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TED Talk: Norman Foster on Green Architecture

“As an architect you design for the present, with an awareness of the past, for a future which is essentially unknown. The green agenda is probably the most important agenda and issue of the day […] all the projects which have, in some way, been inspired by that agenda are about a celebratory lifestyle, in a way celebrating the places and spaces which determine the quality of life.”

TED Talk: Shea Trahan on the Relationship Between Sound and Architecture

“As a designer, we create architectural spaces which are de facto instruments—they contain sound, they manipulate it, they can even create sound—so we’re tasked with a very powerful tool for affecting human cognition.”

TED Talk: Takaharu Tezuka on Tokyo's Newest Open-Air Kindergarten

"When you put many children in a quiet box, some of them get really nervous," says Japanese architect Takaharu Tezuka, founder of Tezuka Architects. "In this kindergarten, there is no reason for them to get nervous. There is no boundary." Speaking at TEDxKyoto on his design for an open-air kindergarten in Tokyo, Tezuka discusses his playful and unorthodox approach to the creation of the eccentric building. The unconventional space blurs interior with exterior while accommodating a varied program of athletic, educational and relaxed space. According to Tezuka, the concept was based on a progressive philosophy employed by the school administration: "The principal says: if the boy doesn't want to stay in the room, let him go. He will come back eventually." On children, Tezuka's own philosophy is one of empowerment: "Don't control them. Don't protect them too much. They need to tumble sometimes. They need to get injured. That makes them learn how live in this world."

Video: Neri Oxman Discusses How Design is Technology Plus Biology

Architect and designer Neri Oxman, head of the Mediated Matter research group at MIT and developer of the “Material Ecology” approach, has given a TED Talk on design as the intersection of technology and biology. Oxman begins her talk by introducing the juxtaposition of left- and right-brain thinking in the design world, noting that her work seeks to marry the two by making design less about assembly of parts, and more about growth. Learn more about Oxman’s distinct work and views by watching the video above.

Bamboom: Elora Hardy's TED Talk on Bamboo's Exploding Popularity

Perhaps the most surprising thing about bamboo - besides being an entirely natural, sustainable material with the tensile strength of steel that can grow up to 900 millimeters (3 feet) in just 24 hours - is that it's not more widely recognized as a fantastic construction material. Like many traditional building materials, bamboo no longer has the architectural currency that it once did across Asia and the pacific, but the efforts of Elora Hardy may help put it back into the vernacular. Heading up Ibuku, a design firm that uses bamboo almost exclusively, Hardy's recent TED Talk is an excellent run through of bamboo's graces and virtues in construction, showing off sinuous private homes and handbuilt school buildings.

Karawitz's open shell of bamboo. Image Courtesy of Karawitz Architects The Green School in Bali. Image Courtesy of PT Bambu One of Elora Hardy's bamboo bridges. Image Courtesy of PT Bambu The Green School in Bali. Image Courtesy of PT Bambu

Social Maps Could Potentially Shape Future City Planning

What is a city? To technologist Dave Troy, a “city is the sum of the relationships of the people that live there.” By mapping the interests of dwellers in some of the world’s most populated cities by looking at what they share online, Troy has generated a new and incredibly detailed way to view a city’s diversity beyond race. This rich data, as Troy believes, provides a real opportunity to design cities that are truly desired. 

TED Talk: How MASS Design Group Gave the Word "Architecture" a Meaning in Rwanda

In one of the eight talks that make up the TED Prize-winning City2.0, MASS Design Group Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Alan Ricks explains how MASS designed and built the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, in 2008 when "there wasn't even a word for 'architect'" in Kinyarwanda, the national language. Now thanks in part to their work, and the commitment of the many MASS Design Fellows in the area, Rwanda has a more formalized market for architectural services and even a new architecture program at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.

Eight Ideas for the Future of Cities

In 2012, the TED Prize was awarded to an idea: The City2.0, a place to celebrate actions taken by citizens around the world to make their cities more livable, beautiful and sustainable. Now, on the newly relaunched TED website, you can find inspiring and informative talks on topics like housing, education and food, and how they relate to city life. Preview a sampling of these city centric talks, featuring eight ideas for the future of cities, here.

TEDxTalk: Contour Crafting: Automated Construction / Behrokh Khoshnevis

Almost everything around us is made automatically: our shoes, our clothes, home appliances and cars – so why not buildings? Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, the Director of the Manufacturing Engineering Graduate Program at the University of Southern California, has set out to change that through the development of an automated construction process known as Contour Crafting. “Contour-crafting is basically scaling-up 3D printing to the scale of buildings. What we are hoping to generate is entire neighborhoods that are dignified at a fraction of the cost, at a fraction of the time, built far more safely and with architectural flexibility that would be unprecedented,” Khoshnevis says in this TedxTalk in Ojai, California.

