Picking the very best of Minecraft’s builds is an almost impossible task. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t share some favourites. Here are thirty.
Many Minecraft players take inspiration from Europe’s most beautiful cities and this teaser image from the Hyperscale project is just one example. It hints at a city of elaborate architecture that’s based around canals and… is that a zeppelin just peeking its way around the corner?
The Imperial Summer Palace is based on many of Europe’s most famous palaces, taking inspiration from Schönbrunn Palace, Versailles and the Hermitage at St Petersburg. It’s truly regal, both outside and in, with its gorgeous gardens and fountains complementing vast and opulent interiors.
Naturally, architectural possibilities abound and many players enjoy recreating famous buildings big and small. It just so happens that one of the most distinctive homes ever constructed suits Minecraft rather well, and many players have come up with their own reproductions of Frank Lloyd Wright’s angular Fallingwater. I think this, by Lilnekochan, may be my favourite interpretation, but then there’s this one by NovocainStain, or the one that Waterijsje made…
Similarly, there are many Minecraft versions of the Titanic out there, including this one built way back in the alpha days, but I think I like this French interpretation the best and shows off much more colour and detail. You can find more images here.
For all the real-world architecture that serves as inspiration, there’s plenty in the realm of high fantasy that also tickles imaginations. Take this fantastic Minas Tirith render, for example, which is as beautiful as it is towering. It was posted to reddit by user Cornbass and, as well as their appreciation, the community also had a suggestion: “Now set yourself on fire and jump off.”
The only thing that could impress me more would be if someone started work on a build that encompassed the whole of Middle Earth itself, all those famous locations from the… wait, what? Are you serious? Excuse me, I’ve just been informed of this Minecraft Middle Earth server project is underway and, though it’s not yet done, it’s already absolutely awesome.
No collection of magnificent Minecraft builds would be complete without something Game of Thrones-inspired. Here’s just one small section of the enormous and awe-inspiring WesterosCraft server. This is the island of Dragonstone, rendered with a particularly attractive and very reflective sea surface. Don’t forget to check out the brilliant work done on King’s Landing, too.
Then there’s the Dwarven City of Consilium, by Creolucis, whose build is so magnificent that it’s difficult for me to just pick out one single picture that shows off just how awesome a map it is. It’s not only enormous, but also packed with detail and the absolute dictionary definition of grandeur.
Video games themselves are also a great source of ideas for builds and, after roaming through Bioshock’s underwater city of Rapture, Minecraft forum user TraktorHagrid decided to build something submarine. It’s all very claustrophobic and very metallic, but certainly true to the spirit of Bioshock. You can find many more images here. (Naturally, someone else just had to go and remake Rapture itself. Adam “Ein” Shefki hosted a server on which Penny Arcade forum members came together to recreate the city way, way back in 2010, when Minecraft itself was still in alpha.)
There’s nothing wrong with carving out your own space below ground, either, and while plenty of Minecraft players like to create complex, towering and expansive things that reach for the stars themselves, I’m developing something of an appreciation for cavernous constructions. These mushroom caverns, posted by redditor cocoinmula, have a wonderful sense of atmosphere to them and are a great example of what you can create when you take your imagination to new and unusual places.
Size certainly isn’t everything and I have nothing but admiration for this very economical design. jdmiller82’s Super Compact Minecraft House fit’s everything into an internal space that measures just three blocks by three and “includes one bed, two large chests, three furnaces, one jukebox, one cauldron, one crafting table, one brewing stand, one anvil and one ender chest.” Head downstairs and you’ll find a small farm in the basement and a library that pops out the floor at the flick of a switch. Genius.
That said, size is also where Minecraft can really shine, and no compilation its best builds would be complete without a nod to the incredibly elaborate two-million block cathedral that GNRfrancis put together last year. Pictures never quite do it justice, so you can download it yourself here and go for a wander inside.
If two million blocks doesn’t sound big enough for you, perhaps sixty million will? The boundaries were really pushed back by jamdelaney1, who spent three months creating the expansive city of Adamantis, which reaches up the side of a hill and is decorated with enormous doors, reflecting pools and vast colonnades. It’s surely one of the prettiest builds the community has yet created.
