The Best Architectural Websites in the World
… or as I call them, my “current favorite websites”, but let’s not split hairs. After exhaustive research (a.k.a. my internet explorer history) and peer feedback (I sent some emails, reviewed suggestions in the comment area, and asked the people in my office) I have created the definitive listing of the Best Architectural Websites in the World for 2015. I will admit that this list is completely biased because what I like might not be what you like (even though it should be, let’s be honest). I don’t read as many websites as I once did so this list is getting harder and harder to assemble. While I am encouraged by the volume of possible websites available to us these days, most of them either flame out in a hurry (once the owners realize just how much work goes into maintaining a website), or they simply aren’t interesting enough to convince me to visit more than once or twice. 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 5 years (and stopped being good at it 3 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. So let’s get to it – in no particular order, Life of an Architect’s Favorite Websites for 2015:
Colossal began in 2010 as the personal art and design blog of Christopher Jobson. Each week you’ll find 15-25 posts on photography, design, animation, painting, installation art, architecture, drawing, and street art. Colossal is also a great place to learn about the intersection of art and science as well as the beauty of the natural world. This is one of my favorite lunchtime time-sucks as I am always surprised just how fast my lunch break ends when I’ve been surfing through the digital pages of Colossal.
This is another website that aggregates content on architecture, interiors, tech, travel, and home. The images are crisp and well composed, the content is varied, and there is a stripped away simplicity to the articles they share.
I almost didn’t put Fast Company on this list because, in my mind, they are such an obvious selection and any designer walking the planet (assuming they have a computer and an internet connection) probably already goes by this site with regularity. But since there are people out there who [gasp] might not know about Fast Company, I am about to rock your world … or rather, Fast Company will do the rocking.
All the content on this site is painstakingly assembled and curated by Maria Popova who describes herself in the following manner: “I’m a reader, writer, interestingness hunter-gatherer, and curious mind at large. I’ve previously written for WiredUK, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, among others, and am an MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow.”
Brain Pickings is a digital curio cabinet of things worth thinking about … but does it belong on a list of the best architectural websites? Maybe … but I don’t know how I could leave it off this list if I’m trying to expose you to what I think is a truly awesome website.
Weekly musings from architect and educator Lee Calisiti, Think | Architect is an architectural blog for architects and advanced fans of architecture. Lee writes about his architectural practice, educating future architects, and the cause and effect the two have with one another. Other entries are more akin to professional reactions to his daily experiences as a sole-practitioner architect.
Just what it sounds like … except as far as architecture students blogs go, this one creates content and updates her site with regularity. There are quick, rapid-fire entries that can be read in no time and if you are an architecture student – or just curious about being an architecture student – there is a spot where you can send your questions. Just be warned, it might take some time to get a response, this is an architectural student website and she’s probably on a deadline.
Despite being a fairly new website, Soapbox Architect seems to be my kind of website. Started by Brady Ernst, whose first post was on January 1st, 2015, this is your chance to get in on the ground floor of a brand new blog that might actually have the sort of balance between humor and righteous architectural indignation that make any website worth going back to with regularity. We’ll see if the spelling can maintain its lofty goals after 700 more posts.
This is the first time I’ve included Architizer on the list and I think it’s time I showed it some love (not that it needs it from the likes of me). Along with Bjarke Ingels, Jeanne Gang, and Brad Cloepfil, I have been an Architizer A+ Awards judge for the past two years and finally spent considerable time on the Architizer website. The entire website is a proverbial rabbit hole and it’s easy to get lost in all the images and projects – however – to keep things a bit more manageable, I really like the “Project of the Day” feature they have as it allows me to get a little architectural eye-candy fix and be on my way.
Speaking of eye candy, The Architecture Blog is just that – lot’s and lot’s of eye candy. This site is a Tumblr site and seems to operate within the parameters for which Tumblr was made – photos. No words, just photos.
This the second year in a row that I’ve included Wallpaper* and since I still love it, I’m still including it as an extremely worthwhile site for designers and architects to visit. … 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?
While most of these websites would probably say that they have considered the appearance and design of all aspects of their site, none come close to the almost painful control that the website Cereal demonstrates. Basically a digital version of their quarterly magazine, I dare you to go to this website and not acknowledge the amazing photography and the restrained layouts – all while showing how seemingly easy it is to live a thoughtfully designed and well-appointed life.
Considering the number of client I work with that bring up Houzz, I’m not sure any of us can afford to ignore this site even if we wanted to … which I don’t. Architects have a reputation for only caring about the money shot, while ignoring the rooms that most people actually live. Houzz is populated with images of all things residential, but it seems to excel with user-uploaded content – of bath rooms, laundry rooms, guest bathrooms, etc. and on and on. Clearly, architects are thinking about these rooms as well considering the wealth of searchable images available to you.
Not a lot of hyperbole needed for Abitare, it is everything you would hope an Italian design magazine that’s been in publication for over 50 years would be. More than any other site on this list, Abitare will focus on something that I never knew existed. While it might be easy to dismiss this as “Borson doesn’t know much of anything so that’s not a bold claim“, just visit the site for yourself and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
This marks the 3 time (out of three lists) that I have included Build Blog … it’s just one of those sites that is so good, it warrants inclusion on this years list as well. Rather than reinvent my description to adequately convey my admiration for this website, this is what I wrote for my last review:
The Build LLC blog 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.
The King of aggregated and curated design, Dexigner belongs on any list of websites for the design-minded. You can add the word “Design” to another word, and you’ll find that there is a section dedicated to that field of work. Packing Design? Check. Sustainable Design? Check. Landscape Design? Industrial Design? Interaction Design? Check, check, and check. If this site is not currently on your rotation, time to make room.
Another website that demands inclusion on a list like this because 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.
So there you have it – the 2015 list of Best Architectural Websites, or websites that architects should be reading … something along those lines.
I think this is a pretty good list and while there are possibly several on this list that you’ve heard of, I’m pretty sure I’ve included a few that you’ve never visited before. 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 it in the comment section below … who knows, maybe it’ll make it on to the next top list of architectural websites. I will ask that you don’t just submit your own website (that’s rather jejune, don’t you think?) unless it really is amazing – but please, please, make sure that whatever links you submit meet the selection criteria I mentioned at the very top of this article.
Lastly, My site automatically holds comments with links in them for moderation so if your submission doesn’t show up, give me some time to check it out. If after a day or two it still hasn’t show up … well, do I really need to spell it out?