A few months ago, a team of young architects, web designers, and architectural curators launched the first dedicated professional and social networking site that provides an open online community for architects: Architizer. At its core, the site seeks to fill a void in the online sphere by providing a neutral space for everyone involved in the creation of a building—from lead and supporting architects to interns, engineers, landscape designers, and interior designers—to come together and be recognized for their work.
But Architizer also aims to "totally revolutionize the way architecture is shown and consumed online," says co-founder Marc Kushner, principal of New York City-based firm Hollwich Kushner (HWKN). Kushner notes that it's difficult for small firms to get their work noticed through traditional channels within the industry, such as magazines, and moreover, such channels tend to be highly curated and typically target the profession exclusively.
"We think [Architizer] definitely fills a void. There are portfolio sites out there, and great design blogs, and magazines. But what there isn't is a crowd-sourced application like this. Anyone can post their work and let it sink or swim based on how good it looks," Kushner says. Individuals can create personal profiles, firms can create business profiles, and anyone can post images and details of projects they've worked on. Every user can view any project and vote or comment on them, and even link specific projects to their personal Facebook pages; Architizer doesn't restrict access in any way.
Response from large and small firms, as well as individual practitioners, has been tremendous. Feb. 2, 2010 marked the three-month anniversary of Architizer's launch and to date the site has 5,184 members, and the number grows every day.
Not only does Architizer give firms both large and small a chance to show off their own and peruse each others' work, it also offers an easily navigable interface for non-practitioners who are interested in design or are actively seeking an architectural firm. According to Kushner, the site doesn't seek to replace other social or professional networking sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, but offers aspects of each network's functionality that are most useful to architects. The product is "a hybrid between Facebook, LinkedIn, and a pretty, glossy magazine or coffee-table book," Kushner adds.
In addition to the individual and firm profile pages and the project detail pages, the site aggregates industry job listings and allows users to post job listings. It also lists competition announcements, including Architizer's first "Competition Competition"—a second-chance contest for non-winners of other architecture competitions. The Architizer team also runs a blog on the site.
Architizer's team comprises architects Kushner and his co-founder and partner Matthias Hollwich; Benjamin Prosky, director of special events for the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture; Alexander Diehl, CEO of international creative agency KREATIVEKONZEPTION; and Ryan Quinlan, Architizer's information wrangler and press contact.