The term “forum” originally referred to public space in ancient Roman municipalities — sites designated for meetings and speeches, which invariably grew into important religious, political, economic and educational venues. These spaces not only hosted a variety of social activities, but also featured diverse architectural styles.

Today, the word “forum” is almost synonymous with dialogue or exchange, spaces that promote the discussion of ideas and opinions for educational or social pursuits, and many architects are creating their own interpretations and adaptations of the forum structure creating spaces of community and exchange. Some evoke the educational role of a forum, whereas others stress commercial or religious functions; some combine many programs under one roof.

Architizer has showcased seven outstanding architectural examples of contemporary forums from the University of Exeter Forum in the UK and Faena Forum in Miami, Florida, to the Marimekko Forum in Helsinki.

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