Why the buildings of the future will be shaped by … you | Marc Kushner
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Why the buildings of the future will be shaped by … you | Marc Kushner

Translator: Joseph Geni
Reviewer: Krystian Aparta Today I’m going to speak to you about the last 30 years
of architectural history. That’s a lot to pack into 18 minutes. It’s a complex topic, so we’re just going to dive right in
at a complex place: New Jersey. Because 30 years ago, I’m from Jersey, and I was six, and I lived there
in my parents’ house in a town called Livingston, and this was my childhood bedroom. Around the corner from my bedroom was the bathroom
that I used to share with my sister. And in between my bedroom and the bathroom was a balcony that overlooked
the family room. And that’s where everyone
would hang out and watch TV, so that every time that I walked
from my bedroom to the bathroom, everyone would see me, and every time I took a shower
and would come back in a towel, everyone would see me. And I looked like this. I was awkward, insecure, and I hated it. I hated that walk, I hated that balcony, I hated that room, and I hated that house. And that’s architecture. (Laughter) Done. That feeling, those emotions that I felt, that’s the power of architecture, because architecture is not about math
and it’s not about zoning, it’s about those visceral,
emotional connections that we feel to the places that we occupy. And it’s no surprise
that we feel that way, because according to the EPA, Americans spend 90 percent
of their time indoors. That’s 90 percent of our time
surrounded by architecture. That’s huge. That means that architecture is shaping us
in ways that we didn’t even realize. That makes us a little bit gullible
and very, very predictable. It means that when I show you
a building like this, I know what you think: You think “power”
and “stability” and “democracy.” And I know you think that
because it’s based on a building that was build 2,500 years ago
by the Greeks. This is a trick. This is a trigger that architects use to get you to create
an emotional connection to the forms that we build
our buildings out of. It’s a predictable emotional connection, and we’ve been using this trick
for a long, long time. We used it [200] years ago to build banks. We used it in the 19th century
to build art museums. And in the 20th century in America, we used it to build houses. And look at these solid,
stable little soldiers facing the ocean
and keeping away the elements. This is really, really useful, because building things is terrifying. It’s expensive, it takes a long time,
and it’s very complicated. And the people that build things — developers and governments — they’re naturally afraid of innovation, and they’d rather just use those forms
that they know you’ll respond to. That’s how we end up
with buildings like this. This is a nice building. This is the Livingston Public Library that was completed in 2004 in my hometown, and, you know, it’s got a dome and it’s got this round thing
and columns, red brick, and you can kind of guess what Livingston
is trying to say with this building: children, property values and history. But it doesn’t have much to do
with what a library actually does today. That same year, in 2004,
on the other side of the country, another library was completed, and it looks like this. It’s in Seattle. This library is about how
we consume media in a digital age. It’s about a new kind
of public amenity for the city, a place to gather and read and share. So how is it possible that in the same year,
in the same country, two buildings, both called libraries, look so completely different? And the answer is that architecture works
on the principle of a pendulum. On the one side is innovation, and architects are constantly pushing,
pushing for new technologies, new typologies, new solutions
for the way that we live today. And we push and we push and we push until we completely alienate all of you. We wear all black, we get very depressed, you think we’re adorable, we’re dead inside because
we’ve got no choice. We have to go to the other side and reengage those symbols
that we know you love. So we do that, and you’re happy, we feel like sellouts, so we start experimenting again and we push the pendulum back
and back and forth and back and forth we’ve gone for the last 300 years, and certainly for the last 30 years. Okay, 30 years ago
we were coming out of the ’70s. Architects had been busy experimenting
with something called brutalism. It’s about concrete. (Laughter) You can guess this. Small windows, dehumanizing scale. This is really tough stuff. So as we get closer to the ’80s, we start to reengage those symbols. We push the pendulum
back into the other direction. We take these forms that we know you love and we update them. We add neon and we add pastels and we use new materials. And you love it. And we can’t give you enough of it. We take Chippendale armoires and we turned those into skyscrapers, and skyscrapers can be
