The Internet is rich in sources of both inspiration and procrastination for architects – magazines have harnessed the online platform superbly to give our industry greater exposure than ever, and many have mastered the art of going viral on social media, expanding their audience exponentially.
But the Web has also given individuals a voice that was previously difficult to hear – solo blogs offer a level of personal insight and unshackled opinion greater than that of the larger sites, and they also delve into niche architectural discourse that may otherwise be drowned out by the ocean of online information.
As if proof were needed, here are my top 10 Indie websites for architects – they range from the amusing, to the provocative, to the downright inspirational… whatever floats your blogging boat, there is bound to be something for you here.
1. Life Of An Architect
The online home of Dallas-based architect Bob Borson, Life Of An Architect is one of the better known, not to mention the most perceptive, blogs on this list. This is largely down to the fact that Bob is an experienced, practising architect, which is reflected in savvy posts ranging from technical advice to light-hearted jabs at common misconceptions of the industry.
2. Notes On Becoming A Famous Architect
Notes is the brainchild of Conrad Newel, and – in his own words – is ‘a true story about one man and his dream to become a famous architect’. When one reads on, however, it soon becomes clear that Conrad’s mantra is somewhat more philosophical – he offers a critical perspective on the cult of celebrity within the architectural industry (that much-contested compound ‘Starchitect’ pops up a number of times), and he frequently turns the mirror on architectural journalists as well. His cameo appearance on Architizer last year is a perfect, hotly debated example!
3. Coffee With An Architect
North Carolina-based architect Jody Brown started his blog as a way to reach out to people in the community, with a virtual cup of coffee acting as a fitting catalyst for low pressure, accessible architectural discourse. Then, as the trials and tribulations of the industry took their inevitable hold, he veered off in a different direction – Architecture and Angst was born. Cue a plethora of beautifully cynical posts that gently lay bare the stereotypes of architects and their craft – his love of modernism shining through all the while.
4. The Funambulist
If you are in need of a little more depth to your articles, take a trip along The Funambulist’s literary tight-rope. To call Léopold Lambert’s series of essays a blog underplays the research that has gone into each piece – subjects revolve primarily around politics framed by architecture, taking the form of both written work and a series of fascinating podcast interviews. The provocative Weaponized Architecture collection - an examination of architecture as a political weapon – is a powerful illustration of The Funambulist’s heavyweight content.
5. Unhappy Hipsters
If the intellectual cartwheels of The Funambulist tire you out, try these next three blogs on for size. Unapologetically simple and hilariously deadpan, Unhappy Hipsters takes the pristine interior shots from your favourite architectural magazines and gives them a melancholy twist. The captions are consistently sharp, and revel in the unspoken paradox behind our obsession with minimalism – while we are social animals, it truly is ‘lonely in the modern world’.
6. Terrible Real Estate Agent Photographs
Another blog in which the captions take all the prizes, T.R.E.A.P is a little about poor architectural design and interiors – and A LOT about the importance of good presentation by those in charging of selling them. Of course, some dwellings are awful no matter how you photograph them, and agents may well utter that all too relevant proverb – “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig”. Either way, this is a perpetual stream of cringe-worthy fun, and you will never cease to be amazed by the shocking absence of sense and taste on display.
7. Ugly Belgian Houses
There appears to be a Belgium-specific phenomenon of ludicrously bad residential design, if local blogger Hannes Coudenys is to be believed. He is the curator of an eye-watering gallery of architectural calamities across the country, with a focus on misguided classical pastiche, misplaced medieval turrets, and misunderstood attempts at high modernism. He also reveals a bizarre truth – it seems there are more pyramids in Belgium than there are in Egypt…
If you are pulling yet another all-nighter in your final semester and are in need of some comfort, head over to Archistudent, created by a hardworking pair from the National University of Singapore. The blog’s greatest strength lies in its accessibility to all those struggling their way through the labyrinth of architecture courses around the world – it is by students, for students, and this fact makes it incredibly relatable. There are also some cracking studio-based anecdotes – be safe in the knowledge that it’s perfectly normal to rock out with a T-Square at 3am.
9. Tips For Architecture School
Mark Perrett is a graduate from the University of South Florida, and in between freelance design work, he is continuously compiling an essential survival guide for architecture students. His comprehensive and well illustrated guide ranges from the practical – best types of model-making glue and good portfolio practice feature – to the psychological, with tips on how to handle criticism, and ways to cope with the stress of a final review.
10. The Angry Architect
Last but not least, The Angry Architect (yours truly) is now well established on the blogging stage. The self-styled ‘Home Of Opinion On Architecture’ aims to promote independent criticism and provide a platform for the personal views of all within the industry – with a healthy dose of dry-witted humour thrown in for good measure. The tone ranges from cheeky to downright provocative, and if a particular opinion gets your back up, all the better: you are welcome to air your views on the Angry Architect’s popular Facebook page.
I look forward to seeing you there…
The Angry Architect