In the ten years since our site was launched, ArchDaily has grown into the world’s most visited architecture website; it is now a project with greater reach and scale than the site’s founders could ever have anticipated. Thanks to our readers, contributors and leadership, the initial iteration of the site (based in Chile and known as Plataforma Arquitectura) has evolved into a global architecture media network that includes the English site you’re reading right now as well as region and language-specific sister sites in Brazil, China, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.
The story of ArchDaily's growth is one of the many topics covered in a new 114-minute interview with ArchDaily’s co-founder David Basulto on this week’s episode of the Midnight Charette podcast. Hosted by David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, the podcast features weekly discussions on design issues of the day and interviews with figures in the architecture community. In their talk with Basulto, the conversation wanders from the story of our company and some behind-the-scenes trivia about how our site works (did you know our custom content management system is named after the biblical Tower of Babel’s designer?) to insights on how architects will shape our future cities and the ways that data collection and analysis could shape the designs of tomorrow.
The podcast episode is embedded above, and it is also available on Midnight Charette’s website, iTunes, Spotify, and other podcatcher apps. For more on the topics of conversation covered in the interview, and to help you navaigate to certain topics, here are some highlights of the podcast:
- 1:22: With ArchDaily opening a new office in New York City, Basulto explains how the move represents a homecoming for the company and how a project initially intended to help residents of modern cities better understand their environment has grown to become a massive digital library of architectural information.
- 12:00: Basulto runs through how the network of global ArchDaily sites work both together and as independent entities to share examples of great architecture within and between cultures.
- 16:30: The hosts and Basulto reflect on how ArchDaily influences styles and trends in the greater design world through the curation of content on the sites, as well as the challenges of evaluating contemporary architecture without the context that hindsight affords.
- 31:10: Basulto explains some of the day-to-day practical elements and philosophies behind ArchDaily’s editorial strategy, which is centered around delivering content that will be valuable to the world’s architects.
- 39:25: Host David Lee asks about how ArchDaily balances data analysis and first-hand human experience, both in editorial decision-making and as factors in considering how new technologies could shape the future of architectural design.
- 46:00: Basulto tells Marina Bourderonnet that their training as architects has been crucial to the way that ArchDaily’s founders set up and continue to run the site. He explains that they view the site as an architecture project in ways that other website editors might not, particularly in the scale and ambitions of the company as well as the site’s relationship with the global profession of architecture.
- 51:45: Lee and Basulto discuss how the quantity of ArchDaily’s coverage creates opportunities for tracking patterns and trends within the field of architecture as they develop.
- 54:15: Basulto explains ArchDaily’s philosophy behind presenting new projects, posts and articles in a largely chronological format, and how the site uses awards and special recognition to emphasize particularly interesting projects without imposing artificial hierarchy or an algorithm-based curation program to control the content that a visitor encounters on the site.
- 1:10:00: The hosts and Basulto discuss how scalability has become a crucial concept both for online media outlets like ArchDaily and within the world of architecture in a larger sense. With urban centers forecasted to grow and multiply over the next few decades, the panel muses on the priorities that urban designers must focus on and parts of the world where grand-scale architecture is already developing in particularly interesting ways.
- 1:24:20: Lee seeks Basulto’s opinion on whether the “starchitect” trend has faded out of usefulness in the context of the current architecture landscape and the way branding has become important for every firm while simultaneously declining in absolute importance.
- 1:27:20: Bourderonnet and Basulto discuss ArchDaily’s internal statistics that show the demographics of the site’s readers in terms of location, role within the architecture community, and even their preferred devices and favorite time of day to read ArchDaily.
- 1:31:00: Basulto discusses how ArchDaily consciously aims to be useful to architecture students in schools around the world, and the panel muses on how digital architectural media in general and ArchDaily specifically have influenced the modern ways that students learn architecture.
- 1:38:30: Lee asks Basulto about the ways that ArchDaily functions as an online discussion forum and the reasoning behind the site’s decision to remove comment sections from built works posts after the rise of social media platforms as predominant venues for discussion.
- 1:43:00: Basulto shares his philosophy on ArchDaily’s responsibility to uphold journalistic ethics and maintain appropriate neutrality on socially sensitive issues, particularly given the site’s commitment to function as a resource for architects working in a variety of cultural and political situations around the world.