Best TED Talks for Architecture Students

If you haven’t heard of a TED talk yet, what are you doing? A TED talk is basically a seminar or video created from a presentation at one of the worldwide TED events. They take place in universities, technology companies or can be part of a bigger conference.

TED talks are known for their brief yet detailed explanation on a certain topic which may or may not be related to current affairs. For architecture specifically, the sub-categories range from sustainable architecture to looking at historic architecture. The speakers themselves can be experts in that industry or in our case, well-known architects. Usually these talks are very motivational and insightful. The mix of evidence-based information and engaging speakers curates a series of videos that are relevent to a broad audience.

Why should you be interested in a TED talk though? As a student, especially an architecture student, it’s always good to be in the know about the latest technologies or concepts in architecture. Yes you can do this via books and architecture magazines which keep you updated, but these TED talks go in to a large amount of detail on various topics that may inspire you.

We are in an environment where videos online are probably more accessible and convenient to us than library books. It’s also great as background content whilst completing design work. TED talks are usually relatively short so there’s no compulsion to sit there for hours on end.

In this article, we’ve picked the latest TED talks we found interesting. There are actually over 100 TED talks for architecture alone so there is a wide range you can search through. You might find some talks becoming a little less relevant the older they are since architectural technology like 3D printing has come so far. We also try and make sure we let you know if a new one is up via our Instagram so be sure to stay updated there.

Ma Yansong – Urban architecture inspired by mountains, clouds and volcanoes

If you know MAD architects, then you know Ma Yansong. This TED talk gives a glimpse into nature-inspired architecture that is prevalent in his own work. This is great for students because it not only gives you inspiration but it provides an insight into Yansong’s thought process.

Rahul Mehrotra – The architectural wonder of impermanent cities

In this TED talk, Rahul Mehrotra talks about the Kumbh Mela that takes place in India. The temporary structures built for this massive event make up a megacity ‘that sits on the ground very lightly’. He questions whether we are actually employing permenant solutions for temporary problems. Overall, it is an interesting topic if you don’t already know anything about it.

Bjarke Ingels – Floating cities, the LEGO House and other architectural forms of the future

Bjarke Ingels is a regular on TED talks. This one in particular is all about future cities and for the inner child in all us architects, LEGO. He talks about a few projects his firm is working on or have worked on and how a floating city is actually possible. These kinds of ideas can open up your mind as an architecture student.

Majd Mashharawi – How I’m making bricks out of ashes and rubble in Gaza

A true and inspiring story, Majd Mashharawi an entrepreneur and engineer, created bricks made from destroyed building components and rubble. The interesting thing about this talk is that she explains the repetitive process she had to go through in order to finally come up with the building block she has today. This is great for students who are interested in architectural technology and how you need to have several iterations before landing on the perfect solution.

Renzo Piano – The genius behind some of the world’s most famous buildings

Renzo Piano is well-known all over the world. This TED talk briefly goes over some of his major projects from his own perspective. If you didn’t know anything about Piano and his work, this is the perfect video to get started with.

To find more architecture TED talks, you can head over to their website below. You don’t even need to watch the specific architecture ones, there are plenty of categories and motivational videos that can be useful for anyone.

Ted Talks About Architecture

If you’re looking for more informative content that is catered towards students like yourself, make sure to check out our other articles here at :scale. Leave a comment below telling us which TED talk is your favourite and whether you learnt anything new.

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