Sunken Treasure

Vaxor imagines what Atlantis might have looked like

Few myths have taken hold of our imagination in the same way as the lost city of Atlantis. Despite never actually existing (probably) the fabled city that was lost to the sea has spawned songs, paintings, movies, books, and even expeditions to attempt to locate it. Obviously, no one ever has – but we can still dream of what we might find beneath the waves: tall columns of white marble, temples to gods long-forgotten, and maybe even a civilisation that have turned into fish-people which still inhabit the underwater buildings.

Minecraft builder and mythological dreamer Vaxor has created his own version of the city in his build “Hyperborea Atlantis”, showing architecture untouched by weather and war, but filled with colourful coral and seaweed.

Just as most storytellers have their own version of how Atlantis came to be, so does Vaxor: “a long time ago, the Ancient Greek people made a city underwater that stood and hid. The Greek people of Atlantis didn’t communicate, because they had it good on their own, and so didn’t evolve anymore. Time stood still for them, and so did their architecture. And they still live in an underwater city, away from the world and its problems, living in peace and living happy.”

“I’ve been to several places in Greece, [where I] saw some inspirational stuff, so I tried making that in to a build,” he tells. Based on this inspiration, Vaxor created his Atlantis by building lots of structures separately, and then combining them to create the city.

But building architecture from real-life models comes with its drawbacks. “I learned that Greek architecture was quite complicated at the time,” says Vaxor, “and used maths as well.” In building his Atlantic paradise, Vaxor had to make sure to stick to the mathematical principles that the Greeks used, as well as facing challenges from his own designs.

The buildings are made out of quartz, iron, and concrete to create a stark white look, which Vaxor describes as “fresh” in contrast to the bright colours of the rocks and plants that surround it. But, because the city is below the sea, he was reluctant to use the grass and leaves blocks as the foundation, saying that grass didn’t look “underwater” enough for the theme. But when trying other, more oceanic blocks for the base, he found that the contrast between the bright white buildings and the floor wasn’t strong enough. Eventually, Vaxor settled on a mixture of blocks, creating the vibrant ocean floor that frames his city.

"...for these types of builds you need to really keep going and not give up..."

But creating the plants and rocks himself wasn’t easy. “I have tried structuring and recreating real-life architecture in Minecraft before,” Vaxor admits, “but I never focused on trying to make some organic builds.” His Atlantis is surrounded by streams of seaweed, clumps of coral, and even some sea-creatures, like a seahorse and a giant turtle that can be seen exploring the roofs of the city. “It was quite hard to get the right shapes and colouring for the turtle,” says Vaxor. “I wanted to add something that was different from the rest, and that stood out a bit, which wasn’t easy.” The turtle is done in blue, white, and beige, echoing the colour scheme of the city itself.

But one of the greatest challenges with building an underwater city is, of course, building it underwater. The water in Minecraft is difficult to see through, making it almost impossible to create something on this scale, so Vaxor tried a different route to create a true-to-life sunken city. “This was done by rendering,” he explains, referring to the pictures in which the city appears to be beneath the waves, with the sun filtering through the water. “I rendered the build myself in Cinema4D. This was my first time rendering so it took some tries before I could get a result I was proud of!”

Vaxor is also proud of the size of his Atlantis build – it’s his most ambitious yet, which he admits was a challenge. “Before this build, I mostly did much smaller builds, and for these types of builds you need to really keep going and not give up, which I found sometimes hard not to do.” Although his main goal in building Atlantis was to create a city inspired by Greek architecture, the scale was important to him, too: “I wanted to challenge myself by building bigger and [more] interesting stuff than I did before,” he says, “and I hope I did with this build.”

It’s not the last time Vaxor intends to push himself out of his comfort zone, either. Having tackled organic builds for the first time in Atlantis, he knows what he wants to do next. “Structuring and architectural builds are amazing, and I am certainly working on a project with that too, but for now I want to improve myself with building creatures,” he says. “Time will tell what the theme of it will be!”

Kate Gray
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Kate Gray