October 5 – World Habitat and Architecture Days

Posted on October 5, 2015

When I think of “habitat,” I think of the formal definition of the word: the natural home or environment of a particular animal, plant, or other organism...You know:
the habitat of the orangutan is the tropical rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo; the preferred habitat of the polar bear is the edge of pack ice in the Arctic; and so on and on and on. (By the way, in both of these cases, the orangutan and the polar bear, the animals' habitats are shrinking. Remember, habitat means the natural home of a creature—it doesn't include zoos.)

The name “Habitat for Humanity” used to refer to simple, affordable homes is awesome - and it is an informal use of the word habitat. Today's World Habitat Day goes along with that same informal meaning. It's all about human “habitats,” specifically towns and cities. This United Nations holiday is intended to remind the world that adequate shelter should be a human right. 

World Architecture Day fits right in with that! Of course, architecture is about more than just homes—it's malls and cathedrals, public buildings and museums, skyscrapers and bridges and all sorts of human-made structures.

The International Union of Architects started this day in 2005 to remind the world of our collective responsibility for the “future of the human habitat.” 

Great architecture can inspire us. What do you think about these state-of-the-art designs?
Zaha Hadid's curvy design for apartments,
shops, and office spaces in Belgrade, Serbia.

Thom Mayen's design for this
skyscraper in Paris, France.
Santiago Calatrava's drawing of the World Trade Center transportation hub in New York City, above—and, below, this photo of the transportation hub being constructed (notice that the engineers realized that there must be a curving stabilizing strut incorporated in the design).

Some of the cool new things architects are working on include eco-friendly Earth homes ...  

...indoor parks ... 

...invisible architecture (this barn is sheeted with mirror film) ... 

...and interesting (maybe even crazy) bridges!

To learn more about inspirational architecture, check out these TED talks

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