Adamantis calls to mind the Mages College of Meridia, a huge build put together last year by Block Fortress and which took its cues from Skyrim’s Mages College of Winterhold. It’s well worth downloading and running around in and I’m tempted to say that it even outmagics Pottercraft.
Since I seem to have got onto the subject of multimillion block projects, it would be remiss of me not to nod to a particular spaceship design too as, after all, Minecraft is a game that encourages you to build just about anything you want to. The scale model of the Enterprise D is now infamous, but just as worthy of mention is Ragnur Le Barbare’s five million block recreation of (the reimagined) Battlestar Galactica. You can grab a copy of it from the project page and also see exactly how it was made.
It’s difficult to take a trip around the enormously busy Minecraft reddit without tripping over someone showing of another impressive build that just happens to be their latest project. Castles are perennially popular and this one is the work of TofuNoodles.
While we’re on the subject of castles, I should probably mention the Giant Walking Castle. The concept behind this sounded particularly silly and, while whatever Domovoi Lazaroth had down on paper was clearly the scribblings of a lunatic inventor, the end result is really rather remarkable. I’m not sure I’d want to live here, though.
“This is why I love playing Minecraft with friends,” said redditor mikeack, when he posted this render last year, showing off the work he and his friends had done together. The castle in the background is based on Fairfax Castle from the game Fable and you can look through an album that features the lighthouse in more detail here.
Also just as quotable are these words from lynchyinc, the creator of Kredik Shaw: “I got bored of doing small sized builds.” Very bored indeed, by the looks of it, and the end result was this mighty temple dedicated to nature itself. Check it out here and get ready to marvel. Marvel away.
While many such builds are often a single, very big structure, there’s nothing to stop you spreading out a little more as space is never tight on a Minecraft server. This lovely town by lentebriesje, which goes by the name of Altsen upon Brine, is a great example of just how picturesque a collection of more modest buildings can be, carefully dotted around the landscape with the minimum of terrain modification. You can find even more images and download a world save here.
Ramping up the scale somewhat, lentebriesje has also been busy with a 1:1,500 recreation of the entire world, continent by continent. This is how Europe looks from space and, I’ve got to say, it does appear to be remarkably similar though somehow it’s just a little bit… blockier?
If you need a break from all your building, perhaps I could recommend the Disney World server? As well as its very pretty centrepiece, a faithful recreation of Disney castle, it has rides aplenty powered by all sorts of redstone engineering. It’s not quite as good as the real thing, mind.
For a different kind of recreation, why not lose yourself in Minecraft for an hour or so by literally losing yourself? This labyrinth was created by redditor Chris-P and is based on the hedge maze from The Shining. Last September I explained why the hotel from the film can’t be recreated, though please feel free to try.
Infrastructure isn’t something we tend to get excited about and it’s easy to understand why, but things like roads, tunnels and bridges can be very beautiful things. Wedgenet’s Bridge Pack collects together a selection of the world’s most famous bridges, including this, the Manhattan Bridge, and also the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Henry Hudson Bridge. It also features many custom-built designs.
Over the last year, New Port Notch has become one of the most well-known Minecraft projects out there. The towering city is the work of just two players, LG193 and ThatDutchLad, and has become so popular that it now has its own subreddit. As well as skyscrapers, city squares and all that you’d expect to find above ground in a metropolis, New Port Notch even has its own subway map.
Then there’s Crafting Azeroth, the ongoing project to recreate all of World of Warcraft in 1:1 scale within Minecraft. It sounds like folly, like a madman’s dream, but it’s progressing remarkably well and it’s a real triumph of human endeavour, if I say so myself. Which I do.
Not all of these maps are just a pretty face, mind. Take the popular adventure maps by Hypixel, such as Herobrine’s Mansion. As well as being a fine looking build of a stately, even intimidating manor, it’s also an excellent co-operative adventure.
Dead End Thrills is a website that hosts some of the best looking screenshots on the internet, and it often features Minecraft contributions. This one, which is simply known as “Ramparts,” is just one more stunning build shown off with some excellent rendering effects. Would you like another?
…Very well then, here’s “Dockland,” similarly impressive.
Many players absolutely love building in the sky, and that’s exactly what Legends of Mythica demonstrates. All that you see is the framework of a roleplay server in the making, but personally I think it does a great job of just being a very, very pretty build.