Recently, architecture critic Alexandra Lange wrote a piece for Dezeen skewering the social media practices of famous architects. Her opening target: Bjarke Ingels. "His Instagram has a lot to do with the architecture of self-promotion, but little to do with actual building," she opined. "The same goes for many architects' Twitter feeds: lecture, lecture, award, positive review, lecture."
Her piece got us thinking: What architects do get social media? Which ones have must-follow Instagram accounts, ones that not only promote their own work but show an engagement with the wider architecture and design community—and with culture, politics, cities, and the world at large? Do these mysterious media-savvy creatures even exist?
A representative photo from Bjarke Ingels' Instagram account.
The thing is, if you want to find good architecture on Instagram, you can't go to the big names. Indeed, the best Instagramming architects aren't the Bjarkes of the world, but rather the young, anonymous designers, programmers, and builders working at firms that aren't their own, who labor for hours over the placement of a screw in a plan on BIM, who spend their days researching building materials.
Which makes sense. For one, these architects' anonymity gives them the freedom to indulge and share their passions—design or otherwise—on their Instagram account, as opposed to obsessing over how it reflects their "brand." But also, they're young!
A screenshot from architect Vivien Wei Wei Liu's excellent Instagram account, which depicts cityscapes with a fresh awe and wonder.
Let's face it: Architecture, as a profession, skews older; even our wunderkinds (like Bjarke or Julien de Smedt) are in their 40s. The vast majority who own or head a firm didn't grow up with Facebook, cell phones, or even the Internet. If that's the reason for the dearth of prominent architects and firms who use social media well, then that's actually heartening. Because it means when designers now in their 20s and 30s venture out to form their own practices, they'll create ones with inspiring, thoughtful, and killer Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts, bringing the joys, challenges, and importance of the built environment to the larger world.
So, without further ado, here is Architizer's list of 10 architects you need to follow on Instagram now. (Did we forget anyone? Tell us in the comments section below!)
Plaza Residences by Migdal Arquitectos | Ciudad de Mexico, by @mauriciotufino
Carabanchel 24 by Rafael Canizares Torquemada, Madrid, by @mauriciotufino
Mauricio Tufiño, a Madrid-based architect and "amateur photographer," travels a lot (luckily for his followers)—and his taste in similarly omnivorous. Sleek skyscrapers? Check. Colorful facades? Check. Modernist exercises in restraint? You bet. All photographed at the swoopiest, the most angular, or the just plain-most-interesting angles.
Photo by @adhocism
#lavilla #guadalupe, by @adhocism
Geekitecture at its finest: @adhocism, by Mexico-based architect Brian Slocum, focuses on ad-hoc construction. His abstract, close-up snaps focus on grids, unusual patterns, textures, and striking color combos, stripping down architecture to its nitty-grittiest components and forcing you to look at the most familiar buildings or materials in a totally new way.
Amen. #hotel_maze. #vanishingpoint, by @the_architext
Line would meet corner. #uptheladder #at_its_core, by @the_architext
It's hard not to swoon—and feel a little jealous—when perusing this Athens- and Paris-based architect's Instagram account. Deserted old buildings on untouched beaches veer a little toward the ruin porny, but they have a quiet dignity (and are soooo pretttty). His artily captured architectural mazes, spiraling ladders, and intricate construction details are stunning. (You can find his street photography here.)
Torre de Rectoría by Mario Pani, by @darkitectura
Luis Barragan structure in Mexico City, by @darkitectura
Darkitectura is the rare firm that gets Instagram right. Under the moniker @darkitecto, this young Mexico City-based practice shares, of course, plenty of photos of its projects (including some behind-the-scenes snaps), but it also chronicles the interesting buildings, installations, and cultural happenings shaping the Mexico scene.
Enrique Browne and clouds, by @vitovillabilbao
Landscape by @vitovillabilbao
Based in Santiago, Chile, architect Víctor Villalobos Bilbao's account includes vibrant landscapes and vintage-tinged black-and-white snaps.
IFC Mall in Hong Kong, by @vdubl
Hong Kong facade, by @vdubl
Kwun Tong, by @vdubl
Vivien Wei Wei Liu (who, full disclosure, I recently met on a trip to China and Hong Kong) works wonders with her cellphone camera. Her worm's-eye-view shots of soaring skyscrapers, dramatic cityscapes, and swirling staircase snapshots have the sense of discovering and falling in love with a city for the first time—and most acutely in her native Hong Kong.
And some other architecture-related Instagram accounts we love ...
Photographer @alastairwiper, whose stuff we have written about before.
Critic Alexandra Lange, at @langealexandra, who practices what she preaches. And...
Superstar photog Iwan Baan (@iwanbaan), but you knew that already.