‘Where does our ability to survive come from? Plants and animals have the same instinct. Nature has created a system, an ecosystem, with marvellous shapes and colours and incredible biodiversity. We have, in part, lost all of this, generating an irreversible change in our planet. The question is whether we can continue to live this way, or whether we should just take what’s good and throw the rest away, so that we can enter a new era.’
– Mario Cucinella
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 hasoffered 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.
The exhibition is open to the public from Friday 23 September; read more on the AA website. For more information about the exhibition, including press photographs, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Mario Cucinella Architects
Mario Cucinella Architects is an architectural firm with offices in Bologna and Milan and an international team of one hundred professionals including architects, engineers, graphic designers, model makers and researchers. The firm was established in Paris in 1992 and opened its offices in Bologna in 1999. MC A has extensive experience in architectural design that combines environmental and energy efficiency strategies and relies on an R&D department that carries out research on sustainability with a holistic approach.
About the AA
The Architectural Association (AA) is the oldest independent school of architecture in the UK. The school was founded in 1847 as a student-centred collective that aspired to radically transform architectural education. The school offers a broad range of flexible, self-directed programmes, courses and curricula that empower students and staff to challenge the accepted methods within contemporary architectural education and professionalpractice. The school offers a Foundation Certificate, a BA(Hons)/RIBA Part 1 and MArch/RIBA Part 2 (and AA Diploma) throughout its five-year course within the Intermediate and Diploma Programmes, and nine Taught Postgraduate programmes leading to MA, MSc, PG MArch, MFA and MPhil awards as well as the PhD Programme, a RIBA-accredited Part 3 course, a Summer School and Visiting Schools based around the world. The AA curriculum is enhanced by the Public Programme, which focuses on the unique opportunities and challenges of the present through a series oflectures, exhibitions, studio visits, symposia and book launches, and by the Communications Studio, a media, publishing and graphic design studio.