In today’s media driven age, we are bombarded with options for how to consume information. We can access websites on our computers, watch streaming videos on smart phones, and pull up books or magazines on our tablets with a simple touch of a button. For architects, there is an endless supply of expert knowledge and inspiration images available to us across the web. Finding the best way to organize and consume this content can be overwhelming — and it may be a deterrent to having the best information at your fingertips. This overview will outline some of the content types and how to get started on various platforms so you can get to the media you want faster.
Text-based content in the digital arena consists mainly of online journals, magazines, and blogs. Most print publications have a digital version of their material that can be accessed via their website or through a custom app. For example, Architect Magazine, an AIA publication, can be accessed via its website and its app for iPad. You can also subscribe to get content updates by email. Having the flexibility of choosing how and where to consume this content allows architects to access information they need on the go. Check out your favorite publications to see if they offer an online version for easy access wherever you may be.
Blog content offers unique perspectives from passionate individuals who are invested in their profession and want to share their experiences with others. A sub-culture of journalism that is quickly becoming mainstream, blogs present us with a range of information and entertainment content.
The architangent blog, by Brinn Miracle, AIA. The goal of architangent is to show the importance of good design by relating it to our everyday lives.
A common barrier to accessing blog content is keeping up with the vast amount of writers, topics, and new articles. That is where an RSS feed reader comes into play. An RSS feed is a special code that will alert a feed reader when new content is published, ensuring you are always on top of the latest articles. One great feed reader is Feedly, which allows you to organize your various blog feeds by category and view them in a beautifully crafted layout. Feedly can be accessed via computer, phone, or tablet, allowing instant access from any setting. Having all of your favorite content in one place is the key to keeping up with the latest content. Check out Feedly or other RSS feed readers to organize and explore new blog content easily.
Architecture is a visually based profession by nature, and video content is a natural way for architects to stay up to date on current events, new technology, and industry news. You may think that YouTube is just for watching silly cat videos, but there is much more available to architects than lunch break humor.
You can find videos on construction science, case studies, university lectures, and even TED talks relating to architecture. There are a ton of architects, builders, and other industry professionals who regularly post video content about their projects, best practices, and interesting events relating to architecture. Wondering which stylus is best for drawing on a tablet? Try searching for product review videos. Curious about how to use the latest version of SketchUp? Look up tutorial clips. Once you create an account, you can subscribe to the various creators' channels and get new content on the front page or via email alerts. Create an account today to start consuming great video content.
YouTube's endless amounts of architecture content can be managed by creating an account and subscribing to channels of interest.
While most architects are visually-oriented, there are times we need a good discussion to get our wheels turning. Podcasts are a great vehicle for new information in a lecture, interview, or discussion-based setting. These audio files can be downloaded to your computer or mobile devices (including phones or tablets) and can be accessed at your leisure offline. Many apps support streaming audio, which can be helpful when your device’s storage is limited. Similar to RSS feed readers, podcast apps will automatically update when your subscriptions have new content.
Looking for new content based on your tastes? Try an app such as Swell, which will suggest new podcast content to you based on your current subscriptions (similar to how Pandora works). Apple’s iTunes is designed with a podcast section that makes it easy for newcomers to find content and dive into the world of audio-based media. The AIA also offers a decent selection of podcasts, available for download through the AIAPodnet page.
A small sampling of iTunes' architecture podcast selection.
As you jump into the various media types, you’ll find that many bloggers offer content across multiple platforms in varying formats. We hope architects will use this overview as a launchpad for diving deeper into quality new content and perhaps consider creating their own.
Brinn Miracle is an Associate at PDR in Houston, and writes about architecture on her blog, www.architangent.com. With the support of her design-inclined husband, David, she recently completed the requirements for licensure and looks for ways to educate the world about the principles of good design.
About the "Media and Technology in Architecture" series: In the profession of architecture, new media and technologies in practice are moving at an ever increasing pace. At times, it is difficult to keep up with the latest application, piece of hardware, or recent technology to enhance your practice as an architect. The Texas Society of Architects' New Media and Technology Committee has assembled a series of posts to provide some insight into some of the emerging additions to the practice of architecture. Each post should provide you with the basic overview of a new technology and help you decide if you want more information on how to incorporate this into your practice. Questions or comments? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.