medieval castles made out of glass. Forms got big, forms got bold and colorful. Dwarves became columns. (Laughter) Swans grew to the size of buildings. It was crazy. But it’s the ’80s, it’s cool. (Laughter) We’re all hanging out in malls and we’re all moving to the suburbs, and out there, out in the suburbs, we can create our own
architectural fantasies. And those fantasies, they can be Mediterranean or French or Italian. (Laughter) Possibly with endless breadsticks. This is the thing about postmodernism. This is the thing about symbols. They’re easy, they’re cheap, because instead of making places, we’re making memories of places. Because I know,
and I know all of you know, this isn’t Tuscany. This is Ohio. (Laughter) So architects get frustrated, and we start pushing the pendulum
back into the other direction. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, we start experimenting with something
called deconstructivism. We throw out historical symbols, we rely on new, computer-aided
design techniques, and we come up with new compositions, forms crashing into forms. This is academic and heady stuff, it’s super unpopular, we totally alienate you. Ordinarily, the pendulum would just
swing back into the other direction. And then, something amazing happened. In 1997, this building opened. This is the Guggenheim Bilbao,
by Frank Gehry. And this building fundamentally changes
the world’s relationship to architecture. Paul Goldberger said that Bilbao
was one of those rare moments when critics, academics,
and the general public were completely united around a building. The New York Times
called this building a miracle. Tourism in Bilbao increased 2,500 percent after this building was completed. So all of a sudden, everybody
wants one of these buildings: L.A., Seattle, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Springfield. (Laughter) Everybody wants one,
and Gehry is everywhere. He is our very first starchitect. Now, how is it possible
that these forms — they’re wild and radical — how is it possible that they become
so ubiquitous throughout the world? And it happened because media
so successfully galvanized around them that they quickly taught us
that these forms mean culture and tourism. We created an emotional
reaction to these forms. So did every mayor in the world. So every mayor knew
that if they had these forms, they had culture and tourism. This phenomenon
at the turn of the new millennium happened to a few other starchitects. It happened to Zaha and it happened to Libeskind, and what happened
to these elite few architects at the turn of the new millennium could actually start to happen
to the entire field of architecture, as digital media starts
to increase the speed with which we consume information. Because think about
how you consume architecture. A thousand years ago, you would have had to have walked to
the village next door to see a building. Transportation speeds up: You can take a boat, you can take a plane,
you can be a tourist. Technology speeds up:
You can see it in a newspaper, on TV, until finally, we are all
architectural photographers, and the building has become
disembodied from the site. Architecture is everywhere now, and that means that
the speed of communication has finally caught up
to the speed of architecture. Because architecture
actually moves quite quickly. It doesn’t take long
to think about a building. It takes a long time to build a building, three or four years, and in the interim, an architect
will design two or eight or a hundred other buildings before they know if that building
that they designed four years ago was a success or not. That’s because there’s never been
a good feedback loop in architecture. That’s how we end up
with buildings like this. Brutalism wasn’t a two-year movement, it was a 20-year movement. For 20 years, we were producing
buildings like this because we had no idea
how much you hated it. It’s never going to happen again, I think, because we are living on the verge
of the greatest revolution in architecture since the invention of concrete, of steel, or of the elevator, and it’s a media revolution. So my theory is that when
you apply media to this pendulum, it starts swinging faster and faster, until it’s at both extremes
nearly simultaneously, and that effectively blurs the difference
between innovation and symbol, between us, the architects,
and you, the public. Now we can make nearly instantaneous,
emotionally charged symbols out of something that’s brand new. Let me show you how this plays out in a project that my firm
recently completed. We were hired to replace this building,
which burned down. This is the center of a town
called the Pines in Fire Island in New York State. It’s a vacation community. We proposed a building that was audacious, that was different than any of the forms
