IAAC Lecture Series – Mark Burry

Date: Tuesday, 20th of February, 2024
Time: 19.30h (CET) 

Location: ITNIG (C. de Pujades, 100, 08005 Barcelona) & Zoom


> Register to watch the lecture on YouTube

Mark Burry leads Swinburne’s Sustainable Built Environment Initiative (SSBEI), where since January 1st, 2023, he has been instrumental in fostering a unique collaboration between vocational education and training (VET) and higher education sectors. This collaboration integrates applied research with exemplary construction and manufacturing trade practices, with a particular focus on developing novel solutions to assist financially stretched communities in building less costly dwellings and community buildings, both in remote and urban areas.

In addition to his role at SSBEI, Burry directs iHUB, Swinburne’s urban research platform, and leads a national network in this capacity. His leadership in urban research follows his previous role as the Founding Director of Swinburne University of Technology’s ‘Smart Cities Research Institute,’ a position he assumed in May 2017.

Burry is a consulting architect and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Internationally recognized for his work, he has published extensively on three primary themes: the practical implementation of ‘challenging’ architecture, pioneering digitalization strategies for professional practice, and the life, work, and theories of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Burry has served as Senior Architect to the Sagrada Família Basilica Foundation for 37 years, beginning in 1979. In this role, he devised analogue design strategies to decipher the complexities of Gaudí’s final design for his magnum opus. Building upon this experience, he spearheaded the introduction of digital design methodologies to the project office a decade later, experimenting with parametric design software as early as 1992 and delving into scripting (coding) by 1993. In 2000, he became a founding member of the Gehry Technologies advisory board.

Before joining Swinburne, Burry held the position of Professor of Urban Futures at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, starting in 2014. During his tenure, he played a pivotal role in enhancing the faculty’s research capacity in urban futures, consolidating expertise in urban visualization, analytics, and policy to address contemporary urban challenges.

After Gaudí: how might AI have helped us learn from Gaudí’s surviving model fragments for his Sagrada Família Basilica design?

Mark Burry’s talk will outline his experience in helping unpack the mysteries of Gaudí’s final design models for the Sagrada Famíilia Basilica. He will describe Gaudí’s struggles realising his projects more as sculptural undertakings than architecture, and how he shifted dimensions to bring an invisible rationality to his modus operandi. Burry will first examine Gaudí’s analogue design process, and then critically examine the role of design computation for a deep dive into Gaudí’s creative world in both the digital and post digital eras. This will lead to some general observations on the power of creativity, and both some limits as well as opportunities for AI to influence future architectural design seen through the lens of Gaudí’s extraordinary endeavour.