Award-winning writer Arundhati Roy’s most famous quotation is also one of the most beautiful and powerful statements of our time:
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
I like to pair it with one from another of my heroes, Buckminster Fuller:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Is it a coincidence that both trained as architects? Coincidence or not, it makes perfect sense. Whilst young and naïve, future architects look at the world around them, and the way people interact with each other and with artefacts in physical space, and say to themselves: “Another world is possible. I will build it.”
More than that, the profession – the vocation – of architecture demands collaboration and holistic thinking. It demands that we remain artists – creative, curious, challenging – whilst using existing technologies, engineering, science, economics and politics, as our tools. “I will build it” becomes “I will help build it, we will build it together”.
Here at Intelligent Futures, we are architects and engineers. We are unashamedly – perhaps naïvely or even arrogantly – committed to building a brave new world. One which we hope will owe more to Arundhati Roy’s vision than Aldous Huxley’s. Huxley warned us of techno-dystopia, as George Orwell did in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Both, I am sure, did so in order to help us focus on building a different new world. Perhaps not a techno-utopia, but something better than we have now, or than we will have if we fling up our hands and proclaim the search for progress futile.
If we wish to have a less dystopian future, we must build it together. When we see the people working around us in innovation projects – as showcased on our website and at our events – we can hear the new world breathing.