The massive expansion of Microsoft’s Redmond campus—just east of Seattle in Washington—isn’t expected to wrap up until 2022, but curious gamers can get a sneak peek of the renovation four years early. LMN, NBBJ, WRNS Studio, and ZGF Architects were originally tapped to upgrade 72 acres of the existing 500-acre campus and add another 1.8-million-square-feet of occupiable office space, all of which has now been recreated in Minecraft courtesy of Microsoft. The map can only be imported by users who have the Education Edition of the game (a modified multi-platform version meant for teachers) and can be downloaded straight from Microsoft Education. Minecraft might be known as the best-selling PC game of all time, but it’s also been held up as a teaching tool for getting children interested in architecture and planning. Players can use blocks to build whatever they’d like at any scale and then walk through their space, making it a simple and easy way to get up and close with a project like the Redmond campus. Over the years fans have used Minecraft to build out 500-square-miles of Game of Thrones’ Westeros, recreate the entirety of Denmark at full scale, and replicate a wide suite of architectural gems. The $250 million campus overhaul will add 18 new buildings, a soccer field, and a circular cricket pitch, which Microsoft claims is aimed at its increasingly diverse workforce; all are accessible in the current version of the Minecraft map. According to CNBC, Microsoft tapped Blockworks, an international collective of architects and artists who use Minecraft blocks as their medium, to recreate the campus from drawings provided by Gensler. The end result is an interactive map of the project that students and Microsoft employees alike can use to familiarize themselves with the new campus’s layout from a human perspective. The recreation is far from finished, and Andrew Yang, a project manager at Gensler, has promised a future update that will add more realistic interiors and more people to the campus. Minecraft: Education Edition is included in the Education edition of Office 365, but since the campus was created in a standard Minecraft map, it may eventually become accessible in the normal version of the game sometime in the future.
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Plans have recently been unveiled for a new institution dedicated to Mayan culture to be constructed in Guatemala City. Designed by Swiss firm Harry Gugger Studio in collaboration with Boston company over,under, the building is part of an attempt to establish a new cultural hub within the city. Construction is set to begin in 2015. Re-situating the ancient American architectural vocabulary within a contemporary syntax, the mass of rectilinear masonry almost resembles a Mayan structure crafted through the lens of Minecraft. Much of the over 640,000 square feet of floor space is given over to large open expanses. Staggered blocks of stone border a central courtyard and act as the foundation for staircases that provide access to elevated galleries. The bulk of the building rests atop smaller rectangular bases, thus enabling circulation beneath its structure. Its exterior is punctured by a pattern of screens and several irregular, more extensive openings that invite Guatemala's warm climate into the museum's interior spaces. The rooftop functions as an outdoor exhibition venue and also contains a restaurant and viewing terraces. It will collect and filter the rain that frequents the tropical region, a process that mirrors one pioneered by the people to whom the museum is dedicated. The new building will be located at the northern corner of a public park within view of the Guatemalan capital's airport. Set to be completed in 2017, the Museo Maya de América will join a children’s museum and a museum of contemporary art as institutions already found on the site. Already, $60 million has been budgeted for the construction effort.