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Architecture Tomorrow showcases real projects that will get built

Architecture Tomorrow (ATOM) doesn’t predict the future of the built environment, it is the future of the built environment, says Rory Olcayto

There is a striking image of a future city doing the rounds just now on social media. It’s called London 2026 AD; This is all in the air and was designed by Montague Black for a London Underground poster published in 1926.

London Transport Museum curator Claire Dobbin describes it as ‘fanciful’. She’s not wrong. In Black’s poster, transport has taken to the air, there’s an airport at London Bridge and an underground line to Scotland. The skyline too, is peppered with tall buildings. OK, that’s not fanciful; it’s bang-on. But in 1926 it didn’t take a genius to divine that New York was the template for the cities of the future, so no special prizes for Montague Black from me.

Still, I’ve been surprised by the comments his vision has garnered on Twitter, such as: ‘Fewer airships and gyrocopters and buildings are nicer but otherwise surprisingly accurate’, by Richard Mayo (@Richard_WPM). Really? Apart from the tall buildings, it’s pure fantasy. But let’s not be too harsh – predicting the future is a loser’s game. Remember the burning oil towers and brown-black skies in the opening scenes of Blade Runner? That was Ridley Scott’s vision of Los Angeles in 2019.

The property industry can be equally misleading: a walk around the city and national stands at MIPIM in Cannes this year discovered more that was fun than funding-approved. Few of the proposals shown there at great expense will ever be built.

This was partly why last year we launched Architecture Tomorrow at MIPIM UK in Olympia, London.

It showcases projects that will be built – real projects by architects who have moved their designs beyond a sketch and have secured clients to make them a reality. In essence, it provides a snapshot of the built environment as it will be in coming years.

There is another reason behind our launch of Architecture Tomorrow, however, one we think is more compelling than merely exhibiting the look and feel of British architecture: the AJ wants to help you meet new clients.

Architects that participated in Architecture Tomorrow in 2014 included AJ100 mainstays such as Ryder Architecture and breakthrough studios like Ben Adams Architects. They were able to network with the 370 local authorities present at MIPIM UK last year and 1,200 clients. So, if you do submit your projects to the AJ and are selected to be shown on our stand at Olympia at this year’s event (21-23 October), you’ll have a way to be seen by this crucial audience.

We are now accepting entries. You can find out more at our website. But remember, if you want to be considered for selection, your projects have to be real. This isn’t Blade Runner. Or even Montague Black. This is Architecture Tomorrow: the stuff that will get built.

Architecture Tomorrow

Submit your projects for Architecture Tomorrow here. The deadline for entries is 12 June

rory.olcayto@emap.com Twitter: @roryolcayto

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