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Newcastle academic speaks at RIBA-USA

Newcastle academic speaks at floating living architecture ball

Published on: 19 October 2015

Professor Rachel Armstrong was the headline speaker at a unique event hosted by RIBA-USA, the American Region of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Working with natural systems

The Living Architecture Ball took place as part of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial and was held on a yacht floating along the Chicago River.

The event focused on design and construction that work along with natural systems. Prof Armstrong, from the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape used her keynote speech to argue that too much of modern architecture is based on equilibrium, despite nature making the world we live in a highly dynamic structure.

Prof Armstrong said: “The invitation to deliver a talk on the Fair Lady yacht is not only the first RIBA lecture outside of an auditorium or function room, but also the first time I have spoken in such a venue. This is particularly poignant since my research proposes the possibilities of architectures that embody the properties of living things, like movement. It was thrilling to deliver a talk on a platform that also embodies this idea though traveling through landscape – particularly one that is itself so highly dynamic as that which frames the Chicago River.”

Prof Rachel Armstrong

Groundbreaking ideas

The Chicago Biennal aims to highlight groundbreaking architectural projects that demonstrate how creativity and innovation can radically transform how we live. Through exhibitions, events and full-scale installations, it provides an opportunity to engage with and think about architecture in new ways, and to take part in a global discussion about the future of the built environment.

Prof Armstrong’s RIBA-USA address follows her talk earlier this month at TEDx CERN. The event, held on 9 October, was based on the theme 'Breaking the rules', focusing on innovations that could transform our lives. It was attended by 700 people and a further 10,000 online.

The Chicago Architectural Biennial will continue until early 2016. Read more about the topic of Prof Armstrong’s RIBA-USA talk.


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