that the community was used to, and we were scared
and our client was scared and the community was scared, so we created a series
of photorealistic renderings that we put onto Facebook and we put onto Instagram, and we let people start
to do what they do: share it, comment, like it, hate it. But that meant that two years
before the building was complete, it was already a part of the community, so that when the renderings
looked exactly like the finished product, there were no surprises. This building was already a part
of this community, and then that first summer, when people started arriving
and sharing the building on social media, the building ceased to be just an edifice
and it became media, because these, these are not
just pictures of a building, they’re your pictures of a building. And as you use them to tell your story, they become part
of your personal narrative, and what you’re doing
is you’re short-circuiting all of our collective memory, and you’re making these charged symbols
for us to understand. That means we don’t need
the Greeks anymore to tell us what to think
about architecture. We can tell each other
what we think about architecture, because digital media hasn’t just changed
the relationship between all of us, it’s changed the relationship
between us and buildings. Think for a second about
those librarians back in Livingston. If that building was going
to be built today, the first thing they would do is go online
and search “new libraries.” They would be bombarded by examples
of experimentation, of innovation, of pushing at the envelope
of what a library can be. That’s ammunition. That’s ammunition
that they can take with them to the mayor of Livingston,
to the people of Livingston, and say, there’s no one answer
to what a library is today. Let’s be a part of this. This abundance of experimentation gives them the freedom
to run their own experiment. Everything is different now. Architects are no longer
these mysterious creatures that use big words
and complicated drawings, and you aren’t the hapless public, the consumer that won’t accept
anything that they haven’t seen anymore. Architects can hear you, and you’re not intimidated
by architecture. That means that that pendulum
swinging back and forth from style to style,
from movement to movement, is irrelevant. We can actually move forward and find relevant solutions
to the problems that our society faces. This is the end of architectural history, and it means that
the buildings of tomorrow are going to look a lot different
than the buildings of today. It means that a public space
in the ancient city of Seville can be unique and tailored
to the way that a modern city works. It means that a stadium in Brooklyn
can be a stadium in Brooklyn, not some red-brick historical pastiche of what we think a stadium ought to be. It means that robots are going
to build our buildings, because we’re finally ready for the forms
that they’re going to produce. And it means that buildings
will twist to the whims of nature instead of the other way around. It means that a parking garage
in Miami Beach, Florida, can also be a place for sports and for yoga and you can even
get married there late at night. (Laughter) It means that three architects
can dream about swimming in the East River of New York, and then raise nearly
half a million dollars from a community
that gathered around their cause, no one client anymore. It means that no building
is too small for innovation, like this little reindeer pavilion that’s as muscly and sinewy
as the animals it’s designed to observe. And it means that a building
doesn’t have to be beautiful to be lovable, like this ugly little building in Spain, where the architects dug a hole, packed it with hay, and then poured concrete around it, and when the concrete dried, they invited someone to come
and clean that hay out so that all that’s left when it’s done is this hideous little room that’s filled with the imprints
and scratches of how that place was made, and that becomes the most sublime place
to watch a Spanish sunset. Because it doesn’t matter
if a cow builds our buildings or a robot builds our buildings. It doesn’t matter how we build,
it matters what we build. Architects already know how
to make buildings that are greener and smarter and friendlier. We’ve just been waiting
for all of you to want them. And finally, we’re not
on opposite sides anymore. Find an architect, hire an architect, work with us to design better buildings,
better cities, and a better world, because the stakes are high. Buildings don’t just reflect our society,
they shape our society down to the smallest spaces: the local libraries, the homes where we raise our children, and the walk that they take
from the bedroom to the bathroom. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Why the buildings of the future will be shaped by … you | Marc Kushner

