Marc Kushner: Bringing Architecture Into The Social Age [PSFK 2014]

How the Architizer website is popularizing good architecture for a wide audience.

With the PSFK CONFERENCE 2014 just around the corner, we spoke with the co-founder of Achitizer Marc Kushner on his work promoting great works of architecture in a centralized digital space. Read below his thoughts on how architecture is stuck in the 20th century and how he plans to help spread awareness of good design and its impact on our everyday lives. Come to the PSFK CONFERENCE 2014 and check out his full talk on April 11th.

What prompted you to start Architizer?

My architecture firm, HollwichKushner (HWKN) built our first big project for Mini Cooper a week before Lehman Brothers collapsed. What we thought was going to be the first of a string of big projects ended up being the last project for a while.

Without work we had the time to experiment we took a critical look at the problems facing architects. The number one problem was awareness. We thought that we could start a platform for every architect in the world to promote their work. After several iterations it became Architizer.

What impact has it had on the industry and what’s possible now that wasn’t previously?

In 4 years Architizer has grown into the largest database of architecture online, with over 80,000 projects from all over the world. From this massive collection Architizer has been able to popularize architecture to a broad audience. For example, we have 1.5 million Facebook fans – that’s a following that no one architect could have.

Our agenda is empowering architecture and to that end we launched the Architizer A+ Awards with the Wall Street Journal and the team behind the Webby Awards. Our goal is to remind everyone in the world that architecture surrounds them and truly impacts their lives.

How can the learnings that Architizer has brought to the world of architecture be applied to other industries?

The architecture industry is eons behind other professional industries. Technologically we are still in the fax era, and our value proposition is seldom understood by people outside of the field. This is born out by a stunning statistic I just learnt about architect’s starting salary after grad school: $44,000 vs $140,000 for Doctors and Lawyers. Architecture is the field that can learn from other industries and Architizer is busy soaking up the wild transformations of other online platforms that have revolutionized their industries.

In the near future, how are buildings going to function and evolve?

I think that we are going to see a return to localism. The ubiquitous response to the built environment trumpeted by modernism is fading from view, and social platforms like Instagram and Facebook make the public hungry for the uniqueness of places. Think about what has happened to the craft and food industries in the last few years: Local cheese, local eggs, local manufacturing, locally manufactured cheese and egg holders. We are going to see this same trend in architecture.

What’s one thing we can look forward to (without giving too much away) in your talk at PSFK CONFERENCE 2014?

Tons and tons of gorgeous pictures of buildings. And hopefully a laugh, because architecture is fun. I swear.

Thanks Marc!

Check out our conference page to see more of innovative industry leaders who will be speaking at the event.

We hope to see you at there! Click below to buy tickets.

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