The Best Architectural Websites 2014

Bob Borson —  March 24, 2014 — 32 Comments

The Best Architectural Websites in the World

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After exhaustive research (a.k.a. my internet explorer history) and peer feedback (I asked the people in my office) I have created the definitive listing of the Best Architectural Websites in the World for 2014. In all seriousness, I have spent weeks putting this list together, read far more cruddy websites than I care to think about, and fallen behind on The Americans in my effort to bring you a quality list of architectural websites that should be in your online rotation. I only had three pieces of criteria when cultivating this list:

a) you had to publish regularly 
It’s surprising to see how often the good websites can’t maintain momentum after a relatively short period of time. I suppose it shouldn’t be all that surprising to me, I’ve been doing this for 4 years and stopped being good at it 2 years ago

b) You had to have some sort of editorial or 1st person narratives
I prefer to read websites that are written by a person – even better if it’s someone I can relate to on some level. I don’t particularly care about faceless organizations unless they produce really good content. I have removed most aggregate sites from my list for this reason.

c) you can’t suck
I give a lot of credit for effort – both in real life and in my architectural websites. If you have a site and can’t be bothered with generating your own content, or adding your voice to the conversation – I’m probably not coming back. Simply sharing a link to someone else’s site isn’t good enough to make this list.

Since I don’t have a blog roll on my site, I am going to put together a yearly list of my favorite websites. Here is my previous list for the Best Architectural Websites but that list is now outdated. So let’s get to it – in no particular order, Life of an Architect’s Favorite Websites for 2014:

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Architonic - The Independant Resource for Architecture and Design

Architonic is an aggregate site that seems to have pulled in feeds from all over the world. If there is something cool going on – a symposium, a lecture, an interview with someone fascinating, etc. it’s bound to show up here. They have architectural eye-candy as well but their real strong suit is the news and trends that they dig up from just about everywhere.

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A Daily Dose of Architecture

I just couldn’t bring myself to remove John Hill’s A Daily Dose of Architecture. It was on my list last year but it’s still one of my most favorite architectural sites as well as the first architectural bog that I started reading. It offers the insight of a professional architectural site while also providing the personal attention and 1st person narrative of a blog – which you can probably guess is something of which I am particularly fond.
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BLDG | BLOG

There are times when I don’t think I’m actually smart enough to read BLDG | BLOG even though I always try. Since 2004, BLDG|BLOG has been penned completely by Geoff Manaugh (I feel a bit weary about my site and I’ve only been doing it since 2010) but doesn’t show signs of slowing down. Geoff covers all sorts of topics, all of which are covered in expert manner. The variety is great, this site is no one-trick pony, just be prepare to pull out your dictionary from time to time, Geoff has a big vocabulary.

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Contemporist

Contemporist – in their own words –  is a celebration of contemporary culture, focused on architecture, design, art and travel. They have plenty of projects that are primarily showcased using large scale images, but I particularly like how the entire site is linked by the intent on all things contemporary.
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buildllc blog

The BUILD website is another one of those sites that was on last years site but is so good that it warrants inclusion on this years list as well. It is crisp,visually clean, and completely transparent in all things associated with the work the firm is currently taking on. You want to see what products are being used or how they executed a particular detail? They’ll show you. If you spend any time on architectural websites, you’ll note that pulling the curtain back is a rare thing and I appreciate just how open this site actually is with it’s readers. It’s no mistake that my site is similar in that regard, if they post something, I read it … it’s that simple.

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Archinect - Connecting architects since 1997

The architect’s bulletin board is the best way to describe the website Archinect. The content on this site, which is updated multiple times through the day, is built by the editorial staff and the readers of the site. You can find just about everything here from great images, job postings, architectural news, competitions … literally anything and everything related to the world of architecture.

