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Three Big Takeaways from AIA 2016
June 20, 2016
Three Big Takeaways from AIA 2016
Doug Davila
Doug Davila

Tens of thousands of architects and industry professionals gather at the AIA Convention every year. The theme for AIA 2016, “Imagine +”, challenged architects to think differently. Influential speakers such as Rem Koolhaas and Neri Oxman stepped up to deliver thought-provoking and inspiring messages to the attendees. Here are the three biggest areas of focus from the show.

The Present

Attendees were witness to nearly three city blocks of innovative products that were smart and efficient—from faucets and hand dryers to smart elevators. Companies also showed off technology for greener roofs, larger windows and products for use on building exteriors that reduce energy usage.

The Future

The closing keynote of the conference featured world-renowned architect Rem Koolhaas. His message was clear: design within a greater context. Recognize that the architect’s sphere of influence extends well beyond the building footprint, impacting the surroundings and the experience of all who encounter the building. In other words, look at the social impact architects have on environments and experiences, not just buildings.

And More Things to Come

Neri Oxman is an MIT professor—and not a typical architect. Her address packed the room, discussing her research on the intersection of design and biophilia. While biology and architecture may seem an odd mix, her unorthodox approach that bridges the disciplines has led to breakthroughs in material use and 3D printing.

Her research asks why a singular material cannot be used in different ways to serve all the purposes of a building, from structure to windows. With tests using chitin (think shrimp shells), Oxman and her team have been successful. Her research could have a tremendous impact for architecture and the way we think about building materials for years to come.