Architecture My Ninja Please
Ryan McClain (left), 24, Boston
Kiye Apreala (right), 24, New York
First post: December 2006
Total posts as of June 30, 2007: 380
Unique visitors in May 2007: 22,000
Architecture My Ninja Please combines the language of design and youthful slang to describe architecture. It's fun, hip, and occasionally silly. “Not only is the massing interesting,” writes Ryan McClain about a house designed by Santa Monica, Calif.–based MINARC, “but the details inside are siiick.” This popular new blog—created by Kiye Apreala as a microsite within his myninjaplease.com (MNP) family of blogs—features splashy projects that catch your attention, even if you know nothing about design. McClain's fresh zeal for the work of starchitects and students alike makes you want to pardon the endless repetition of the word “ninja,” the epithet used throughout MNP to refer to readers and anyone the MNP bloggers favor. McClain, who holds a B.Arch. degree from Roger Williams University, works at a large Boston firm he declines to name for fear of implying a connection with the blog. The Spanish version of Architecture MNP, translated by César Cotta, was launched in July as a response to the discovery that a surprising portion of the blog's readership is located in Spanish-speaking countries.
Geoff Manaugh, 31, San Francisco
First post: July 2004
Total posts as of June 30, 2007: 800
Unique visitors in May 2007: 150,000
Geoff Manaugh's posts on “architectural conjecture,” “urban speculation,” and “landscape futures” (as he describes the content) have catapulted BLDGBLOG to the center of the architectural blogging universe. BLDGBLOG was born in Los Angeles, which might help explain Manaugh's preoccupation with film and geology. “Plate tectonics,” he says, “outdoes any landscape design studio with its sheer impact and scale.” Manaugh has also written about the architecture of science fiction movies and biologically cloned building materials. In 2009, Chronicle Books will publish a print version of the blog. Meanwhile, Manaugh—whose multidisciplinary background includes art history, cultural studies, a summer architecture studio at the Rhode Island School of Design, and a brief stint at Foster + Partners—begins working this month as a senior editor at Dwell, which has necessitated a move to San Francisco.
City Of Sound
Dan Hill, 37, London
First post: January 2002
Total posts as of June 30, 2007: 1,000
Unique visitors in May 2007: 30,000
Does a diagram of a soccer match have architectural properties? What about the underwater mesh caverns created during a traditional Sicilian fishing ritual? Or the structural narrative of a work of music? Dan Hill's City of Sound explores buildings and cities through a kaleidoscope of images, memories, sounds, rituals, and engineering. Although Hill has no architectural training, he cites the “deliberately unfocused peripheral vision” espoused by Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa as grounds for his own creative digressions. Throughout Hill's work as the head of interactive technology and design for BBC Radio & Music/Future Media & Technology and now as the director of web and broadcast for the recently launched magazine Monocle, City of Sound has served as sketchbook, sounding board, and laboratory for honing new ideas. His extrapolations from Google Earth include an interactive “timeslider” of Barcelona that incorporates historic maps and audio recordings.
Lockhart Steele, 33, New York
First post: May 2004
Total posts as of June 30, 2007: “No idea—way too many!”
Unique visitors in May 2007: 1 million
Lightning fast and irreverent through and through, Curbed keeps the pulse of development in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco—with coverage of additional cities coming soon. Lockhart Steele and his invisible army of “tipsters” have built Curbed into a churning clearinghouse of news and hearsay. Its roots run to Steele's personal blog, lockhartsteele.com, from which he learned that “people liked to track the minutiae of neighborhoods as much as I did.” Steele says his nonarchitectural background gives Curbed certain advantages: “For instance, I don't tend to lapse into archibabble. … If something's ugly, we say it's ugly.” The site's posts, which are as concise as they are abundant, make generous use of signature vocabulary such as “floorplan porn” and “advertecture.” Steele recently left web publishing company Gawker Media, where he was managing editor, to concentrate full time on running the Curbed network.