Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

Six points of viral architecture

I absorb a great deal of design social media daily. Some of it is fascinating, some of it is depressing, much of it is repetitive.

In any given week, there will be one building (or even one rumour-of-building, like George Lucas’s Museum of Narrative Art, now headed for the Chicago lakefront) that appears and reappears, bouncing from Citylab to Dezeen, from Planetizen to FastCo.Design, Architizer to Curbed. As the story turns up, slightly tweaked, in your Twitter stream or Facebook feed, it will usually be accompanied by the same image. Of the five or six provided by the architects, one is the winner. But why?

After a couple of Twitter conversations on the topic, I began to try to identify the common qualities I saw in the repetitions, and why I found many of them so frustrating. There’s nothing inherently wrong with architects playing this game, making sure their rendering rises to the top of public consciousness, for example, when a competition is covered. But I wonder if the viral mentality begins to seep into design proper, simplifying and shining, so that each building moves closer to the easily digestible.