With changing trends, countless projects being completed, various new materials, and applications emerging, it can get overwhelming for architects to keep ahead of all things related to architecture. However, setting aside some time in your busy day juggling various projects to browse some of these sites may give you inspiration for your work. Here’s a handy guide of our favorite architecture resources, grouped according to categories. How many do you currently read or use?
For news related to architecture
One of the most popular online platforms for architects, ArchDaily covers a wide range of information and insightful articles. Topics range from award-winning architecture, interviews with architects, new exciting projects around the world, various competitions, and more. There is also a handy product catalog that you can browse and find new materials you can use in upcoming projects. Read this to get a daily digest on what’s happening in the industry.
The green movement in architecture has gained much momentum over the years and is set to stay (Link to Insight article on trends). Inhabitat specifically covers green architecture and climate adaptation strategies, increasingly essential considerations in landscape architecture.
The journal of the American Institute of Architects, Architect Magazine throws the spotlight on architects, focusing on the inspirations behind cutting-edge and innovative architectural designs. It is an excellent resource for finding out more about new tech and products through its manufacturer's directory, and for networking with others in practice.
For in-depth books and journals
JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, magazines, and primary sources that covers a myriad of genres. You could browse by subject, title or author. You will be able to find free-to-read books through its Open Access section that also features architecture textbooks if you would like to go back to the fundamentals.
One of the leading authorities in the world on green-certified architecture, architects, find LEED a useful resource when designing specifications for green materials to use. Under its Resources tab, you’d be able to find handbooks, credentialing and policy documents. LEED also regularly maintains a directory of suppliers that are certified under their program. Making it easier for architects to do research and source for suppliers when a usual supplier is unable to supply the products required for the design to take place. There is also a comprehensive blog that is updated regularly.
Free online architecture modeling tools
Created by Graphisoft, BIMx is a set of desktop and mobile devices that enable architects to create 3D and 2D documentation of Building Information Models created with ArchiCAD through a simplified interface. Widely used by architects all over the world, this award-winning software has become a staple in architectural practice. Follow this link for a free download of the tool. <Fact check: does Jonite give technical specifications compatible with this tool?>
This app is useful for designers who want to sketch freehand on their iPads that maintain a measurable drawing scale. There are two versions of this app- the Arrete Scale for professionals and Arrete Sketch, a free app for you to try out some of its functionalities.
Pad CAD is an easy-to-use CAD application designed for small drafting projects such as home additions, small remodeling projects, and site surveys. While it has limited functionality compared to AutoCAD, this app is available on both Apple and Android Operating Systems. Perfect for quick sketches on the go, when you are at the project site and can’t have access to your desktop. Once you complete, you can export your drawings into formats such as PDF or DXF, which will then be compatible with AutoCAD for additional work.
For Visual Inspiration
Harvard HOLLIS Images
Architects are mostly familiar with Harvard Visual Information Access (VIA) which has now retired. In its place, HOLLIS Images is one of the top choices for architects searching for design inspiration around the world. HOLLIS is home to content from archives, museums, libraries, and other collections throughout Harvard University. Access to the catalog is open to the general public, so you can browse this valuable online resource for free. You’d be able to filter it according to various subjects such as plans, exterior views, and more.
Although architects have embraced LinkedIn as their digital calling card, not everyone is using other social media platforms to enable their work. In comes Pinterest, which is quickly being adopted by savvy manufacturers to showcase their products due to Pinterest’s easy searchability and picture-heavy interface. You no longer wait till tradeshows or workshops to find new suppliers of innovative design but have information at your fingertips.
Previously known as Colossus, newly rebranded USModernist is the largest open digital archive of midcentury Modernist houses in the world. There are three sections, the USModernist Masters Gallery which focuses on more than 30 masters of 20th century Modernist residential design. USModernist Library, which boasts an archive of 2.6 million pages of nearly every major US 20th century architecture magazine and USModernist Radio, a podcast series on architecture. What’s even better is that the entire website is open access and free!
Archnet is a study on all things revolving around Islamic architecture design. You can browse these images within carefully curated collections, or navigate the website via the Timeline, a visual tool that gives an overview of the history of art, architecture, and urbanism in Muslim communities.
Architectural Association Photo Library
Home to a library of stunning architectural images, the Architectural Association School of Architecture Photo Library focuses primarily on European architecture. Browse its extensive collections for inspirations or the creation of mood boards during the early stages of the design process.
This reasonably new site aims to be the Wikipedia of Architecture. While it has comparatively fewer buildings featured compared to the other image libraries listed in this article, what sets it apart is the comprehensive write-up of each building. Not only does it showcase the location, when it was designed, the designer and whether it was remodeled, but it also consists of a section of each page dedicated to materials used.
For landscape architecture
GAP Gardens is home to 1 million garden and plant stock images. It’s very similar to Pinterest but geared towards landscape architecture. Landscape architects should keep this resource in mind when looking for inspiration in the design of gardens and outdoor spaces.
World Landscape Architect
World Landscape Architect is an online architectural magazine dedicated to landscape architects. Other than the usual Projects, landscape architecture news and awards, the site also hosts a section on job listings.
American Society of Landscape Architects
The definitive association for landscape architects in the USA, the American Society of Landscape Architects site features landscape architecture news, opportunities to get involved in the community, networking opportunities and updates about its highly popular and insightful conferences.
Land8 Landscape Architects Network
Land8 is yet another landscape architects network similar to ASLA. Its distinguishing factor is that it boasts of a robust online community centered on online forums, podcasts, webinars, groups, and members. This network is perhaps the best online community for landscape architects in terms of industry discussions and support, without leaving the comfort of your office chair.etw
There are many online resources out there for architects. There’s unfortunately not enough time to read them all but choose to bookmark a few and refer to them periodically. It would be time well spent to understand what others in the industry are doing and to share your learnings as well. We’ve compiled our favorites, but you might have others to share too. Tell us in the comments below!