  1. I'm terribly enthused about all this, though I wish today's buildings had more gothic influences. Cathedrals… Cool

  2. Googling for other people's ideas, what the Chinese do routinely, is proof of little or no imagination. Imagination is the universal arena of creativity, not google. I designed a future building 15 years ago that changes according to the needs of the inhabitants. This concept/invention will be published/illustrated next year alongside several others.

  3. I just have to say with all the "emphasis" on sustainability and wise use of resources these days, this guy is completely lost to the fact that most of these wild new fantastic buildings that he lauds are a complete waste of time, resources and space just so guys like him can say they are pushing the limits. What an idiot. That Ohio Library for some reason is "not" a social center and gathering place because it is more traditional and the Seattle library is, just because it is all glass and steal and futuristic? How much did the Seattle library cost? How much of it's cost was dedicated useless space for the wow factor that the public has to pay for? How much CO2 was pumped into the atmosphere to produce all that glitz, just for satiating his and other architects desire to push the envelope, these same folks demonize industry and hysterically rant about the Armageddon of climate change at our door step, yet here he is telling us that people are simpletons for choosing a traditional design over these other outlandish (though beautiful) designs that speak of pure consumption and personal vanity. Houston we have a problem…

  4. Super!
    Off- grid tiny, either ensconced halfway into the earth, or on wheels …
    What's needed is low cost housing that doesn't depress the spirit.
    Independence and greater health can be accessed via tiny home gardens, permaculture experiments, etc …
    Zoning must be addressed, etc so that this can uplift strengthen and unify communities …

  5. Kushner is a Jew name & what do you know he has his own Firm, ugh whatever. Thanks for the gay bathroom story i want my time back

  6. Upper class homes are modern, middle class are five decades behind the trends before building codes demolish the old for the new.

  7. I think Mr. Kushner and many other architects miss the point on what makes architecture popular or disliked. The modern work that he seems to think found acceptance through social media evoked nature or natural lifestyles. The first had a fluidity of line that made it less cold than most modern structures, and the other had a rough-hewn rustic look. People like pillars, I believe, because they unconsciously relate them to treetrunks, and the flourishes of antique furniture because they invoke leaves and organic forms. Whereas modern Bahaus or Brutal forms seem to invoke nothing except for the architect's cold, mathematical ego. Also, both of the accepted modern buildings had detail providing visual entertainment, whereas most modern work is minimalist and can cause actual physical stress from the lack of visual stimuli. I think the future of architecture lies in fluid, soft, inviting, nature-inspired forms, with intriguing detail–something that doesn't look like a high school math assignment.

  8. If a rendering has at least one instagramable angle and social media wannabes, bulimics, impostors, and what nots loved it, we should build it because that building is going to be successful. That's a huge load of bull.

  9. I want to give a few ideas about being a woman . . . Signed some dude. It’s just I’m also a fan of leaders leading sometimes, maybe even rarely; but not every discipline needs crowd sourcing. I’m not even an architect.

  10. As a former architect myself I can say this based on my own reflection and observations over the years: an architect's perspective on what is a "good" architecture can be just as narrow as anyone else's. Sometimes a "good architecture" to an architect is about landing on the cover page of certain magazines – or gathering likes on social media nowadays. The role of architects have been devolving into mostly playing with forms and shapes and often with a severe lack of understanding of the economics and operations of buildings and cities.

  11. only 4:16 minutes into the video and i'm annoyed. i wouldn't even step into the modern monstrosity. imagine a hot day. it is just damn ugly. the first one wasn't too nice either, but i liked the columns.
    that glass monstrosity looks like a greenhouse and who would want to go there to stay online, when they can easily do that at home.
    ah, well… maybe i'l old fashioned.

  12. All this happy bs, yet nearly every home builder in America still includes formal living rooms and dining rooms that never get used, puts in two-story family rooms with tons of glass that make occupants feel like fish in an aquarium, and promote open floorplan concepts where every sound is heard everywhere in the house and there are few private, cozy places. If architecture is moving forward, it sure doesn't seem to be serving the new home buyer with practicality or a very long-term vision. In the place we spend most of our time indoors, architecture isn't doing much to improve the experience.

  13. considering that the poll was conducted for and by people who sit inside. it is completely wrong.. and also biased.

  14. Speaking about outside, exterior, and finishing with interior !?
    Sooo, back to my house project with "Revit"! Interior practical, comfortable, smart, organised, with large spaces… Exterior, i dont care… As you said, 90% of the time is inside!

  15. サムネ物凄い構造してんな


  16. I remember this TED X, I called that German buiding a pile of scrap metal in on the the thousand or so comments below. I still mean it. Too many hours working around steel mills and junk yards have taken their toll on my view of architecture. Sorry

  17. Perhaps Architects need to learn how to listen to public's comment after advertising their 3D model on-line

  18. Americans who spends 90% indoors are probably climate change deniers… So pampered with things they could just buy and probably waste things because they could just afford it. Not thinking behind the things they can buy that everything has limits and every resource we have is very precious.

  19. It's a slap in the face of thousands of years of European architecture. That is all modern architecture is, and these deconstructionists, post modernists know it. They revel in it.

