A Living City

DraGonnet invites us to see an ideal urban environment

We feature a lot of modern architecture fans on Minecraft.net. So today we thought we'd mix things up! By interviewing one of Modern architecture's enemies.

“Modern architecture is usually really boring: everything is grey and flat,” says today’s featured builder, DraGonnet. That’s why he decided to build his own futuristic city, Ender, and fill it with beautiful glass buildings, countless sparkling water bodies, and greenery as far as the eye can see.

This build was inspired by the works of Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut, who focuses on sustainable and environmentally-focused design. DraGonnet tells me that he loves the idea of “cities filled with plants and renewable energies, and more generally, everything that's ecological and futuristic is an inspiration for me. I hate building squares!”

A brave move to focus on curves in a game that only gives you cubes to build with! But DraGonnet pulls it off wonderfully, creating a map where no two buildings look alike – but none of them are rectangular. And attention is also given to the smallest of details. Flags flutter in the wind and houses feel lived in, with coffee cups, bookshelves, and, of course, house plants.

“I’ve been working on this the last three or four months,” DraGonnet says. “I’ve played roughly 360 hours in that server and it was mostly in the city.”

His favourite buildings so far are the senate and the office building.

“These two are quite different,” he explains. The senate is the building shaped like a water droplet – very appropriate for all the rivers and lakes in the city. Plus, the decorations near its base look almost leaf-like, as though it’s a crystal seed sprouting up from the ground. “I’ve already worked a lot with buildings that shape on previous projects because it’s one of my favourite shapes,” DraGonnet says.

Next door, the office building stands out for its triangular shape – most of its neighbours have no corners at all. “It was much more difficult to create as I did not have a lot of space there. “The main difficulty was to ensure that all the three sides look good at the same time. I can tell you that it was a thorn in my side!”

Though it might have more points than most of the buildings, it blends in thanks to the shrubbery that grows from the balconies, which is a key part of all the city’s structures. These natural elements are just as important to DraGonnet – and as pretty! The fruit trees are especially good for adding some sparks of yellow and pink among the blues and greens of the buildings.

“I started this map with just a unique building,” he says, “but it felt a bit flat so I started adding to it – little cliffs, vines, and orchards. Then I thought that I could continue to build around this.”

DraGonnet has a lot planned for the future of his city. “The next objective is to add a lot of new towers in the city centre, then more residential areas. The city will sit in the middle of an island, with a large part under sea-level, but protected by a large seawall, like a second Atlantis.” Gultp. Let’s hope that it won’t end up sharing the same fate as that sunken city...

“I will also add transparent tubes in which people will be able to travel,” he says. “Futuristic ships and spaceships will complete the picture to add a bit of life, and the last thing is maybe the most exciting for me: I’ll work on adding a lot of Easter eggs in the map that people who visit it could try to find.” No spoilers as to what those might be – DraGonnet wants it to be an adventure for players, who are welcome to jump in at amberstonedream.com.

Hopefully these intrepid explorers won’t get lost in Ender’s blend of vegetation and metropolis – but if they do, at least there’ll be fruit to eat and water to drink!

Renders by the brilliantly named SoggySpartan

Jay Castello
Written By
Jay Castello