Why the buildings of the future will be shaped by ... you
"Architecture is not about math or zoning — it's about visceral emotions," says Marc Kushner. In a sweeping — often funny — talk, he zooms through the past thirty years of architecture to show how the public, once disconnected, have become an essential part of the design process. With the help of social media, feedback reaches architects years before a building is
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Magical houses, made of bamboo
You've never seen buildings like this. The stunning bamboo homes built by Elora Hardy and her team in Bali twist, curve and surprise at every turn. They defy convention because the bamboo itself is so enigmatic. No two poles of bamboo are alike, so every home, bridge and bathroom is exquisitely unique. In this beautiful, immersive talk, she shares the potential of
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3 warp-speed architecture tales
Danish architect Bjarke Ingels rockets through photo/video-mingled stories of his eco-flashy designs. His buildings not only look like nature -- they act like nature: blocking the wind, collecting solar energy -- and creating stunning views.
How bad architecture wrecked cities
In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good. Instead, he argues, what we have in America is a nation of places not worth caring about.
Using nature's genius in architecture
How can architects build a new world of sustainable beauty? By learning from nature. At TEDSalon in London, Michael Pawlyn describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun.
Cradle to cradle design
Green-minded architect and designer William McDonough asks what our buildings and products would look like if designers took into account "all children, all species, for all time."
Kamal Meattle on how to grow fresh air
Researcher Kamal Meattle shows how an arrangement of three common houseplants, used in specific spots in a home or office building, can result in measurably cleaner indoor air.
Architecture for the people by the people
Designer Alastair Parvin presents a simple but provocative idea: what if, instead of architects creating buildings for those who can afford to commission them, regular citizens could design and build their own houses? The concept is at the heart of WikiHouse, an open source construction kit that means just about anyone can build a house, anywhere.
Creative houses from reclaimed stuff
In this funny and insightful talk from TEDxHouston, builder Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he's built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. Brilliant, low-tech design details will refresh your own creative drive.
Building the Seed Cathedral
A future more beautiful? Architect Thomas Heatherwick shows five recent projects featuring ingenious bio-inspired designs. Some are remakes of the ordinary: a bus, a bridge, a power station ... And one is an extraordinary pavilion, the Seed Cathedral, a celebration of growth and light.
How to reinvent the apartment building
In 1967, Moshe Safdie reimagined the monolithic apartment building, creating “Habitat ’67,” which gave each unit an unprecedented sense of openness. Nearly 50 years later, he believes the need for this type of building is greater than ever. In this short talk, Safdie surveys a range of projects that do away with the high-rise and let light permeate into densely-packed
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Building unimaginable shapes
Inspired by cell division, Michael Hansmeyer writes algorithms that design outrageously fascinating shapes and forms with millions of facets. No person could draft them by hand, but they're buildable -- and they could revolutionize the way we think of architectural form.
How can technology transform the human body?
TED Fellow Lucy McRae is a body architect -- she imagines ways to merge biology and technology in our own bodies. In this visually stunning talk, she shows her work, from clothes that recreate the body's insides for a music video with pop-star Robyn, to a pill that, when swallowed, lets you sweat perfume.
Buildings that blend nature and city
A skyscraper that channels the breeze ... a building that creates community around a hearth ... Jeanne Gang uses architecture to build relationships. In this engaging tour of her work, Gang invites us into buildings large and small, from a surprising local community center to a landmark Chicago skyscraper. "Through architecture, we can do much more than create
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Symmetry, reality's riddle
The world turns on symmetry -- from the spin of subatomic particles to the dizzying beauty of an arabesque. But there's more to it than meets the eye. Here, Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy offers a glimpse of the invisible numbers that marry all symmetrical objects.
Why architects need to use their ears
Because of poor acoustics, students in classrooms miss 50 percent of what their teachers say and patients in hospitals have trouble sleeping because they continually feel stressed. Julian Treasure sounds a call to action for designers to pay attention to the “invisible architecture” of sound.
What happens when a city runs out of room for its dead
"If you want to go out and start your own cemetery" in the UK, says Alison Killing, "you kind of can." She thinks a lot about where we die and are buried — and in this talk, the architect and TED Fellow offers an eye-opening economic and social perspective on an overlooked feature of our towns and cities: the cemetery. Speaking specifically to UK laws, she unpacks the
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Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city
How can we fit more people into cities without overcrowding? Kent Larson shows off folding cars, quick-change apartments and other innovations that could make the city of the future work a lot like a small village of the past.
