The spread of digital spaces and Instagram in the life of those focusing on architecture and design did not start with the coronavirus, but it’s a fact that the tendency (that has already been on the rise) has only grown as a result of the epidemic. Architect András Weiszkopf, the assistant lecturer of the Department of Residential Building Design of Budapest University of Technology and Economics created the Instagram profile @studioweiszkopf a couple of months earlier, where he showcases the works of his students – products, photographs, drawings and layouts. We asked András about the concept of the profile and the relationship between architecture and Instagram.
Where did the idea of creating an Instagram profile for sharing your students’ works come from?
A dominant part of international architectural public life is happening on Instagram – architects and architecture offices showcase their works here, architecture theorists and researchers use it to publish their collections and architecture students use it as a source of inspiration. On the profile @weisz, I also collect and share architecture in daily posts, through which I already managed to establish valuable professional and personal relationships. Collecting the works of the students I teach, and thus to connect students to the digital space and public life they were already following anyway seemed like a reasonable next step.
On top of that, through the @studioweiszkopf profile, the works of my students are available to a broader audience. Those interested can gain an insight into our work methods, the atmosphere of the studio, therefore the profile can also be viewed as some kind of archive of all this.
What are the criteria based on which you curate the site? Which works do you think are the most successful on Instagram?
What’s good about Instagram is that it’s full of channels of specialized content. There is a profile that focuses on triangle-shaped buildings, one that collects odd columns and one that showcases beautiful floorplans. The content shared on the @studioweiszkopf profile operates in several realms. On the one hand, the posts are about architecture, showcase students’ designs, and they also communicate aesthetics on the other hand, as the materials created by the architecture students can be interpreted as graphics, objects or photographs. Therefore, the site presents works the architectural content and aesthetics of which complement each other. In my opinion,
characteristic contents can be successful on Instagram and by and large anywhere on the Internet. It’s almost equal what that character is like, the only important thing is that it be legible and comprehensible through the screen.
The question arises whether a floorplan can be telling on its own in an Insta post, without knowing the concept and specific task.
A floorplan can be interpreted in different ways: there are the spaces it presents, the colors it uses and the drawing technique it was processed with. The drawing of an architect communicates both on a visual and a professional level, and so a lot of information is embedded into it: including the task and the concept. On Instagram, the consumer decodes the drawings of the architect, this way it can happen that something will be relevant for something utterly different than what we would have thought. For this reason, it is even more important that the pieces of the design uploaded to the web convey their messages clearly and coherently on their own. Luckily, this kind of attitude is not only useful for the students and on Instagram: a large part of our profession is also built on coherence.
What kind of role does social media have in the case of already practicing architects in your opinion? What’s your take as a teacher: is the use of these platforms (from taking photos to usage) properly integrated into the training of architecture students?
The architecture offices publish their designs and ideas or the topics they are currently interested in directly on social media, this way, the latest tendencies become public within a shorter period of time, they are easily searchable and discoverable. Practicing architects and students can join this flow of information too, on any of the sites. In the Instastories of @studioweiszkopf, the works of architects, photographers , architect drawings and the creations of other architecture institutes are also published. These are usually related to the tasks and lectures at the university, and basically this is why they are published. This is a kind of continuous communication that makes the hashtags and creators relevant for the special topic immediately in addition to the architectural content and aesthetic. This way, students have the chance to dive deeper into some topics and discover the thing they are genuinely interested in it. This way, their relationship with a topic can become personal and elemental, because in addition to reception, they can also handle the content newly learnt.
Reflecting on the current crisis situation: we’re just about to see now how useful digital media is in education. What changes do you expect in the education of architects due to the epidemic either in the short or the long run?
I teach design, so I can express my views mainly in this context. The digital media and the digital forms of communication are very effective means in the exchange of information; they allow us to only discuss the truly important issues during our personal conversations. In this situation, however, we lose the possibility of these personal meetings. Naturally there will be efforts to replace these connection points, but new methodologies will also be needed in addition to technical solutions.
“Physical isolation from the outer world will have a great impact on our creative thinking and the education of creative thinking.”
The highlighted image showcases the works of Gergő Vágány and Ádám Partali. Source: András Weiszkopf