Where does our ability to survive come from? Can we continue to live the way we do? The exhibition The Future Is a Journey to the Past: Stories about Sustainability grew out of attempts to answer these and similar questions about the climate crisis. Curated by Mario Cucinella Architects and hosted by the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, the event will be inaugurated on Friday, September 23. The same questions can also be found in the architect’s book of the same name, which takes readers on a journey into the past of architecture through ten illustrative stories that lead into the future via today. The timelines followed by the book and exhibition are almost identical, offering a vision that’s both old and new, spanning prehistoric houses excavated in the desert, ancient Syrian hospitals, underground palaces in India, and the archaic cities of the wind in Cappadocia and Pakistan:
“These aren’t nostalgic stories but stories about discovering a past that has information that can help us on our journey into the future.”
The goal of the exhibition is, in fact, to explore both past and present notions of sustainability in order to develop the ecological thinking needed to bridge the divide between the natural world and human activity. The journey comprises three key elements: a timeline tracing the evolution of environmental awareness and activism from prehistory to the present, including speculation on the future; a selection of projects designed by Mario Cucinella Architects that explore these themes through scale models and publications; and a map of the key sites and projects mentioned in the book The Future Is a Journey to the Past, published by Quodlibet.
Underscoring the event is the conviction that a journey to the past can be a genuine source of solutions that can be applied today. With all its richness, the history of architecture in particular is a potentially important source of inspiration to bring back a more sustainable past, while providing ideas so that we can become guardians of the environment.
Location: London, UK, Architectural Association AA School of Architecture, 36 Bedford Square
Opening Times: Friday 23 September – Saturday 29 October (10 am – 7 pm)
Curator: MCA-Mario Cucinella Architects
Timeline design: ZUP Design
Please refer to the individual images in the gallery to look through the photo credits