Design at the intersection of technology and biology
Designer and architect Neri Oxman is leading the search for ways in which digital fabrication technologies can interact with the biological world. Working at the intersection of computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering and synthetic biology, her lab is pioneering a new age of symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, our products and
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The fractals at the heart of African designs
'I am a mathematician, and I would like to stand on your roof.' That is how Ron Eglash greeted many African families he met while researching the fractal patterns he’d noticed in villages across the continent.
John Hodgman, comedian and resident expert, "explains" the design of three iconic modern objects. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)
Daniel Libeskind's 17 words of architectural inspiration
Daniel Libeskind builds on very big ideas. Here, he shares 17 words that underlie his vision for architecture -- raw, risky, emotional, radical -- and that offer inspiration for any bold creative pursuit.
New York's streets? Not so mean any more
In this funny and thought-provoking talk, Janette Sadik-Khan, transportation commissioner of New York City, shares projects that have reshaped street life in the 5 boroughs, including pedestrian zones in Times Square, high-performance buses and a 6,000-cycle-strong bike share. Her mantra: Do bold experiments that are cheap to try out.
Architecture at home in its community
When TED Fellow Xavier Vilalta was commissioned to create a multistory shopping mall in Addis Ababa, he panicked. Other centers represented everything he hated about contemporary architecture: wasteful, glass towers requiring tons of energy whose design had absolutely nothing to do with Africa. In this charming talk, Vilalta shows how he champions an
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A call for open-source architecture
Accepting his 2006 TED Prize, Cameron Sinclair demonstrates how passionate designers and architects can respond to world housing crises. He unveils his TED Prize wish for a network to improve global living standards through collaborative design.
Don't build your home, grow it!
TED Fellow and urban designer Mitchell Joachim presents his vision for sustainable, organic architecture: eco-friendly abodes grown from plants and -- wait for it -- meat.
Norman Foster's green agenda
Architect Norman Foster discusses his own work to show how computers can help architects design buildings that are green, beautiful and "basically pollution-free." From the 2007 DLD Conference, Munich; www.dld-conference.com
How to go to space, without having to go to space
"We will start inhabiting outer space," says Angelo Vermeulen, crew commander of a NASA-funded Mars simulation. "It might take 50 years or it might take 500 years, but it’s going to happen." In this charming talk, the TED Senior Fellow describes some of his official work to make sure humans are prepared for life in deep space ... and shares a fascinating art project
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There’s a better way to die, and architecture can help
In this short, provocative talk, architect Alison Killing looks at buildings where death and dying happen — cemeteries, hospitals, homes. The way we die is changing, and the way we build for dying ... well, maybe that should too. It's a surprisingly fascinating look at a hidden aspect of our cities, and our lives.
Thom Mayne on architecture as connection
Architect Thom Mayne has never been one to take the easy option, and this whistle-stop tour of the buildings he's created makes you glad for it. These are big ideas cast in material form.
Joshua Prince-Ramus on Seattle's library
Architect Joshua Prince-Ramus takes the audience on dazzling, dizzying virtual tours of three recent projects: the Central Library in Seattle, the Museum Plaza in Louisville and the Charles Wyly Theater in Dallas.
Architecture that repairs itself?
Venice is sinking. To save it, Rachel Armstrong says we need to outgrow architecture made of inert materials and, well, make architecture that grows itself. She proposes a not-quite-alive material that does its own repairs and sequesters carbon, too.
How to reduce poverty? Fix homes
In 1985, architect Paul Pholeros was challenged by the director of an Aboriginal-controlled health service to "stop people getting sick" in a small indigenous community in south Australia. The key insights: think beyond medicine and fix the local environment. In this sparky, interactive talk, Pholeros describes projects undertaken by Healthabitat, the
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How I brought a river, and my city, back to life
The Fez River winds through the medina of Fez, Morocco—a mazelike medieval city that’s a World Heritage site. Once considered the “soul” of this celebrated city, the river succumbed to sewage and pollution, and in the 1950s was covered over bit by bit until nothing remained. TED Fellow Aziza Chaouni recounts her 20 year effort to restore this river to its former glory
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The shareable future of cities
How can cities help save the future? Alex Steffen shows some cool neighborhood-based green projects that expand our access to things we want and need -- while reducing the time we spend in cars.
