By Karen Cliento
Last night, dozens packed into the Center for Architecture to join the conversation among some of the most influential in our field. Panelists included Endeavor Entrepreneurs and ArchDaily founders David Basulto and David Assael, who closed the Going Viral event with their tale of the creation and future expectations for their architecture websites. While ArchDaily receives millions of views per month, many may not know the story behind ArchDaily and the truly remarkable accomplishments this media empire has surpassed in a mere few years.
ArchDaily has grown to become the most widely read architecture website in the world, a feat largely accomplished by the founders’ clear goals in creating a large platform to expand opportunities available to all architects, and their understanding of the power social media has in influencing those in our profession.
During the 2000s, Basulto recognized a “circle of opportunity” that was forming for several architects who continually graced the glossy spreads of traditional architectural magazines. As a kind of critique of this exclusive network, and after noticing the talent of lesser known architects making great architecture, Basulto and Assael launched their first architecture website – Plataforma Arquitectura – as a way to expand the existing traditional network to provide opportunities to all architects.
And, it worked!
As Plataforma began to grow and show different architects’ work, soon, those architects were being contacted not only traditional publications, but also by clients and even other architects inquring about the projects. In essence, Basulto and Assael crafted a system that showed what could happen outside the traditional network, because now, architects, clients, readers, etc. could interact with one another and form a hub of opportunities.
From Plataforma, the Davids realized the magnitude of their influence when the website was ranked the fourth most widely read architecture website– a remarkable accomplishment as the site was all in Spanish and actually out ranked many major English websites. The success marked a turning point for our founders as the Davids now realized that to reach more of the world, the website would have to appeal to English speakers. And, so, ArchDaily was created.
In a time of so many architecture websites and publications, it is hard to stand out. But, what separates ArchDaily and gives us our identity is our mission to educate and inspire readers by showing the range of the profession. For the ArchDaily team, it is not just about bringing the most well known projects to you, but it is about sharing the local projects and introducing new firms to you, and projects with interesting clients, or programs, or constraints. And, as widely read as ArchDaily is (thanks to all of you!), the Davids focused on a huge mission the site must accomplish in the years ahead during their talk.
By 2050, 75% of the world’s population will live in cities – that’s about 6.6 billion people! But, the cities experiencing such growth will not be New York or London or Madrid, but rather cities in developing countries where the percentage of architects are low, and the number who will need housing and infrastructure are high. ArchDaily will need to function as the source of inspiration, knowledge and opportunity to reach architects in all these countries, and to show what can be done or what has been done in similar situations as a way to help people have better lives.