THE FUTURE OF ARCHITECTURE IN 100 BUILDINGS (PART OF TED BOOKS)
Simon & Schuster, March 2015, RRP $16.99
When you think about it, buildings are a little like clothes, but the kind of clothes you would need if thousands of people stood on each other to create a giant. Buildings reveal the personality of a place. Melbourne wears laneways and fractured architecture like a woman in an upcycled suit and prism necklace; a little pretentious perhaps, but also a fierce seeker of new ideas. We’re drawn to cities as an extension of self, and when the city is transformed by a new construction, we also feel the tug of change.
What we can’t know is what change will be like ahead of time. With advances in building technology and innovations in design occurring at increasing speed, we can only imagine, like the dreams of futuristic cities in science fiction, where we will find ourselves living and how we will fit within those spaces. All we see now is the current playing ground of experimental architecture and creative thinking that might lead to our tantalising future. The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings provides a glimpse into that possible world.
Marc Kushner, architect, TED fellow and founder of the website Architizer, takes us through a visual tour of some of the most beautiful and innovative new buildings around the world. You can’t help but step through the page and imagine yourself inside an inflatable theatre of red, or leaning from a platform to view the fjords of Norway (and your own breath), or even squeezed into the hollow metal column that makes up a bee hive, listening to buzz buzz buzz above your head. The book is a both a catalogue of visual wonders and a checklist of places to see.
Of course, architecture isn’t simply about design, but can be a force for good in the community. The most impactful projects are those which demonstrate the trifecta of aesthetically pleasing, publicly accessibility, and which serve a social or environmental need. How can you not be impressed by the concept design that proposes a combination of public pool and water filtering system? It’s projects like this that will transform public perception around sustainability and draw the issue into everyday conversation.
Where the buildings lack a depth of purpose (a well designed parking garage is still a parking garage) they instead feel like intellectual curiosities of form and style, an exercise rather than solution. The economic costs of design and construction are noticeably missing, and there’s the lingering doubt that maybe good architecture is only for those who can afford the sky. Will the future be a place where we can all live?
The Future of Architecture in 100 Buildings looks through hopeful eyes to see the world as what it could be. It’s a place where plants grow between buildings like a jungle in the air, and building plans are downloaded and printed, ready for assembly. If the future is anything like this architectural dream, then maybe we should get the time machine humming.