Architecture is everywhere. It hangs from the clouds in New York, Tokyo and Dubai. It peeks into our lives from the past in the form of ancient ruins and crumbling wonders. It’s the walls, floors, windows and courtyards of your home that provide shelter and a place to lay your head.
Architecture is an important part of all our lives, so it makes sense there are so many websites out there dedicated to the awareness, celebration, and proliferation of interesting buildings and the people who make them.
The following list is an eclectic collection of websites that, in one way or another, centre around the architecture and design industry in ways you might not have known about. And why should you know about these sites? Well, other than the fact that they’ll temporarily rip your eyes from the relentless clutches of Facebook and Buzzfeed, they will instil in you a greater appreciation for architecture and what it take to build something truly great. And the more we appreciate good design as a society, the prettier, more functional, and more sustainable our cities become. Awareness leads to action which leads to a shift in design and development standards that keep everyday building at the status quo.
Many of these are sources for various happenings and news in the world of design and architecture. Others belong to prominent architects doing interesting things in the field. Some websites are resources architects and designers use to make their work better, giving you a peek behind the curtain of the process of design and construction. Here are 10 great architecture websites you never knew existed. And by the way, if you want to create something similar, you can get an architecture WordPress theme and start from there.
There are thousands of architecture blogs out there. Most people know about ArchDaily, DesignBoom or DeZeen, but for my money, it doesn’t get much better than Contemporist. The design of the website itself is simple and effective, with a blogroll that is constantly updated with the latest in design, architecture, DIY and travel. If the name weren’t enough of an indication, articles and projects promote contemporary and modern design with pinpoint focus rivalled by very few competing blogs. It is a great resource for inspiration to be used by designers, but also useful for people looking to add a bit of design flair to their house or apartment.
While Contemporist is great for interior inspiration, the articles seldom cover larger projects that might be handled by the more popular blogs. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, rather a specialized look at what can make your living spaces more attractive. It’s more akin to Apartment Therapy than Architizer, with projects carefully selected for showcasing something new or interesting in the interior art and design world. If you like to daydream about turning your studio apartment into a modern design marvel, Contemporist should be your first stop.
Archinect is a funnel for a collection of architecture school blogs that doubles as a resource for connecting architects across the globe. It’s a great place for students to go and share their projects, but also promote themselves for prospective employment once they shed the shackles of design school and are released into the real world. The website is clean and effective, giving users a plethora of information related to the design and architecture industry.
Not only is Architect good for current students, is also a great place for people searching for information about architecture programs they might choose to attend in the future. The site provides easy access to university websites and points to admission criteria and protocol. University design blogs also give important insight into the type of curriculum and programs each school will offer. There is no better website out there that works to connect architects to other architects in hopes of collective collaboration, promotion, and progression.
Architectural rendering and visualization has always been an important part of the profession. Never has this been more true than the current state of architecture, where the quality of your digital design drawings are often associated with the quality of your firm as a whole. Easy Render is an invaluable service that connects rendering artists and software technicians with architecture and design firms that need help with competition, marketing, or design presentation content. Within hours of logging on for the first time, you’ll have experts hard at work turning out stunning, life-like renderings and visualizations that will elevate the work your firm is being represented by.
It’s a two way pipeline, too. If you’re a talented artist looking for freelance work, this is a good resource for finding jobs. Yes, believe it or not, most architects are not experts at VRay and Rhino. In fact, very few even know they exist. Easy Render is a great service that has a collection of 3D artists who are ready to do the heavy lifting and blow your mind with beautiful images.
Andrew Maynard is the prodigal son of Australian architecture. His designs manage to be intricate and unique while exploring architectural typologies and vernaculars that have been around for generations. It’s hard to know exactly what it is about his buildings that are so great, but it’s something that hits you in the chest as soon as you look at it. His website, however, chucks just about everything we know about web design out the door in favour of the weirdest, most convoluted, yet undeniably stunning design url on the planet.
The bizarre website provides a devilish juxtaposition to the clean, subdued designs that populate it. The splash page is an instant shot of personality that sparks an intimate conversation with the architect himself, giving the viewer a window into the storm happening behind the resulting beauty of the finished products. It sets Andrew apart from other architects because it shows he isn’t afraid to put on display just how chaotic the design process is, even when the building itself exhibits such restraint. I go back at least once a week to remind me that a little bit of madness is what makes a design great.
