We’re in a run of new #TeamGLM faces as Felicity hands over to new start Finn MacMillan. Finn has joined GLM for the summer of 2021 between his 3rd & 4th years studying at Edinburgh Napier University. Finn brings a broad educational background to his role at GLM having worked with Historic Environment Scotland, as a Stonemason on St Mary’s cathedral (amongst others), and a First Class degree in Architectural History from Edinburgh University. Along with an insightful and developing understanding of sustainability issues, Finn brings all of this along with infectious enthusiasm to his work supporting the rest of the team on surveys and projects. Looking forward to seeing Finn’s #WorldoftheFuture as it unfolds this week! To stay connected with Finn and continue the conversation connect with him on LinkedIn.
- (Image : Above, Centre) Put on the streamlined, rational and machine-like glasses of a 1914 Futurist architect. The future will see transport infrastructure raised from the ground and blurred into buildings to form a dynamically agile urban machine. Staircases will be no more, replaced by external lifts that ‘scale the lengths of the façades like serpents of steel and glass’. The future will dispense with ornament, history and build ephemeral cities rebuilt by each generation to break continuity with the past. This is the future boldly envisaged (and drawn here) by Antonio Sant’Elia (1888-1916) in his Manifesto of Futurist Architecture (1914).
More than a hundred years on, to what extent has his vision of the future happened (or will happen)? The future does look set to be increasingly urban (by 2050 a projected two thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas). But will the future of the built environment increasingly resemble a computer circuit board? Can we afford (environmentally and socially) to build ephemerally with short-term cycles of build, demolish and rebuild each and every generation? Can a preoccupation with mechanised urban transport be the future when properly balanced against foot and bike pedal? If humans aren’t machines, should our cities?
Further reading: Sant’Elia, A., 1914. Manifesto of Futurist Architecture. [Online] Available at: <https://
United Nations (UN), 2018. Revision of World Urbanization Prospects. [Online] Available at:
- (Image: Above, Right) In the future, the potential of the ‘mundane’ will rarely be overlooked. People will try to pay as much attention to outdoor pavement tiles as Italian Renaissance painters like Raphael did. They knew how important they could be in creating a sense of space and as backdrop for the main action. So will we, designing tiles that endure for longer meaning fewer are thrown away.
Sources : The Marriage of Breakable Concrete Tiles (2021) photographed by Finn MacMillan (1993-) & The Marriage of the Virgin (1504) by Raphael (1483-1520)
- (Image : Below, Left) Today, let’s build buildings that last. The future will have something worth inheriting. Time to dispose of thinking disposably (whether plastic bottle or building) and, with a spoonful of wisdom from the past, lift a reusable chalice to the timelessness of long-term, quality building.
Sources /References : Bottle: One of the Red Road Flats, Glasgow (being demolished), Chalice: Canterbury Cathedral crossing tower
- (Image : Above, Right) In the future, architecture (its history, design and maintenance) will form a core part of the school curriculum. Pupils will look back and be shocked that in the schools of the past, it hardly featured at all. Pupils will grow up to be more conscious and probing of their built surroundings and be better equipped to advance and debate ideas about how buildings could and should be. Buildings will be more widely seen as far more than mere shelter, with the capacity to help achieve multivariate needs.
- (Image: Below, Left) Is the future of construction in unique, batch or mass production? As advances in off-site manufacture, standardisation and computer capabilities push and pull construction towards mass production, a strong flame will remain alight for unique and batch production. Most notably, 80% our building stock in the UK will be the buildings we already have by 2050. This is a complex medley of building types, materials and construction methods which, so long as they exist, so will bespoke solutions and, for traditional buildings, craftspeople. But what about future mass-produced buildings? Whether it’s a 2050 hand cut datestone or a carved wooden newel final, I’d like to see some glimmers of unique production (in strategic visible places) remain even in the most mass-produced of buildings. A machine is useful, craft is meaningful.
- (Image : Above, Centre) When thinking of the future, it’s exciting to think of the things that’ll be different. But will some things that endure? I look forward to a future where most notes of architectural music create a melody with their neighbours. And that the music keeps playing (through good building maintenance); buildings that can be appreciated for what they are first rather than one *necessarily* having to wonder who did them. Pictured: Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main street since the thirteenth century (Croatia). School of Life, 2020. 5 Reasons the Modern World Is so Ugly. [Online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgNxLiuwFDY>
Head over to our Instagram – @weareglm – and follow along as Wib MacDonald (Image : Above, Right) takes over Week 13!