What is Big Think?  

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
With rendition switcher


Question: Why is architecture important?

Stern: I once did a television series for Public Broadcasting called “Pride of Place”. And I realized that people were very interested in what I was doing – more interested the average than non-architects than the architects, because the architects all quarreled with my interpretation, as indeed they had every right to. I was quarreling with theirs. But the . . . The average television watcher – the Public Broadcasting television watcher – could engage me and stop me on streets. And so for a long time I had the false illusion that I was an important person. And they’d engage me in discussion, because I didn’t always hit them with the word “architecture” like a thunderbolt. You know the Frank Lloyd Wright, Ayn Rand, Gary Cooper movie. And I showed them . . . I talked about things that were quite familiar to them and how they really were architecture. And they were good architecture. In any case I do believe that the public is intimately involved in architecture. And look at all these magazines devoted on the residential scale, which is what people can feel engaged in on a personal basis to build houses, and apartments, and loft living and all that stuff. And we even look at the travel. Why do people travel? Now of course they travel to sit on beaches and things like that. But why do they go to Venice, one of the most inconvenient cities in the world? They go for the architecture. And they don’t go really to poke around in every one of those buildings, because half of them aren’t even available for poking around in. They go for the experience of an amazing city – canals, urbanism, architecture.

Recorded on: 12/5/07


Why is architecture important?

Newsletter: Share: