For those of you who are interested, are following the progress, or are planning to visit the symposium that will take place within TAB 2015 (Tallinn Architecture Biennale) this September – below is a little update on our status. Just as a teaser: we are expecting Carlo Ratti, Lev Manovich, Steve Diskin and Salome Galjaard, among others. Click on the image to be redirected to the TAB’s web-site and read more.

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Finally, my TEDx Surrey University talk has been uploaded onto Youtube!

The talk revolved around the dilemma of whether, in the modern world, one needs – or is almost forced – to be constantly fast and curious, or whether being slow is the right way to go. Take a look:

I would like to thank the TEDx team at Surrey University (UK) for the honor, and the opportunity to do my very first TEDx talk. It was an amazing experience. Thank you, guys!

Cheers!

Visioon.ai Hi everyone,

News flash: I have been appointed as the Symposium curator for the III Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB)!

This year’s TAB will explore the relationship between Architecture and the Third Industrial Revolution (which is perfect, because if you’ve visited this blog at least once before, you know I am a total sci-fi nerd). The Biennale will last from the 9th of September till October 18th, with the symposium taking place on September 10th-11th in Tallinn’s KultuuriKatel. Between some unbelievable speakers and the topic which is super-cool, believe me, you won’t want to miss it! So mark the dates in your calendars and book your flights to Tallinn before they’re too expensive!

Some official information about the event follows:

TAB is an international architecture festival which introduces local architecture culture, current issues concerning architecture, and looks at the future of the architectural profession. TAB offers a program of events for both architecture professionals, students and everyone interested in architecture.

The third TAB will kick off on September 9 and will look into the changes, challenges and opportunities that our cities and their inhabitants will be facing once the third industrial revolution is implemented in full scale. What will this mean for architects, designers, urban planners? TAB will turn Tallinn into a test site for the cities of the future, visualising ideas and conceptualising the way cities are built.

TAB 2015 curatorial team is led by architect and city planner Marten Kaevats and is produced by Estonian Centre of Architecture.

For more information, please visit www.tab.ee

Isn’t it interesting, how when you first encounter an unknown subject, there is always something magic about it?

As Arthur C. Clarke wrote in his 1973 revision of “Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination”, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. It really is, isn’t it? For example, that is exactly how I related to computers before I embarked on my thesis journey: computers and the internet were anything but obvious; they worked (or not) depending on their own will, and their inside workings were, well – magical – to me. Once I embarked on my thesis effort, though, they started losing that magical ambiance. I got to know the nuts and bolts of those machines, why they worked and why they didn’t. I became much more informed about how one went about fixing (or crashing) them. They became machines – controllable, understandable, banal – something they have actually been from the start. (I wonder if the same realization would have helped Garry Kasparov during his match against Deep Blue back in 1997..?)

But it’s not only technology in it’s hardware guise I am talking about. For example, right now I am standing in front of the magical technology of human relations and, specifically, business success. Starting one’s company is weird: from one point of view, it’s all clear – “You just start a company and if you’re good enough, you succeed! What’s so difficult about that, anyway?” But once you step a little closer, you are suddenly blown away by the complexity and, here we go – magic – of the thing’s workings. People magically start successful companies, find themselves on the cover of WIRED and FastCompany, magically make their zillions. They must be lucky, hyper-smart or in some other way radically different. I find myself staring like an ape at the monolith of the business world (think “2001: A Space Odyssey”), not sure what to make of it: is it good, is it bad, should I even approach, is it going to kill me? The way it works is indistinguishable from magic.

Feeling curious to know what the thing is, I take an in-depth entrepreneurship course, which includes developing a business plan for my future business as a part of the graduation requirements. In the middle of Market Research, Marketing Strategies and Financial Planning, all my architectural schooling is rendered useless and my own ignorance is, once again, revealed to me. But what is even more fascinating, is that while doing all of this, I am terrified – not as much of whether the monolith will kill me – but rather that once I start truly examining it, there’s no going back: as things before it, it will start loosing it’s magic-ness… And it will inevitably become a machine.

Maybe, the secret to (worldly) success is realizing from the start that everything is a machine, and all you need to do is to decrypt it? There is no magic, no Santa, no architects reaching fame by the virtue of their talents alone. It’s plain mechanics. The sooner one realizes that, the better. And I am doing it with different things every day, learning more and more about the world around. But I won’t lie: the little kid somewhere inside me is still a little sad… Why couldn’t it just be magic?

“…and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the “well-rounded man.” This isn’t just an epigram — life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all.” – The Great Gatsby (Chapter I). F. Scott Fitzgerald

I like how he’s saying “more successfully”, not “better”..

Alright, it’s official: I will be speaking at TEDx SurreyUniversity on March 14th.

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The theme of the event is “Fast and Curious”. Tickets are available here, and more information about the event itself can be found here. Check back in for more details later, and hope to see you there!

I.

It’s weird, how I keep re-discovering architecture. Why haven’t I gotten it straight yet?

When I got into architecture school, all I knew of it were the housing blocks of post-soviet Estonia, the mysterious (“does it really exist?”) Flatiron building and the (“I guess it’s like a thousand years old!”) Sagrada Familia. A few years in, I got convinced architecture was an “art”, taking it one step further at Tech by buying into the slogan “Architecture will save the world!” Talking to some of my ex-classmates, I got introduced to the idea of “architecture as a business”, while realizing after OMA that it was more of an “industry”. Working at Alver’s place, I discovered it was what got actually built, while after visiting the exhibition of work by Nieto Sobejano at the Estonian Museum of Architecture today, I am kind of swaying towards “art” again.

Go figure.

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