The Viralisation of Architecture

Author:  F3 Arquitectura

We switch on the television and start zapping through the channels: a “best chef” competition, a series about doctors in a hospital, a programme following the real-life adventures of a police patrol, a documentary about recently discovered archaeological sites and environmental conservation… We turn to the new “second television”, YouTube: a fashion channel with this summer’s best outfits, an accessories channel for up-to-date news on the latest trends, a video games channel with the latest releases and the best players in the country, a music channel with the latest hits…

Cookery, medicine, biology, fashion, videogames, technology, etc. etc.  So what about architecture? Are we falling behind in what seems to be the viralisation of disciplines? And if so, has it got anything to do with society’s image of architecture and its professionals? Is architecture still on a pedestal from which we want, and need, to climb down?

We’re now experiencing a technological revolution. Space in homes has been increased thanks to multiple screens, and we’ve had to enlarge the filing systems in our heads to accommodate all the information those screens continuously bombard us with. In the midst of all this chaos, many disciplines have found Internet to be a real gold mine in terms of disseminating their knowledge and expertise. Architecture, however, seems to have fallen behind – despite the amazing work of Ted Mosby, the architect in “How I Met Your Mother”!

More than ever before, architecture  now needs to be a plural discipline that takes into account all the people involved in a project, generating debate and reaching out to customers and professionals alike. Until quite recently, architecture was comparable to knowledge from Mount Olympus, with the gods coming down from the heights to leave their mark on Earth. But that must stop. Society’s image of our profession may well be working against our efforts to popularise architecture and allow everyone to learn from it and enjoy it as much as we do.

Fortunately, that image is changing, and it’s well worth surfing the web from time to time. Check out the following, for example:

  • @Arcitecta now has more than 55,000 followers on Twitter.
  • @Lopedetoledo’s hashtag #JuevesDeArquitectura has over 500 tweets and nearly a million hits per week.
  • A tweet from @Arquitectamos showing the slogan “It’s all Le Corbusier’s fault” painted on a wall in Madrid has over 1,500 retweets and over 2,200 likes.

Architecture has its fun side. It can be amusing, appealing and tongue-in cheek. Just look on the social networks.  Although it still needs to make its mark in some media, like television and YouTube channels, architecture’s progress towards viralisation cannot be denied. So the next question is now open for debate. Is this pre-viralisation phase positive or negative? Does architecture need it, or should it be ignored as just a passing fad?

Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor

La Fundación Caja de Arquitectos se constituye como Fundación cultural privada el 23 de Mayo de 1990, con el objetivo de promover y fomentar fines de carácter cultural, social, asistencial, profesional y formativo en el campo de la arquitectura, la construcción, el diseño, el urbanismo y, en general, de todo aquello relacionado con la actividad de los arquitectos.

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