  20. For 3 years Brexit has not reach an agreement, why ? The world is made up of Yin n Yang, so is your birth date, 50% of them will agree, the other 50% of the people always want to be against the other half, those that want to follow me, just follow, those that don't want is ok, by all means, when I am alive I aim for money
    N stability, when I am died, I aim for heaven !

  21. 卖豆芽卖我一公斤,我一个人吃, 这种小贩,很好哦!所以要搬离新加坡 !我要组织自己的国家 !

  22. Wow absolutely amazing because this man giving this talk is a genius that he would make that observation and be able to turn it into an educational experience for the public rather than setting himself up on a pedestal whether there's a roof on top of that pedestal or not above the rest He's talking our language and sharing with us the connections rather than the disembodiment of how we commune with everything around us and everything within us and how all of our beliefs are built on a faulty foundation we were had by the so-called geniuses who created a world around their own imagining manipulating us into believing we should be apart from nature rather than a part of it and that's how it all began with someone else's dog someone else is thinking and someone else is creating a world that we never asked for and now adopt and believe is what is supposed to be without ever having question that. Now I know that's a run-on sentence but let me just warn you I could care less about society and what it dictates cuz I'm a creator in my own right and so are you we're all co-creators. But what have we created? An absolute mess an ILL.us.ion.
    As he points out…

    Well don't think that you're not the architect of your life and how the story goes it doesn't have to be the way they designed it and they programmed us to believe it should be. You're not a slave He didn't come here to build their buildings to run their businesses and to run yourself right into the ground you didn't come here to be disconnected cuz there's no time for that socializing caring for your neighbor recognizing the homeless offering them something like a smile a meal or place to shower possibly even do something more philanthropic rather than handing them a meal whether it's fish or a burger you have them your hand and help them up by teaching them a better way one that will sustain their life help them build resources so that they can give back as well. But that's not where our society and culture has taught us it's taught us to hide in buildings 90% of the time collective mini toys as possible and hoard everything then by weapons to protect that stuff that has no meaning from the people we think want because they don't have it. That's an incredible realization and that is exactly how those who consider themselves successful operate they operate from place of fear rather than gratitude and love. Somehow in their mind they feel that they're elite privileged And it's because there were the and others aren't. But buildings are his business and life is mine. There are many types of homes in today's world. Many people are opting out of going this long expensive arguments route. they're trading everything in and buying sprinter vans building a small dwelling within the back of it and combining their love of travel their love of being free all in one place they have transportation they have water they have kitchens they have beds and they have porta potties they can get up and go whenever they want to and no one can tell them how much money they owe them for their expense of storage unit known as an apartment a rental house a condo a vacation rental. They know that life is too short and there's too much to see and too many people to meet. They don't need much to be happy and because of that they are free to go and to come wherever they please. they don't have to work for someone else if they don't want to they can do the things that they love
    Earn small amount of money to purchase the things they can't build create or make. They must rather see nature spend time with friends make new friends love learn and sit around contemplating themselves in the world around them. But there's so many people opting out right now they're trading it all in call their American dreams which turned out to be a nightmare for something more and that means going Less. Technology allows people to work from wherever they are to take breaks when everything need whether it's for the bathroom or simply for themselves to rest digest and recharge. Like nature intended for all of us every animal and don't think for a second that you are not related to that cow who ate that hay. You are because you're a mammal. We have the cognitive capacity so we think to live a better life and yet That's not the world we created we created separation division superiority infuriating domination and devastation. And finally created disassociation and disconnection from the planet from the resources and from one another but the most horrifying thing we ever did was disconnect from the truth first of who you are before they told you who you should be and from one another because that word right there if you divide it into an and other it holds the truth and that is that they are another you. We have ideas of grandeur but they often are exclusive for certain individuals that we deem while we condemn the rest. So thank you for the inspiration deer sir fellow New Jersey and architect. I appreciate the philosophical spark

  23. Sounds like a good dream till you realize what the governments are up to and how they will restrict everything in the future.

  24. bluargh. The juice simply hate that they can not do it better than the europeans. So they create this ugly temporary (modernism) world.

