Juliana was kind enough to share with me a blog post she came across the other day entitled “Instagram and Architecture – A Case of the CN Tower.” For those of you who don’t know, Instagram is an app that let’s you share photos you take with the world. Much like Twitter and Facebook, it’s another form of social networking except it’s exclusively centered around photos and videos. The gentleman who authored the article, Sheraz Khan, decided to search Instagram for the hashtag (aka the pound key) “#cntower”. Doing this would pull up any and every photo that used this identifier. He then posed some interesting questions: “What parts of the monument are the most interesting? What do these buildings actually look like?” Essentially, he wondered how architects and urban planners could use pictures that people take to get an idea of how people view buildings and monuments. Can this information be used? Furthermore, can it be helpful?
Here’s my take on it…
I, personally, never thought of using Instagram, and other iterations of social medium centered around photos, in this fashion. I think it is interesting to see HOW people view buildings but I don’t know of a way that architects and urban planners can use this effectively. I’m not seeing it yet. I don’t think these photos are telling architects something that they don’t already know. By nature, towers draw attention to themselves. This is nothing new. Architects have known this and they plan this. That’s why you 1) don’t see them everywhere and 2) when you do see them, they’re in strategic spots. That’s all a part of the site analysis portion of architectural programming that takes places before the pen even hits the paper. Same goes for domed buildings and other buildings that feature some unique physical characteristic. There are certain architectural elements that are intentionally designed and that’s based on where the building will be built. Architects also already know there the “important” sides are. They take into account which sides of the building faces a more public street or a private space and this factors into the design of that particular elevation. That’s also a part of site analysis. So, while I do think it’s interesting to see the many photos that people take of different spaces and buildings, I’m not certain that it’s telling architects and urban planners something they don’t already know.
What do you guys think? How should architects and urban planners use social media in their work? Can they???