Let's experiment: An architect’s take on MIPIM’s “Engaging the future” theme

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Challenges like overpopulation, pollution, and lack of community engagement put cities and societies worldwide under pressure, and we are all responsible for shaping a brighter future. But adding stories to the city structure as we know it is not necessarily the solution to increasing density, and diversity doesn’t necessarily occur by making an occasional change in the façade for every 15 meters.

Architecture is obligated to evolve and not just repeat the past. As architects we should always ask: "Can we do this better?" Not just different. Better. We must test the wellknown, the unknown, what we don’t know, and what, we think, we know. We must have the courage to challenge the ones worshipping conformity. We should constantly seek to influence architecture, and our way of living and existing together, for the better.

I’m not talking about reckless experimenting putting the health and security of people at stake. I’m talking about professional, objective tests of well-founded theses, where we utilize the abundance of knowledge accessible to qualify our selections and deselections. To do so, we need to think and act cross-disciplinarily. We are still to realize that disciplines exist that are better at “doing their thing” than we. That – together – we can create more valuable and better solutions.

We must dare to experiment, knowing that experiments don’t always succeed. A failed experiment offers findings and experience for us to base our next experiment on.

Without experiments; no change.

It takes a lot of courage to not just go with the flow and take the easy way out. It takes courage to stand up and fight, because fighting may hurt. But we must inspire future generations of politicians, city planners, architects, developers, and manufacturers to be courageous. Together we must lead the way and show that positive change and new materials, new communities, and new collaborations originate from an exploration of the unknown.

Let’s regain belief in experimenting – and engage the future.

See you in Cannes!