Quick, read this article before it gets taken down!
Hello, art police? I’d like to report a crime. I’m in awe of this gigantic oceanic structure and I can’t stop looking at it. It’s simply too good!
A city emerging from the sea might come as a bit of a surprise, but that’s not the only shocking thing about this build! Look closer and you’ll see that the “Ihou Kenchiku” is made up of all kinds of styles, with Japanese pagodas right next to German-style castle turrets and blocky American skyscrapers. That name, by the way, means “illegal architecture” in Japanese, because it would be impossible to make in real life thanks to the pesky laws of physics. Worry not – we won’t be arresting all these talented builders for what they do in Minecraft (they’re so many we couldn’t fit them in the car).
The Illegal Architecture was made by a whopping 145 people, brought together by the Minecraft Architects Project, a Japanese group. Organiser Dambo-Ru explains that they realised early on that this would be “organised chaos.” Instead of fighting that, they decided to set the build theme accordingly. “As many people who were not familiar with each other were participating in the event, we thought the theme should allow people to build in various architectural styles, and yet allow the build to be integrated as one art.” For that, they decided, illegal architecture was perfect.
The people organising the build didn’t want to restrict anyone’s creativity, so they didn’t “decide on a detailed plan,” Dambo-Ru tells me. “Each participant built as they liked.” Parts of the event were live-streamed, and the management team used this to show off gaps that needed filling, though “some skilled people played a part in filling gaps naturally by mixing styles of builds,” by themselves.
"We are hosting events like this for people who love Minecraft builds to get to know each other and make friendships..."
That’s why, no matter how hard you look, it’s very difficult to find any blank space in the Illegal Architecture village. Even gaps between buildings are decorated with colourful strings of flags and twisted trees shooting right out of the walls. There’s even a waterfall or two. Hot air balloons and airships hover around the edges – and probably giving away rides so that everyone can take in the view!
The village isn’t just pretty on the outside. The creators from the Minecraft Architects Project have made the build downloadable and they don’t just want people to fly around but allow themselves to get lost in it. “Most roads are connected and some buildings have their interiors! So we want people to walk and explore,” Dambo-Ru explains.
So where do you begin? A daytime stroll across the peaks of the tallest towers give you a great birds-eye view all the way down to the sea far, far below. You can even check out the actual birds that they built as well! At night a thousand lights make for a cosy wander down the alleys and passageways. If you’re feeling active, climbing up and down the vertical village is a great way to exercise – just be sure to watch your step!
“We are hosting events like this for people who love Minecraft builds to get to know each other and make friendships,” says Dambo-Ru. “Every time we host events, we are surprised and get excited that people who do not even know each other collaborate and make breathtaking-quality builds.”
Breathtaking is the right word for the Ihou Kenchiku. Every time I look at it I notice something new (I’m looking at you, cute apple statues!) in this beautiful chaos. Bringing so many people together and allowing them to blend their unique creativity just goes to show the power of a dedicated community of Minecraft builders. If that's illegal, then I'm guilty as charged!
- Jay Castello