The Future is a Journey to the Past: Stories about Sustainability

The Future is a Journey to the Past: Stories about Sustainability

From Friday 23 September 2022, the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London will host The Future is a Journey to the Past: Stories about Sustainability, an exhibition curated by Mario Cucinella Architects. The exhibition explores past and present notions of sustainability in order to develop the ecological thinking necessary to bridge the divide between the natural world and human activity – including, of course, architecture.
Held in the AA Gallery on the ground floor of 36 Bedford Square, the exhibition comprises three key elements: a timeline tracing the evolution of environmental awareness and activism from prehistory to the present, and speculating on the future; a selection of projects designed by Mario Cucinella Architects that explore these themes through scale models and booklets; and a map highlighting the locations of key sites and projects explored in Cucinella’s book The Future is a Journey to the Past (Quodlibet, 2022).
New solutions through planning and innovation often require expensive and complex stratagems. However, a journey into the past reveals how, in eras when sustainable thinking was a necessity, humans created ingenious practical solutions that we still have much to learn from. While nature has offered us the sustainable environments of the termite nest and beehive, of forests and the very structure of trees and plants, human ingenuity once shaped the stepwells of India, the ice houses of the Iranian desert and the city of Hyderabad in Pakistan that catches the wind to naturally ventilate its buildings. These projects, and many others, have much to teach us beyond their intrigue and beauty.
In the exhibition, these journeys through the past are projected into the future, suggesting a synthesis of traditional and modern thinking in how we approach architecture and the environment. Architectural history, in all its global richness, becomes a relevant source of inspiration to educate us about our sustainable past while providing us with tools to become future guardians of the global environment.


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Cite: "The Future is a Journey to the Past: Stories about Sustainability" 12 Sep 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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