10 Inspiring Architecture TED Talks

TED Talks on Architecture

Following on from my previous post, highlighting the Speech to Harvard Architecture Graduates by TED’s curator Chris Anderson I thought it would be appropriate to highlight some of the most popular TED Talks on Architecture,

Here were some of Chris Anderson’s favouirte TED Talks on Architecture:

  • Thomas Heatherwick – 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.
  • Joshua Prince-Ramus: Building a theater that remakes itself
    Joshua Prince-Ramus believes that if architects re-engineer their design process, the results can be spectacular. Speaking at TEDxSMU, Dallas, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bjarke Ingels: 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. Read my Interview with Bjarke Ingels

Here are 10 more inspiring TED Talks:

1. Cameron Sinclair: TED Prize wish: Open-source architecture to house the world

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.

More on Cameron Sinclair (follow Cameron on Twitter)

2. Carlo Ratti: Architecture that senses and responds

With his team at SENSEable City Lab, MIT’s Carlo Ratti makes cool things by sensing the data we create. He pulls from passive data sets — like the calls we make, the garbage we throw away — to create surprising visualizations of city life. And he and his team create dazzling interactive environments from moving water and flying light, powered by simple gestures caught through sensors.

More on Carlo Ratti:

3. Rogier van der Heide: 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.

More on Dan Phillips:

4. Ellen Dunham-Jones: Retrofitting suburbia

Ellen Dunham-Jones fires the starting shot for the next 50 years’ big sustainable design project: retrofitting suburbia. To come: Dying malls rehabilitated, dead “big box” stores re-inhabited, parking lots transformed into thriving wetlands.

More on Ellen Dunham-Jones:

5. James Howard Kunstler: The tragedy of suburbia

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.

More on James Howard Kunstler:

6. Carolyn Steel: How food shapes our cities

Every day, in a city the size of London, 30 million meals are served. But where does all the food come from? Architect Carolyn Steel discusses the daily miracle of feeding a city, and shows how ancient food routes shaped the modern world.

More on Carolyn Steel (follow Carolyn Steel on twitter)

7. David Byrne: 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.

More on David Byrne

  • Bicycle Diaries – David has been riding a bike since the early ’80s, and this book is a journal of his observations and insights as he has pedalled through the worlds major cities.
  • The Hungry City Blog –

8. Michael Pawlyn: 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.

More on Michael Pawlyn:

9. Mitchell Joachim: 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.

More on Mitchell Joachim:

10. Magnus Larsson: 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.

More on Magnus Larsson:

  • – his studio’s website
  • Sand/Stone – Geoff Manaugh’s article on Larsson’s ambitious landscape design project

What are your favourite TED talks on Architecture? or even more generally, which TED talks have you found most inspiring? Let me know in the comments below!


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