How does architecture impact the way you live your life?
Probably in more ways than you realize — architectural innovations have allowed us to shape our environments and our lifestyles since the dawn of man. From sturdy mud huts all the way to cathedrals and smart houses, countless advances in architecture have helped our societies to grow, and evolve.
We’re improving building materials, expanding our artistic minds, and connecting across cultures through architecture. Now may be one of the most exciting ages in architectural history, as we witness brilliant innovations and advancements that are taking the industry to the next level.
Here are some of our favorite Ted Talks about the future of architecture:
1. Magical Houses Made of Bamboo – Elora Hardy
The first little pig built his house out of straw, and the second out of sticks — but none of the pigs thought to use bamboo! In her TED Talk, Elora Hardy explains how she was inspired by a six-story bespoke home on the island of Bali, made almost entirely of bamboo. Hardy now works to educate and empower people in using bamboo, respecting the plant, and ultimately, designing and building our dream houses with alternative materials.
It took a while to understand how bamboo can be used as a sustainable alternative, in both architecture and design. Because of the complications that go along with untreated bamboo, designers have to find safe treatment solutions, such as Borax — a natural salt that turns bamboo into a viable building material. If used and treated correctly, bamboo can easily lead us to developments in sustainable timber.
Elora Hardy believes in the future of building with bamboo: “Treat it properly, design it carefully and a bamboo structure can last a lifetime.”
2. Why Great Architecture Should Tell a Story – Ole Scheeren
For Ole Scheeren, a building is so much more than just the concrete, steel and glass it’s made of. In his engaging TED Talk, he begs the questions, “Can architecture be about collaboration and storytelling instead of the isolation and hierarchy of a typical skyscraper?” He showcases some of his building from all over the world, and elaborates on the fascinating stories behind those buildings.
Scheeren challenges the age-old doctrine of architecture, which tells us that ‘form follows function.’ Instead of simply adapting to a required function, he challenges us to think about architecture and buildings as spaces to foster storytelling. People inhabit space, and when we do, experiences are created and stories are told.
3. How Architectural Innovations Migrate Across Borders – Teddy Cruz
Wealthy neighborhoods, standard housing, and impoverished slums grow side by side, the gap between them ever widening. In his Ted Talk, Teddy Cruz urges us to rethink urban development from the bottom up. He explains the increase in inequality, as the world’s cities undergo tremendous growth. Cruz shares lessons from the Tijuana slums, explores the creative intelligence of the city’s residents, and offers new perspectives to consider. He explains that our current urban crisis relates not only to the economy and environment, but also cultural influences.
According to Cruz, the future of cities depends less on architecture and buildings, and more on the reorganization of socio-economic relations. Using the Tijuana slums as an example, he describes how “starting from the bottom” can influence the top. His goal is not to romanticize the impoverished, but rather empower the intelligent game-changers within communities. It’s time to take off our goggles, and understand how wasteful the wealthy are, and how resourceful the poor.
4. Why the Buildings of the Future Will Be Shaped By You – Marc Kushner
You may not know how to design a building yourself, but you are influencing architectural decisions. In this 18-minute TED Talk, Marc Kushner speaks to the last 30 years of architecture, telling us that it’s not about math, or zoning — it’s all about visceral emotions that we connect to the places in which we occupy. “According to the EPA, Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors. That’s 90 percent of our time surrounded by architecture. [It’s] shaping us in ways that we didn’t even realize.”
He discusses how the public, previously disconnected from the industry, has now become an integral part of the design process. Thanks to social media, and other digital communication platforms, feedback reaches architects in the snap of a finger. As a result, the human experience influences the design and building process. With this two-way channel, we have the power to construct designs that can do more for us as a society than ever before. This is a fabulous talk for those interested in the how buildings can shape our future.
5. Metal That Breathes – Doris Kim Sung
Doris Kim Sung is a biologist who now works in architecture; and you’ll be fascinated by her knowledge in the field of thermo-bimetals, and smart materials that act like human skin. She explains the overheating problem in modern buildings that have floor to ceiling windows, comparing this to air-conditioning issues in older cars. Sung explores how we can use biology and architecture in collaboration, to create smart materials that shade a room from sun, and self-ventilate. Physicists, biologists, designers — for that matter, anyone interested in the incredible future of smart materials — will delight in this talk.
“It requires no controls and it requires no energy, and that’s a very big deal for architecture. It’s lamination of two different metals together and because it has two different coefficients of expansion, when heated, one side with expand faster than the other and result in a curling action.” Throughout history, different design trends have influenced the heating and cooling systems of buildings — with a little bit (okay, maybe a lot) of science, we can pro-actively approach this modern day problem, without utilizing a huge amount of energy.
Are you ready to open your mind, and think about your office building, your local library, and your home in a whole new way? These TED Talks showcase some of the best innovation within architecture and design. By educating ourselves on the ever-changing nature of design and development, we’ll be able to create the future we want. Tell us about your favorite influential Ted Talks and disrupters within the field of architecture.
Contributed By: Shane Strowski is the president of Artisan Panels Inc.
Artisan Panels Inc. is a design & manufacturing firm specializing in the creation of decorative perforated panels used to enhance exterior and interior spaces.