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We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Question: Who are you?

Stern: My name is Robert A.M. Stern.  I am an architect and the founding partner of Robert Stern Architects in New York.  And I’m the Dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University in New Haven.  Being born is always a traumatic experience I’m told.  But I was born in Brooklyn, although my parents at that time lived in Manhattan.  But then they moved to Brooklyn.  Go figure that one out.  Growing up in Brooklyn and growing up in New York were, in my mind, slightly different.  New York being Manhattan, or Manhattan being New York, and Brooklyn being nowhere.  Now Brooklyn’s very glamorous.  All I wanted to do was get out of Brooklyn at the time I grew up.  Of course that’s, you know, easy to say with hindsight.  You know I’m sure I had a wonderful childhood and so forth.  But in my mind I always thought things happened in Manhattan.

Question: Who was your greatest influence?

Stern: By the time I got to architecture school – which I suppose is the most relevant thing to touch on in this context – the chairman of the Department of Architecture was Paul Rudolph.  Amazing teacher, amazing architect, at that time at the top of his game, the great architectural historian.  Rudolph died in 1997.  But the great architectural historian Vincent Scully is still teaching at Yale and was a great mentor to me and remains a good . . . a mentor and a friend.  And I think the third person from the world of architecture was Philip Johnson who saw a certain potential in me as . . . and was always very . . . always showed interest in what I was doing.


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