While I would plant ‘architecture’ firmly in the top 10 of ways I would least like to die by, that does not diminish the usefulness of design competition resource, Death By Architecture. It is a website that connects architects and designers to upcoming competitions in a wide variety of fields and specializations. For many firms and individuals, competitions represent a large avenue for work and income, which makes Death By Architecture an invaluable one-stop-shop for all global and regional competitions. The site offers a brief explanation of the competition prompt as well as information pertaining to eligibility and reward.
Death By Architecture is also useful for students, as many of the competitions are only offered to those still at university. There’s a helpful map on the splash page that lets you know when a competition is coming up, and how long you have between the application deadline and the delivery deadline. So if you’re a young architect or a promising student looking to make a name for yourself in the design world, look no further than Death By Architecture. Also, get yourself a black suit and a few pairs of thick rimmed hipster glasses.
Olson Kundig is an architecture firm based out of Seattle, Washington who have made waves in recent years for their inventive detailing and stern regionalist and environmentalist approach to design. Their website is clean and unique, offering viewers a series of embedded full-motion vignettes that offer a window into the design process and ethos of the firm. Even more beautiful than the website is the projects that hide beneath the slick exterior. Tom Kundig is a world recognized and admired architect who crafts stunning works of contemporary architecture with steel and glass. Those two antonymous materials are his artistic medium, and he wields them with mastery.
Go to Olson Kundig Architects body of work and lose yourself for a couple of hours. You wll come out of it with an appreciation for the art in the design, and an even greater appreciation for the places his buildings inhabit.
Okay, it is entirely possible you already know a great deal about Fast Company, but it is worth mentioning here because it often does not get the recognition it deserves as a truly great design blog. What makes Fast Company so special is its focus on the business and social aspects of art and architecture. It’s a great place for entrepreneurs and business owners in the design sector to get information, news, and opinions on everything happening in the design world. It has a little bit of everything: technology, productivity, management, project implementation, design organization, scheduling, financing and budgeting. This is the side of architecture no one will tell you about as a student, but it’s arguable the most important aspect of successful ambition.
If you ever hope to start a design business, or are currently flailing with one already, Fast Company will be the Swiss Army knife to your McGyver. And if that 80’s action TV show reference went way over your head, let’s just say you won’t be able to live without it.
Life of an Architect is a quiet, unassuming little blog run by a lone architect looking to share his journey through the design industry with the world. It is probably the most architect-y thing on the internet, and those with an intimate relationship with the profession will instantly connect with the “real-talk” way Bob Borson lays things out (yes, dude’s name is Bob Borson). Reading his articles is sort of like being slowly rocked to sleep as you clutch a t-square and a roll of drafting dots close to your chin. Yes, Bob Borson is the old man of the architecture blog world. It is what makes his website such a gem.
Bob’s posts run through what it’s like being an actual, true to life architect. There are thousands and thousands of design professionals in the world, and most of them live mundane lives making an honest living doing something they love. This is what Bob portrays, and it offers an introspective look into the everyman architect. Although he often tries too hard to be funny, his blog is ultimately one I hope I never stop reading.
I could sit and watch the beautiful video of Rafael Vinoly sketching that occupies the entire screen of his website’s landing page for hours. It is quite a thing to watch a world renowned designer make pen strokes as he works his way through a conceptual design. If that video was all this website ever did, it would be enough for it to win awards. Lucky for us, the rest of the site gifts the world with the unparalleled work of one of the greatest architects of the past century.
Visiting sites dedicated to this calibre of design is important for every design professional to frequent. It’s a reminder of what is possible and should act as fuel for elevating your own work. Be inspired. Learn from the best. Don’t be afraid to be humble and accept the fact that there are people out there doing work much better than yours. Embrace it and be better. Channel your inner Vinoly and design the shit out of something.
BusyBoo is a clean, elegant, easy to navigate up and coming blog that presents a range of design types from architecture to products. Each article is uniformly crafted and presents some of the best images of architecture and design you’ll find on the internet. Most of the buildings that fill the pages of BusyBoo are of the unusual residential variety. Every one of them will have you turning to the person closest to you at the time and blurt out “oh yeah I’d live there.” Don’t be alarmed if that happens to you, because as BusyBoo gains popularity, you’re going to have an awful lot of train goers looking for someone to share their aspirations for living in style.
There’s nothing particularly special about BusyBoo, other than the fact that it does just about everything right. It’s everything a design blog should be, and doesn’t do anything that doesn’t reinforce the beauty in the projects. Subscribe now and thank me later.