Credit: Sioux Nesi
“Ultimately, our mission is to push architectural work out into the world,” says Architizer’s Marc Kushner (right), seen here with fellow co-founders Benjamin Prosky (left) and Matthias Hollwich. (Not pictured: Alex Diehl.)
For architects looking to network online in a serious way, the options have been limited. LinkedIn consigns designers to text-based profiles, making it difficult to convey a firm’s essence. Pictures can be posted on Twitter and Facebook, but they vie with updates about what someone had for breakfast. Now, with Architizer.com, the landscape is radically different. The image-based site gives architects a platform to connect with other designers and, its founders hope, an interested public.
Architizer began in late 2009 with 25 firms; it has since grown into a global network of, at press time, 1,300 firms and 7,000 individuals, and it gets an impressive 100,000 unique visitors per month. “We’ve been a lot busier than we [expected],” admits co-founder Marc Kushner. The founders—Kushner, Matthias Hollwich, Alex Diehl, and Benjamin Prosky—are otherwise employed: Kushner and Hollwich run HWKN, a New York architecture firm; Diehl is CEO of media agency KreativeKonzeption, in Berlin; and Prosky directs special events and external affairs at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning. The Architizer idea is a few years old, but the quartet saw a chance to make it a reality in the recession with pooled resources and sweat equity. These days, they juggle work schedules with the site’s growing demands. Prosky says they’ve been successful in raising capital for site improvements aimed at audience growth.
Regular competitions are among the new features. An initial one, which re-examined losing designs from 2009 competitions, generated substantial Web traffic. “If your work is on Architizer, you don’t really even need a site,” says Diehl, who optimized the search function. A project that sits dormant on a firm’s site may, on Architizer, get hundreds of views in a day; if it’s a featured project, bump that figure to 4,000. “Once it’s out there,” Kushner says, “the work takes on a life of its own.”
The Greenguard Environmental Institute—whose certification programs maintain air-quality standards for building materials and products—recently overhauled its website. Among the upgrades is a more user-friendly product guide, which now allows searches by keyword, product type, manufacturer, sustainability credits, and certification type.
Written by Merill Stewart, co-founder of the Birmingham, Ala., commercial construction company Stewart Perry, Planting Acorns combines industry insights with informal business philosophy, all centered on the idea that people—whether employees, business partners, or clients—are the ultimate asset.
A project by two French photographers and Kolor, developer of the photo-stitching software Autopano: 2,346 pics of the Paris skyline assembled into a single image 354,159 pixels wide by 75,570 pixels tall.
At the other end of the digital spectrum, so to speak, is a searchable map of New York City rendered in the “8-bit” format, which will be familiar to fans of ’80s-era computer games. The mapmaker, Brett Camper, also created one for Austin, Texas—just in time for the SXSW festival—and is soliciting donations to help fund the development of 15 more.
Designer Ingrid Fetell—see her work at ingridfetell.com—tries to answer the question: How does design contribute to, or detract from, our feelings of happiness?
Dan Sinker, a journalism professor at Columbia College Chicago, revisits a children’s book, 2010: Living in the Future, published in 1972 by science fiction writer Geoffrey Hoyle. How does the real 2010 compare with the world envisioned by Hoyle and his illustrator, Alasdair Anderson? Apart from the jumpsuits everyone is supposed to be wearing and generally utopian designs and attitudes, we’re not all that far off.