Who Will We Consider Today’s Greatest Design Innovators, Tomorrow?

’s Butaro Hospital. Image © Iwan Baan

Often, it is only with hindsight that we can truly understand our world; looking back at how important certain events and people proved to be is much easier than predicting their importance at the time. Still, guessing who will be remembered in posterity is a fun game, so The Atlantic asked various industry leaders “Who Will Tomorrow’s Historians Consider Today’s Greatest Inventors?” The answers span across business, science, technology and design, and among the 9 nominations there are a few names that architects and urban designers may find interesting. Read on after the break to find out just who they are.

Finalists Create Next Generation of Sustainable Building Products

Straw Paneling System Among Finalists. Image Courtesy of Ecococon via Cradle to Cradle

In attempts to better define what it really means to be green, the Cradle to Cradle Innovation Institute, in partnership with Make it Right, has selected from ten companies as finalists in the Product Innovation Challenge. 144 applicants were screened by toxicologists and building professionals, proposing new alternatives from insulation grown from fungi and bricks from living organisms, to roofing made from waste limestone and recycled plastic. The ten finalists represent the shared values of practical and entrepreneurship, creating “a building product that is safe, healthy, affordable, effective and designed to be returned safely to nature or industry after use.”

Three winners will ultimately be announced on November 15, 2013 at the Institute’s Innovation Celebration in New York City, offering a $250,000 cash prize: $125,000 for first place, $75,000 for second and $50,000 for third. The jury members, who include executives from Google, US Green Building Council and the Schmidt Family Foundation, will judge each product based on five categories: material health, material reutilization, water stewardship, renewable energy and social fairness.

Without further ado, the 10 finalists are…

ArchDaily Innovation Challenge – Innovative Workplaces

A better workplace can foster better social dynamics, more creativity, an increase on production, and of course, improve the quality of life of the ones using it on a daily basis.

We have partnered with to recognize the projects that are pushing the boundaries in this area, creating remarkable spaces for work, and also to foster experimentation among students to think about the workplace of the future.

We have therefore divided the competition into two categories: for professionals and for students.

Professionals
Architects from around the world are invited to submit their recently completed workplace projects. The jury will award entries that are able to demonstrate innovations in this area in the form of sketches or diagrams.

Use your power of synthesis to show us why your project introduces to the workplace!

Students
Students from around the world are invited to design an innovative workplace within a given generic floor of office space. This constrain will force students to operate on actual market conditions.

Unleash your imagination within a delimited space to show us how innovation can be made possible in today’s structures, to foster tomorrow’s ideas!

Schedule, eligibility, prizes, and general rules after the break.

Can Architecture Make Us More Creative?

Courtesy of Riverhead Books – Steven Johnson’s “Where Good Ideas Come From” animation

What do MIT’s Building 20, the Ancient Greek Agora, 18th Century British teahouses, and early 20th century Parisian cafés have in common?

They were some of the most creative spaces in the world.

People who gathered there would interact. People, such as Socrates or Chomsky or Edison, exchanged ideas, argued about morals, and discussed technologies. They participated in an informal discourse driven by passionate involvement.

And these places, although for different reasons, fostered interaction by bringing people together and giving them a place to talk. As Jonah Lehrer put it, “the most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks.”

The question, then, is how can contemporary architecture foster the same kind of creativity?

To learn more about architecture and its role in creativity and learning, keep reading after the break.