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Alex Hogrefe - Architectural Graphics

I met Alex Hogrefe last fall when he was a juror for the AIA Dallas Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition – he’s a pretty nice guy by the way. I was the panel moderator for that event and in my preparation, I spent a considerable amount of time reading up on the jurors. After spending just 5 minutes on Alex’s website, I was hooked. Not only does he created amazing digital renderings, he tells you how he did it and gives you tutorials on the process …. FOR FREE!!
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Freshome Design and Architecture

Freshome – Design and Architecture – is a site that I think my clients knew about before I did. Several of them would send me links to something that they had seen on the Freshome site and once I popped on over to see what they had sent, I was almost overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information available. Ironically, about 2 months after I discovered Freshome for myself, they interviewed me on the site [here] and was amazed at the response I received after the article ran. Since then, I have made Freshome one of my check-in sites and I think you should as well.
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Subtilitas

Subtilitas is simply modern architectural eye-candy from around the world. It is a Tumblr site so the format is mostly image based … but the images are so, so good. My one knock on Tumblr sites is that it is so easy to publish to this platform, very few sites seem to edit the content. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Subtilitas … it is definitely worth putting in your rotation.

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Wallpaper

Wallpaper* … I like the publication so it makes sense that I would like the online version as well … and I do. Easy to read, clean images, cutting edge content, what’s not to like?

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Residential Architect

A majority of my time is spent on residential projects, and of all the residential periodicals at my fingertips, Residential Architect is my go-to online magazine of choice. The proper balance of projects, technology, news, and general articles that inspire creativity, ambition, and dedication, this is a magazine where I aspire to getting one of my projects published. I’ve met a few people from the editorial staff and they were all interesting and engaging people – and that’s probably why their magazine is so good … good enough to make this list two years running.

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Architype. Innovation Advancement Design

There were a couple of sites similar to Architype on this list … but you have to be really good to make the cut. Architype is an database site that was created to advance the discussion of design within specific building typologies and explore the influence that type has on the design process. In addition to letting you look at different projects based on type or sector, Architype features firm listings and profiles, material libraries and additional resources such as the latest industry news and job postings for the architecture and design community.

Should it matter that I am buddies with Harry Mark, one of the Founders and the Editor-in-chief for Architype? To be honest, until I started writing this blurb, I didn’t even know Harry had anything to do with this site or the magazine. I gotta say, my feelings are a little hurt right now.

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Architect Magazine header

I get a billion (+/- 999,999,950) magazines a month but there are only a few that I always read. It stands to reason that if I like the magazine, I’m going to like the website. Architect is THE magazine of the American Institute of Architects so what does that tell you? It’s relevant, engaging and always full of interesting articles on all things related to the built environment. In 2012, I was [sorta] lucky enough to make it onto the pages of this fine magazine – an experience neither of us will soon forget. The article can be found here [brace yourself - shudder]

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ArchDaily

If you are an architect, or a student of architecture, or possibly a person breathing air, you know and love the website ArchDaily. It’s only the most trafficked architectural website on the planet – and for good reason. They have been the leader in aggregate architectural sites from the beginning … and for good reason. If it’s out there, it’s covered on this site. All you have to do is pay attention to the majority of architectural websites out there and look to see how many of them are simply pulling in the feed of ArchDaily to populate their website.

All you need to know is that part of the vision of Archdaily is to find the best architecture around the world, as publish it as soon as possible.

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Entrepreneur Architect

This is the second year that Entrepreneur Architect has made the list of top architectural websites for architects. Most architects – upon reaching a certain age and position in the architectural community – talk with their peers as much about the business side of architectural practice and how little they know about it as they do actually buildings. If you have business or practice questions, this is the website for you.

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Architecture Sketch Blog

Architecture Sketch Blog is exactly what you think it is – a blog site dedicated to architectural sketches. This is another Tumblr site so it’s heavy on the images, light on the text – and in the world of architectural websites, that’s a good thing. I keep thinking that one day I’ll take a class on sketching – but until that moment comes, this is a site full of inspiration and techniques to admire and emulate.

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Texas Architects

I am a Texas Architect so therefore I am interested in what is going on with regards to Texas Architecture. I am also the chair of the Digital Communication Committee for the Texas Society of Architects, so in some ways, I am responsible for the content that makes it onto the TxA website … so I had better like it. There are all sorts of changes we are trying to implement on the Texas Society of Architects website; interviews with architects, photo competition posts, updates on the programs and activities where your AIA dues go, etc. Whether you are an architect in Texas or not, there are reasons, architecturally speaking, to see what is happening in the Lone Star state.