  25. Whatever form a building takes, the function has to be there, including efficient use of water and energy resources. The engineered part relating to function should not be part of public opinion. Each person decides what makes a bridge beautiful, which is immaterial to the purpose carrying a load so people and can move over water quickly.

  26. He s happy bc architects get a feedback from social media . What a great progress ….? Good for you , your is getting easier , but he doesn't talk about what s really important : how we should stop building in conflict with our environment.

  27. We lost 2 dominating trade towers that was full of brawn and for 3 billion we got back a bland glass rectangle the freedom tower.
    dubai couldve built 2 burge kaliefs for the same cost and they made something classy.
    We really havnt built anything as stylish as everyine else in decades.
    This was our most orestigous and important build ever and the trade center plaza even had the money to do whatever with yet we get what we got .

  28. If you have to share your design online before it’s built to get consensus and know if it’s right for the brief, then you are not an architect but more a dressmaker! His building is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.

  29. One thing he has forgotten to say is that architects use to be servants to the powerfull, families, companies, political parties, like other professionals. With 3d printing, new sophisticated parametric softwares, like Catia, Generative Components, Grass Hoppers, and the feed back from social media, now the public have more say for taste, image, AI technologies and robotics with its messages and new organic and soft culture.

  30. Now the organic shape style is the new style, because it represent nature or Zoomorphic architecture. It is becoming trendy because it is very sexy and represent AI and its powerfull developments and supporters. By the way it was Saint Diago Calatrava and Ero Saarinen who started the organic and Zoomorphic shapes before Frank Gehry, a long time ago.

  31. I have to no room I share room with my brother and grand mom and this room is not room but drawing room just like there is guest , TV, noise etc …😣

  32. I thought he was going to say the sun, the heat, and the warming environment were going to change how we live. This was okay too, I guess.

  33. I don't know why I'm watching this. I don't have free time going in the local library because I work 10 hours a day and even don't have money to buy a panel apartment. Oh wait I can shape buildings of the future by voting in social networks… because these architects are too afraid to lose money and need people's voice. Оn top of it I already paid 18 minutes of my time watching this.

  34. …in the USA. For your information, this man who speaks here knows very little about the history and evolution of architecture

  35. Le Corbusier le savait … Nos anciens construisaient leur temples en se basant sur le nombre d'or (géométrie sacrée) car tout ce qui est construit au nombre d'or est transparent à la véritable lumière … Pour nos anciens la véritable lumière serait ce que l'on nomme aujourd'hui "la matière noire" sur le plan scientifique … Notez que les humains, la faune et la flore sont eux aussi construit au nombre d'or, Le Corbusier le savait …

  36. 15:30 yeah… but the idea of "innovation" is the contemporary "pastiche of architecture". How does reactionary data from social media serve as a legitimate marker for what buildings should BE? Also, who actually follows the Kushers on social media? Architects, real estate firms, Russian oligarchs et. al… not really the best representation of the general public if you ask me.

  37. It takes a while to think properly about a building too mate. I spend countless of hours gaining feedback from anyone who has a slight interest in what I have to say about a project I would be working on. It takes months to properly design and think about all the details. The building part is the easy part especially in today's era. And buildings have always been shaped by the masses. If we only appealed to ourselves, I doubt anyone would consider hiring us. Architecture responds to the environment physically or intangibly (through client needs, wants, programming, target audience, personal values, advertising, globalisation etc.) whether you like it or not.

    Although I agree that we are now in an age where we are forced to keep up with technology and therefore should embrace it to make the lives of all better in all aspects. Not just aesthetics and form. A responsible architect observes beyond the paycheck and the personal need to mindlessly create and tackles something far more complicated than producing a building that works. That is why I can't respect Frank Ghery who draws inspiration from a piece of rubbish or Zaha with her rigid form finding and lack of programming and people understanding. We should be using our position to educate the public about what a truly good standard of living is, one that is not detrimental to ourselves and the environment. Ethics over aesthetics. A building that follows this can only bring out good emotions and good vibes.

  38. exactly love him and his thinking.. i want to create my own society with buildings, schools and everyhing that good people need.

  39. ….IMHO: Just focus on Frank Lloyd Wright's design criteria, and throw out the rest of Architecture!,…. (It's CRAP!!!)

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