For architects who amass images for inspiration from different designers and projects, a new collaborative online platform is vying to make it easier to share, use, and contribute to those pinboards. Bricks, which was launched as a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo earlier this month, allows architects to build digital libraries of images, tags, and information about building elements.
Available as a mobile or desktop app, the collaborative platform got its namesake because its primary objective is to help architects aggregate common project elements, such as stairs or façades, with relevant information, such as BIM objects, PDF catalogs, materials and sources, user reviews, and examples of building applications.
Developed by Sébastian Lucas, a French architect and the founder of Archiref (an open-source visual database of architecture), the app will soon introduce Creative Commons licenses for its bricks to allow for public use of shared work. In an email to ARCHITECT, Lucas wrote that Archiref will be one of many sources, including blogs, Instagram, and Flickr, that users can draw from to collect their bricks, and then create folders to house individual building projects composed of those digital bricks. Users can also organize and layer design elements spatially, such as pinning a window within the image of a façade.
Bricks is part of a growing trend of collaborative platforms that allow architects to build their own online bulletin boards. Pinterest, which Lucas cites as his inspiration for Bricks' image collection feature, is a visual bookmarking tool used by the general public. Architecture is one of the largest subject topics on the Pinterest, but, according to Bricks' Indiegogo page, it "doesn't have the project level" that allows architects to organize their favorite elements into building designs and attach files to them. Lucas also cites Trello, a project management tool, as a source of inspiration for its simple organization and its concept of the card, which stores information, such as to-do lists, and images.
Specifically for architects and designers, the Morpholio Project offers an eponymous app that allows users to build portfolios, share their work, and discuss their projects. Last year, the Morpholio Project launched Board, an app that allows designers to create and organize virtual color palettes and material boards for interior design concepts in digital collages.