Imagining Futures, in collaboration with Politecnico di Milano and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

From the 17th of February to the 21st of February 2020, the Imaging Futures collaboration with Politecnico di Milano and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid took place as a one week programme, held at the Madrid headquarters of the Norman Foster Foundation and at Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ETSAM).

Through an examination of the intellectual and artistic crosscurrents between Leonardo da Vinci and Norman Foster, the Imagining Futures programme engaged students from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ETSAM) and the Politecnico di Milano in new strategies for multidisciplinary thinking and creative production. A selection of archival materials from these two figures served as a starting point for framing, envisioning, and addressing future design scenarios.

Presenting Leonardo Da Vinci and Norman Foster as prime inspirations, the programme emphasized the potential for sketching to fuel a continual dialogue between past, present, and future, while existing as a means to ground the conceptual and imaginative in the tangible. Three sets of drawings from the Norman Foster Foundation Archive, those of the Nomos Desking System, Hampstead House and Stansted Airport, formed the basis for scholars to engage in an exercise of research and creation related to design projects at three distinct scales. Building off of this conceptual framework and archival base material, students were encouraged to follow a process of first abstracting and analyzing their project precedents in order to then arrive at a new design proposal.

Over the course of the week, the scholars’ work was further informed by a series of seminars with experts on architecture, philosophy and environmental science, members of the Academic Body included Ingrid Paoletti, Ignacio Vicens, Manuel Blanco, Emilio Faroldi, Federico Leoni, Alessandro Melis, Luis Palacios, and Eduardo Prieto.

Under the mentorship of Ingrid Paoletti and Ignacio Vicens, the three groups of students participated in daily reviews of their work and studio-based working sessions. This process culminated in a final review of the students’ drawings and models by the Mentors and members of the Academic Body at ETSAM.