DigitalFUTURES is an independent, online platform for architectural education. Its aim is to make important educational ideas available for free to architects and students across the planet, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, age or economic standing. Education, DigitalFUTURES believes, should be a human right, and not the privilege of the wealthy.
DigitalFUTURES is not constrained by any one language, time zone or geographic location. It does not belong to any continent or country, still less to any city or academic institution. It is intended as an open, shared platform accessible to everyone.
DigitalFUTURES operates throughout the year, offering talks and tutorials in a range of different languages. Although the primary focus is advanced technology, it also addresses other important issues, such as social equality and environmental concerns. Recordings of all sessions are uploaded to our YouTube channel, to form a permanent repository of educational materials, available for free to all.
DigitalFUTURES is run by a distributed network of volunteers from all over the world, who have come together to make the world a more equitable environment. This network operates as a non-hierarchical, bottom up organization, with each language channel operating semi-autonomously.
DigitalFUTURES was initiated in 2011 by Neil Leach and Philip Yuan, as a collaborative venture involving students from the University of Southern California (USC) and Tongji. It consisted of a festival of workshops, lectures, and a conference, held over the summer months. This was repeated on an annual basis, and over the years DigitalFUTURES began to grow into the largest ever in person festival of computational design, attracting students and instructors from all over the world. With time, it also spawned a series of conference papers, book publications, an international PhD program, and eventually a peer reviewed journal.
In 2020 DigitalFUTURES went online and became global, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Architects and instructors from around the world came together in a spirit of solidarity to teach workshops, and share their passion for architecture. With this important shift, DigitalFUTURES began to grow substantially, hosting over 80 workshops in 2020, over 100 workshops in 8 different languages in 2021, and over 130 workshops in 11 different languages in 2022.
In 2020 DigitalFUTURES also mutated into a permanent, all year round platform, offering weekly sessions, originally only in English. Soon DigitalFUTURES China was formed, followed by the establishment of several language channels, initially in Arabic, Farsi, Spanish and Portuguese. DigitalFUTURES now hosts a series of events each week, in various languages.
In 2021 the Doctoral Consortium was launched, allowing doctoral candidates and would-be doctoral candidates worldwide to meet on a single global platform. Initially hosted in English by Tongji and Florida International University (FIU), these are now being hosted in different languages through the DigitalFUTURES language channels.