Building a theater that remakes itself
Joshua Prince-Ramus believes that if architects re-engineer their design process, the results can be spectacular. In his talk, he walks us through his fantastic re-creation of the local Wyly Theater as a giant "theatrical machine" that reconfigures itself at the touch of a button. (Filmed at TEDxSMU.)
We're covered in germs. Let's design for that.
Our bodies and homes are covered in microbes -- some good for us, some bad for us. As we learn more about the germs and microbes who share our living spaces, TED Fellow Jessica Green asks: Can we design buildings that encourage happy, healthy microbial environments?
Nathaniel Kahn on "My Architect"
Nathaniel Kahn shares clips from his documentary "My Architect," about his quest to understand his father, the legendary architect Louis Kahn. It's a film with meaning to anyone who seeks to understand the relationship between art and love.
A giant bubble for debate
How do you make a great public space inside a not-so-great building? Liz Diller shares the story of creating a welcoming, lighthearted (even, dare we say it, sexy) addition to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. (From The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.)
Moshe Safdie on building uniqueness
Looking back over his long career, architect Moshe Safdie delves into four of his design projects and explains how he labored to make each one truly unique for its site and its users.
Stewart Brand on the Long Now
Stewart Brand works on the Clock of the Long Now, a timepiece that counts down the next 10,000 years. It's a beautiful project that asks us to think about the far, far future. Here, he discusses a tricky side problem with the Clock: Where can we put it?
Reviving New York's rivers -- with oysters!
Architect Kate Orff sees the oyster as an agent of urban change. Bundled into beds and sunk into city rivers, oysters slurp up pollution and make legendarily dirty waters clean -- thus driving even more innovation in "oyster-tecture." Orff shares her vision for an urban landscape that links nature and humanity for mutual benefit.
Liz Diller plays with architecture
In this engrossing EG talk, architect Liz Diller shares her firm DS+R's more unusual work, including the Blur Building, whose walls are made of fog, and the revamped Alice Tully Hall, which is wrapped in glowing wooden skin.
Reed Kroloff on modern and romantic architecture
Reed Kroloff gives us a new lens for judging new architecture: is it modern, or is it romantic? Look for glorious images from two leading practices -- and a blistering critique of the 9/11 planning process.
Haiti's disaster of engineering
"Haiti was not a natural disaster," says TED Fellow Peter Haas: "It was a disaster of engineering." As the country rebuilds after January's deadly quake, are bad old building practices creating another ticking time bomb? Haas's group, AIDG, is helping Haiti's builders learn modern building and engineering practices, to assemble a strong country brick by brick.
How Syria's architecture laid the foundation for brutal war
What caused the war in Syria? Oppression, drought and religious differences all played key roles, but Marwa Al-Sabouni suggests another reason: architecture. Speaking to us over the Internet from Homs, where for the last six years she has watched the war tear her city apart, Al-Sabouni suggests that Syria's architecture divided its once tolerant and multicultural
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How architecture helped music evolve
As his career grew, David Byrne went from playing CBGB to Carnegie Hall. He asks: Does the venue make the music? From outdoor drumming to Wagnerian operas to arena rock, he explores how context has pushed musical innovation.
David Rockwell builds at Ground Zero
In this emotionally charged conversation with journalist Kurt Andersen, designer David Rockwell discusses the process of building a viewing platform at Ground Zero shortly after 9/11.
Turning dunes into architecture
Architecture student Magnus Larsson details his bold plan to transform the harsh Sahara desert using bacteria and a surprising construction material: the sand itself.
Frank Gehry asks "Then what?"
In a wildly entertaining discussion with Richard Saul Wurman, architect Frank Gehry gives TEDsters his take on the power of failure, his recent buildings, and the all-important “Then what?” factor.
Why light needs darkness
Lighting architect Rogier van der Heide offers a beautiful new way to look at the world -- by paying attention to light (and to darkness). Examples from classic buildings illustrate a deeply thought-out vision of the play of light around us.
How do you build a sacred space?
To design the Bahá'í Temple of South America, architect Siamak Hariri focused on illumination — from the temple's form, which captures the movement of the sun throughout the day, to the iridescent, luminous stone and glass used to construct it. Join Hariri for a journey through the creative process, as he explores what makes for a sacred experience in a secular world.