 years of combined experience in various design fields revolving around architecture, engineering, and technology research. I'm passionate about teaching and writing about cutting edge technology for designers.

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