TEDxTalk: The General Theory of Walkabiity/ Jeff Speck

In this TEDxTalk, the follow up to his popular TED Talk, "The Walkable City," urban planner Jeff Speck delves more deeply into his "General Theory of Walkability." The theory maintains there are four ground rules for increasing pedestrian traffic in urban areas: walking must be safe, comfortable, interesting, and - most importantly - there must be a reason to walk in the first place. Counterpointing this with America's fixation with accommodating the automobile, Speck shows us how beneficial a pedestrian city can be, both functionally and aesthetically.

TED Talk: How to Build with Clay... and Community / Diébédo Francis Kéré

In this TED Talk, Aga Khan Award-winning architect Diébédo Francis Kéré explains how to build a community with clay. With his firm Kéré Architecture, the Burkina Faso native has achieved international renown by using local building materials and techniques to engage and improve local expertise. Watch as explains how he applied his personal success to benefit the small African village he grew up in.

TED Talk: How Architectural Innovations Migrate Across Borders / Teddy Cruz

In this TED talk, architect and urbanist Teddy Cruz urges us to rethink urban growth. Sharing lessons from the slums of Tijuana, Cruz denounces the “stupid” and consumption-driven ways in which our cities have been expanding and declares that the future depends on the reorganization of social economic relations. 

TED Talk: 10 Reasons that Future Cities Will Float

In his talk at TEDx Vilnius, Koen Olthuis compares the cities of today with those at the turn of the 20th century: "cities are not full, we just have to search for new space... they made elevators and built a vertical city. We have to do exactly the same, but our generation has to look at water." With that in mind he looks at the top 10 reasons that floating cities are becoming a more popular idea, including: they provide solutions for topical issues such as flooding and sustainability; they can be used as 'plug in' travelling global amenities, useful for things like Olympic Stadiums; or could even allow us to rearrange urban areas.

TED Talk: Manhattan's Past, Present and Future

When it comes to global cities, New York City may be one of the most prominent - but it is also relatively young. Just 400 years ago, Manhattan island was mostly covered in forests and marshes. In his talk at TEDx Long Island City, Eric Sanderson discusses the city's radical changes in land use over the past four centuries, and begins to contemplate what the next four might look like. How can we take a city like New York and make it as efficient as the forest it replaced? In a bid to uncover the ideas that might make this possible, he introduces Manhatta 2409 - an online tool which maps/compares the historic and current land use of Manhattan and allows users to propose new uses. Learn more in the video above.

TEDx: Designing for the Internet of Things / Rodolphe el‐Khoury

Filmed at TEDxToronto in September 2013, this talk by architect, educator and theorist Rodolphe el‐Khoury is based on the inevitable “internet of things.” As TEDxToronto described, “More than ever before, the line between the digital and real worlds is increasingly blurred. Historically, computers and devices have functioned as a separate layer within our lives... In this world, our homes, workplaces, and the objects within them will all be digitally connected, intelligent, and responsive.” It is only a matter of time.

3D Laser Technology to Digitally Preserve The World's Greatest Sites

CyArk, a non-for-profit 3D laser scanning organization, is scanning the world's greatest monuments, hoping to preserve over 500 cultural heritage sites around the globe, The Independent reports. The portable laser system creates such a detailed, digital blueprint of structures and ruins that each building can then be reproduced in 3D, with a margin of error of only two millimeters. So far, the statues of Easter Island, the Tower of London, Mount Rushmore, the Tower of Pisa have been preserved. Check out more about the technology in Ben Kacyra's TED Talk

TED Talk: The Walkable City / Jeff Speck

How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car - which he calls "a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device" - by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

Janette Sadik-Khan: NYC's Streets Are Not So Mean Anymore

Janette Sadik-Khan demonstrates how paint, lawn chairs and a bit of imagination can quickly transform city streets, creating immediate public and commercial vitality. Sadik-Khan, listed as one of Business Insider's "50 Women Who Are Changing the World," is responsible for re-purposing 26 acres of dense New York City car lanes into pedestrian-friendly space. "More people on foot is better for business," she says. Despite commanding a two billion dollar budget, her economical approach as commissioner of NYC's Department of Transportation are testaments to her design sensitivity, relying on rapid-testing and regular iteration to expand the city's public domain.