There are few things that I will admit to having a borderline unhealthy passion about … a brand new sharpie pen, floating in the pool with a cold drink, and the second-to-last time walking through a project I designed. I have been debating whether or not I want to admit the latest possible addition to this list … Instagram.
Instagram has been around for a long time so why would I be bringing this up now? Surely I am not so far behind the curve that I only know am figuring out now that people like it, or possibly worse, that I am liking it as it is moving into the realm of being an irrelevant application … kind of like saying “MySpace is amazing …” a month before everybody stopped using it. Except that’s not the case where Instagram is concerned. As of April 2017, Instagram has 700 million users – a figure twice what it was just 2 years ago. My first post on Instagram was on September 26, 2011, when the platform was 11 months old and it was not a particularly interesting photo:
I was in England for London Design Festival and it was what every roomful of designers was currently talking about – so I thought I should check it out … and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Given that I tend to become bored with something over a relatively short period of time, I will admit that I am surprised that I still enjoy Instagram as a platform as much as I do. It tends to be the application that I check out first in the morning and last in the evening (especially true since it isn’t football season yet). I thought that I would start a new series of posts and share with you some of the Instagram feeds that I enjoy the most.
So this is my Instagram feed in all of its glory. It has evolved a bit since those early days and I will admit that I attempt to curate the content so that it is representative of the name of my site ‘Life of an Architect’… without being a daily diary of my non-architectural activities. Considering that my site is called ‘Life of an Architect’, I try to show the culture behind the public facade that most architectural firms would promote.
I have also decided that if I was going to show you some of the Instagram feeds that I enjoy most, I would show a screen grab with enough images in it so that you could get a sense of that particular feed. There are a million posts out there on Instagram feeds that you should follow – but most only show a single photo from that feed, and that simply isn’t enough.
I am also going to start breaking down these feeds into themes. While I would generally consider this first batch to be my favorites, there are others that I look at that fall into categories like interiors, construction, photography, materials, and even other architects.
So now that I’ve set the proverbial table, these are my current favorite Instagram feeds, regardless of their specialty.
What’s to say? It’s typically groovy and innovative concrete structures and forms … and I like concrete as a building material.
I don’t know David and I’m not entirely sure how I ever found his feed, but it probably had something to do with the “hepcat” part of his username. This is an aggregate site (I don’t believe any of the images in his feed are his) but as a curated collection of projects, I tend like his taste in modern building forms and materiality.
To the best of my knowledge, this is a feed of buildings built in the United Kingdom – most of which were constructed in the 1960’s and early 1970’s.
An Australian feed of prefabricated and modular buildings. While I am still not on board with the idea of prefabricated housing, this feed makes me feel like I need to keep an open mind.
These guys are almost in my backyard – just 200 miles down the highway from me in Austin, Texas. A lot of my architecture friends in Austin use Drophouse Design and images of their work kept showing up in my Instagram feed. It didn’t take long for me to follow and become hooked because these folks seem to be doing some amazing work. No catalog work here!
I follow a handful of architectural photographers and Sebastian Weiss is one of my favorites. Most photographers have a style to how they capture a building, and the pictures that make up Sebastian’s feed are typically well crafted curated glimpses into photographic form-making.
I need to come clean and confess that I am really interested in the work going on in Australia at the moment. After I had made my initial list for this post, I had to run back through my selections so that the entire thing wasn’t almost entirely made up of work taking place down under … so this is a good place to start.
This is a feed that makes photography feel approachable to the person who endeavors to take interesting pictures … but just can’t quite get it right. That’s not to say that this feed is amateurish – quite the opposite. It’s just that almost all images in this feed seem like you could have taken this picture is you had just looked up at the right moment … and knew something more about photography other than “point and click”.
My only complaint here is that they don’t publish enough for me – only 100 posts in 18 months. Clearly, I’m a fan, because this is the only feed from another architecture firm that I included on this list … the work is that good.
I like the magazine so it only makes sense that I’d like their Instagram feed.
This might be the most unusual feed on my list, and possibly, amongst all the feeds I am currently following on Instagram. This is the feed of a Real Estate company that sells property in and around Britain. While I don’t believe that I am currently looking to acquire property in the UK, this is a feed that showed up on my radar screen and has managed to stay there.
It’s almost unfair to other cities the wealth of imagery that the New York AIA Center for Architecture has at its fingertips to curate the content of their Instagram feed. That having been said, someone on staff still has to put the work in to post these images and write the supporting data, and given my past role at Digital Communications Director of the Texas Society of Architects, I can tell you that I know how hard it is to accomplish this feat.
I must have slept through the early morning lectures where modernism in socialist countries was discussed, but fear not my friends because this is the feed for you. While there are some hits and misses in this feed, I feel like I am actually learning something every time I catch one of their images. If you want to improve on your mental database of architecture, you should add this feed to your stream.
I really hope you enjoy this rabbit hole of Instagram feeds I’ve put together today. While this is by no means a comprehensive list, it’s a good starting point for those of you who have an interest in architecture. I literally don’t know a single person from today’s list but that’s not part of my criteria for inclusion … in fact, I probably went out of my way to exclude people I know.
A long time ago I learned that if I follow too many feeds, I end up feeling like I missed too much. As a result, I am constantly adding and removing streams from my follow list so that I can generally see what everyone I am following is posting within a few swipes. Over the coming months, I will be putting together a few more specific curated lists of feeds that you might be interested in seeing.
ps – I think being able to put together curated lists is the next wrinkle that Instagram will add to their repertoire, you heard it here first.