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January Newsletter:

Happy New Year to you! We hope to be back to some semblance of normality in 2021, although our weekly online sessions will carry on as usual. Preparations are in place to host a series of events in the summer, under the theme of ‘Material Intelligence’. The plan is to establish a global network of workshops in physical locations, with Shanghai operating as a central node, while also offering a series of online workshops. Details of these events will be announced shortly.
Review of 2020
Image: Sampling of results from DigitalFUTURES world 2020 summer workshops.

While 2020 has been a difficult year with the pandemic causing considerable social, economic and political upheaval, it has also seen DigitalFUTURES blossom from a decade of summer event series hosted by Tongji University in Shanghai into a global force within the architectural academic community. Building on a highly successful free online festival, DigitalFUTURES World, which attracted 12,000 applications for 80 hosted workshops, and hosted some 50 talks, DigitalFUTURES has evolved into a year-round platform for stimulating debate and disseminating inspirational architectural and computational design ideas.

Every Saturday an online session is live-streamed on our YouTube and Bilibili channels to a global audience often comprising several thousand viewers and triggering lively conversations on our streaming platforms, social media, and Discord. Recordings of these sessions are then posted on our DigitalFUTURES website as a repository of knowledge available for everyone. The aim is to offer a form of free auxiliary education for students and professionals across the planet, especially those in less privileged countries. As we continue to evolve the structure of our DigitalFUTURES sessions over the coming months, we are encouraged by feedback from our collaborators, such as Philippe Morel who commented during one of the DigitalFUTURES talks that these sessions have the potential to do for education what Uber has done for taxis, and act as a catalyst for change and improvement.

Our current weekly sessions host either leading experts addressing specific thematic topics, such as AI and Creativity, or regional issues, such as the Traditional Construction Techniques in Egypt and the Middle East, or student presentations in disciplinary domains, such as Robotic Fabrication. The topics often go beyond purely technological concerns, to include pressing political, social and economic issues. A number of dominant themes have emerged, such as the future of education, and bio-informed sustainable designThe success of DigitalFUTURES was recognized with the 2020 Acadia Innovative Educational Program Award of Excellence, and it is hoped that its global influence will continue to grow. In the coming year, we are hoping to expand our dissemination formats to feature highlights in TED talk fashion formats, and to publish presentations as a series of edited books among other things more.

DigitalFUTURES would not be possible without the generous support of our dedicated organizational team, inspiring presenters, highly skilled workshop instructors, and motivated students, who continue to inspire us and reveal the potential of our DigitalFUTURES.

DigitalFUTURES Young: Bio-Design
2 January at 9:00am EST / 3:00pm CET / 10:00pm China

Bio-Design investigates how humans and non-human species can not only cohabit but also benefit each other through design. How could biological systems help humans to (co-)create a better common future? Following our Bio-Design Keynote in November, this panel brings together a new generation of architectural researchers working in the field of Bio-Design, who are actively pursuing this approach in their designs.

Presentations by: Natalie Alima, Yessica Mendez Sierra, Benjamin Kemper, Joanna Maria Lesna, Yuning Chan

Moderated by: Gustavo Rincon & Viktoria Luisa Barbo
(Watch Video)

DigitalFUTURES Local Voices: Brazil and the Amazonian Rainforest
9 January at 9:00am EST / 3:00pm CET / 10:00pm China

The Amazon rainforest has become central to debates about sustainability, climate change and the preservation of natural resources. But what exactly is happening there, and what consequences does it have for architecture? This session brings together a number of local experts to discuss these important issues, including environmental activist, Gustavo Fernandes, jailed by the Bolsonaro government for his work in protecting the rainforest.

Presenters: Andrea Macruz, Gustavo Fernandes, Ana Maria Duran Calisto, and Gabriel Kozlowski
Moderated by: Neil Leach

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DigitalFUTURES Talk: Shell Structures
16 January at 9:00am EST / 3:00pm CET / 10:00pm China

Shell structures are lightweight, strong, structural designs that have become popular for their elegant forms and structural integrity. What are the latest developments with shell structures, and how might they influence the way that we design and build? This session brings together a group of leading architects and engineers who are experts on shell structures to discuss these possibilities.

Presentations by: Sigrid Adriaenssens, Philippe Block, and Chris Williams
Moderated by:  Philip F. Yuan

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DigitalFUTURES Keynote: Interactive Design

23 January at 9:00am EST / 3:00pm CET / 10:00pm China

Interactive Design has exploded onto the architectural scene in recent years with a range of inspirational projects that have opened up a new field of research and design for architecture. With the lockdowns resulting from Covid-19, and with living spaces becoming classrooms and offices, the need for adaptive, interactive spaces has become increasingly apparent. This session brings together some of the most significant designers and thinkers in the field of interactive design.

Presentations by: Philip Beesley, Guvenc Ozel, and TBD
Moderated by: Behnaz Farahi

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DigitalFUTURES China: Recessive Structure

30 January at 9:00am EST / 3:00pm CET / 10:00pm China

This session explores how digital technologies have helped to cultivate an integrated approach to design that has sought to reconnect architecture and structural engineering. What unique initiatives towards this integrated approach are now being pursued in China, given its long history of integrating architecture and engineering? This session brings together a number of leading Chinese architects and researchers to share their work and reflect on this question.

Presenters: TBD
Moderated by: Chao Yan

(add to calendar)

All Upcoming Events: Streaming on our Youtube and BiliBili channels.

DigitalFUTURES Videos Recap:

Top 5 most popular videos from 2020:

DigitalFUTURES World Opening Lectures

DigitalFUTURES CDRF Conference

From DECON to AI: AI and Architectural Practice

Ecology of Intelligence in Nature and Civilization

DigitalFUTURES World Closing Ceremony

Upcoming Calls

Call for Submissions:

We are reaching out to our community for the submission of student’s and young researcher’s projects for the DigitalFUTURES Young session on Interactive Design. Projects need to be submitted by 12 noon EST on 23 January 2021. Selected projects will be presented on 6 February 2021 from 9.00 am EST. Presentations will last 10 minutes each.

Submission materials:

  • Short bio(s)
  • CV (including degrees, awards, scholarships and publications)
  • Title of proposed presentation
  • 300 word abstract of proposed presentation
  • Work sample (architectural design or published article - max 5MB file size)

Submission deadline: 12 noon EST 23 January 2021
Presentations: 09.00am EST / 3.00pm CET / 10.00pm China 6 February 2021

Join Our Discord Group:
Our Discord thread is an active conversation platform to follow our weekly Saturday live streams, where questions, and side discussions occur. Our community throughout the week continues to share thoughts on many topics including announcements of events, news, theory, and more. Please click here to join.

Thank you for your continued support,
DigitalFUTURES Team

Copyright © 2020 & DigitalFUTURES.young, All rights reserved.

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