How to build a time Machine

Technology is revolutionising Architecture and the Arts. We had the pleasure to attend the first 2020 session of Architects Underground on technological development. The topics were broad and controversial but refreshing and significant. Caleb Femi was a great host for the evening and I do agree with him: bathrooms are the most important part of the building, that's where I normally go when I am having a meltdown!




Nic Monisse's presentation on the Climate Denial in Australia and the Karri Fire House was HOT. It was sad to hear that there has been a lack of preventive action in relation to the increase in bush fires in Australia particular on the part of Scott Morrison who, at the time they were happening, flew out of the country to enjoy a holiday. People who had to face the harsh reality of the fires weren't happy about shaking his hands.

The way climate is changing and the amount of damage we see should be a wake up call for architects to take more action and address issues like maintenance and prevention in all aspects of the built environment. I saw the damage Depression Elsa caused in Lisbon over Christmas ... Amanda Levete's MAAT entrance roof collapsed overnight because of strong winds during the storm. This was one of the biggest investments in Lisbon for the regeneration of the river front in 2016. A building that is 2 years old. It makes you wonder whether top leading architects are even ready to deal with climate change.

Nick gave us a great precedent to look at: The Karri Fire House by Ian Weir and Kylie Feher. The building materials were carefully chosen for their low-combustibility properties and the design incorporates a lot of technical developments adapted to bush-fire intense areas.

Climate is certainly playing an important role on the future of Practice and Education, but it won't happen at the rate that we need it to happen without effort and engagement at an individual self-motivated level rather than merely curricular.

Students and staff from schools across the country have already started to take action. You can find a lot of guidelines within the Architectural Education Declares Manifesto as well as in the UK Architects Declare.

Architecture has to be experienced. It can't be described. We can draw it up and we can make models of it, but it can only be experienced as a complete whole.

Maya Lin


Experience plays a big role in awareness and mindfulness about the built environment. It is through experience that we can afford to position ourselves in alternate realities and encourage or diminish intent for one to become real instead of the other. As Ken Pimentel explains: "Some worlds and realities are more likely than others to occur because of intent."


With the emergence of AI technologies applied to visualisation such as PrometheanAI we will not need to waste so much time estimating which "reality" best suits the purpose of a project. It is incredible: the rapid evolution of AI and the potentials for increasing and facilitating communication between clients and stakeholders in a project are enormous. Making sure everyone is on the same page is an underestimated job, we should make use of every technological advancement that allows more people to express their ideas and partake in the design of our future. Why? because the future is inclusive, carbon neutral, data driven, data enhanced and responsibly controlled.


Architects have a duty to full fill. It is about time we start embracing new technologies and exploring them in an empathetic and deeply understanding way towards the issues that we face today across the globe.


Q's and Jordan's presentations gave us some insights into that future.


The UNHCR Carbon usage data visualisation was an impressive start to make big bodies conscious of their actions. Numbers don't lie ... make them look appealing and interesting and you get people interested in them and what they mean. It is a start for a change in behaviour and levels of conscience.


Funky colours and renders have to actually mean something if they ought to be relevant otherwise we are not engaging deeply enough with the design problem, and how can you possibly propose any design solution when you don't even engage with the problem meaningfully?


It has been mentioned in the Wallacei Lecture Review that future and present technological developments are helping us shift our focus from solution driven Architectures to problem based ones. If one allows oneself to move even deeper into this question we understand that we are observing changes in speed due to entropy (as a conceptual basis). Collisions increase between signals, ideas, intents, realities, cultures, mentalities, mind-sets, personalities ... what ends up happening is an augmentation on the number of problems to be dealt with during a design process in the same project.


We are sorry, we don't have the luxury to render or sketch solutions ourselves and dump that task on genetic algorithms, we programmed ourselves alone through no skills acquired or taught to us in our degree program.

We are too busy understanding problems critically and meaningfully.

Following Dates for the Futurama Series at the RIBA: 18th March | 22nd April Wednesdays 6 pm

We will be sure to attend this series and report back to the Fathership for further directions.

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