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Life of an Architect blog on Tumblr

Did you know that Life of an Architect is also on Tumblr? Right … nobody else does either. It may seem like a gratuitous plug [you'd be right] but there are things that I post on the Life of an Architect Tumblr blog that I wouldn’t put anywhere else. Unfortunately someone else signed up for ‘Life of an Architect’ and I don’t want to spend the money to make them turn it over to me.

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So there it is – my top architectural websites for 2014. I am always on the lookout for awesome additional websites to look at myself and to possibly share. If you know of a site that I left off the list, just put them in the comment section below … who knows, maybe it’ll make it on to the next top list of architectural websites.

Happy “checking out some new websites”,

Bob AIA signature

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  • limonzerga

    Just added most of these to my news feed. I’m going to be pretty busy catching up!! Thanks again for an amazing list.

  • zarah

    I think it is very important and valuable list.Thank you for sharing this.

  • Mike

    Awesome

  • Mike

    Great list

  • Pingback: The Best Architectural Websites 2014 by Bob Borson | Architecture, indeed()

  • Bill Eckley

    Thumbs up.Thanks!

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  • Barrett Enterprises Inc

    Great list, thanks for compiling it.

  • http://buildingcodenyc.com Mala P. Sharma

    Fantastic list. I have a lot of catching up with archives to do. BUILD is one of my favorites.

  • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

    thanks – I’ll check it out!

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  • Gunther

    Very nice and thanks BB, I agree.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Gunther!

  • Obie Uno

    I’m adding majority of them to my iPad bookmarks… My wife says its my architecture porn. Great thing it helps me stay focused!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      or to keep you distracted!

      • Obie Uno

        Very true…

  • Raymond Bowman

    You nailed it on BLDG|BLOG. Every time I go I either feel really smart or really stupid, depending on whether or not I “get” the post.

    I’m really against ArchDaily, though. I would prefer fewer posts that are actually critical of the architecture, rather than the miles of trendy puff pieces that (I suspect) are written by the architects who designed the buildings. They probably couldn’t boast of being the most visited website in that format, though. For whatever reason people seem to prefer churning content to thoughtful criticism.

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      ArchDaily should get credit for the role they play, regardless of whether you think they’re puff pieces or not. Besides, if you read the comments on the posts that receive comments whenever they present something besides pretty pictures, more times than not, they are the most ridiculous things you’ve ever read. Most come across not as thoughtful discourse, but as juvenile people with untrained thought processes and limited to no practical experience – they treat every project as if it were a parti diagram in built form.

  • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

    coolhunter is another one of those sites that is a quality site but in their architecture section, they only have one post in the first three months of 2014. That’s enough to keep you off the list.

    I’ll have to check out the other, I wasn’t aware of it. Thanks for sharing it with me.

    Cheers

  • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

    Randy Deutsch writes a good site (architects2zebras) and the Modative site is also a good one – good enough that I wish they wrote more often. Modative hasn’t updated their site as of this posting in 5 months, Randy is a bit more current since his last post was in January of this year. I’m a big fan of those guys but that’s the reason those two sites were left off this list.

  • Roberta Coloniale

    What about homedsgn?

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      I’ve never heard of it until now … maybe that’s a bad thing. Something new to go explore. Thanks for sharing it with me

  • Nick Reed

    Thanks for the reviews! I was wondering, do you or anyone else have recommendations for architecture/design podcasts?

  • http://businessofarchitecture.com/ Enoch Sears

    Great article Bob, some of my favorite website on architecture!

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      Thanks Enoch!

      For those of you who don’t already know, Enoch has a great site as well where he interviews people on the business aspect of architecture – and they are typically illuminating. I encourage you to check it out for yourself:
      http://www.businessofarchitecture.com/

  • Ollin Trujillo

    I just found the BUILD blog one the other day. That IS a good one…

    • http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com Bob Borson

      See? It’s good stuff, they seem to have mastered what a small architectural practice website should look like – practical, personable, educational, and entertaining. That’s a tall order to achieve yet they make it look effortless.

      • TX Architect in LA

        Actually, I feel that even large firms should have web sites like this. If someone gets something out of going to your web site, then you attract others. Build is an excellent example as well as your own site, Bob.