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    ArchWeek's Web

    continued

    These realms and layers of information are presented through simple multimedia interfaces, richly cross-linked and interconnected, at the same time both highly browsable, as traditional magazines have been, and highly searchable, as traditional databases have been. The simplicity and richness of reader experience is backed by extensive custom software frameworks, some entirely home-grown, most built up from industry standard open software.

    The great majority of what we publish is provided free online. This is primarily because that's really our fundamental drive, to share knowledge and appreciation of beauty and quality in design and building simply as widely and deeply as possible. Secondarily, we can get away with it because free and open is a good business strategy on the Web in general.

    Architecture at Internet Speed

    ArchitectureWeek is the leading magazine of design and building online, providing news and features weekly on architecture and construction, digital media, and building culture to some 400,000 monthly visitors. We aim to set a new standard for accessible, frank, accurate, probing, integrated, and inclusive coverage of the built environment.

    ArchitectureWeek provides timely information and images with an independent perspective, for architects, builders, designers, planners, and other AEC industry professionals, for home makers, students, and teachers of design, and for everyone who appreciates good buildings and places, great design, quality craftsmanship, and the thoughts that make them real.

    We cover new buildings as they open worldwide, and a broad spectrum of design, technical, and cultural issues. ArchitectureWeek showcases articles from well known journalists and experts in every aspect of architectural design, practice, building technology, and digital media.

    Publication of ArchitectureWeek is funded largely by subscription contributions from our regular monthly readers, together with display and email newsletter advertising, and sponsorships. Joining the email list for our weekly "ArchitectureWeek Notes" email newsletter is free. Subscription contributions are warmly appreciated, and special benefits are available for contributing subscribers, including full access to more than 10,000 high-resolution images in our complete online archives.

    Distribution of ArchitectureWeek electronically-only on the Web is conservatively estimated to save about 48 tons of paper monthly, equivalent to about 50 large trees every week or some 2500 trees saved per year, compared to reaching a similar readership on paper. The trees that are left standing somewhere by reading ArchWeek online will continue to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere every day.

    Reference Set

    Before ArchitectureWeek, there was GreatBuildings and it continues to thrive today presenting a kind of consensus set of world architectural history, from Stonehenge to the Petronas Towers. In fact, GreatBuildings.com is a long-term outgrowth and evolutionary development from The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM, a multimedia encyclopedia of architecture which for years was the best selling architecture CD-ROM at Amazon.com. Today, GreatBuildings online provides an encyclopedic depth for linked references in articles in ArchitectureWeek, every week.

    With more than ten years on the Web, GreatBuildings is our single busiest architecture web site understandably since it serves a broad general audience as well as the design professional. The GreatBuildings visitor can be anything from a New York style guru cross-checking a precedent detail, to an elementary school student looking for an Eiffel Tower image for a French class report.

    Anchored by the deep image resources of GreatBuildings, and expanded by thousands of contributed images from participating photographers around the world, our Artifice Images section provides quality architectural stock photography to leading publishers, authors, periodicals, and creative agencies worldwide. In return for their generous contributions, represented photographers receive royalties as their images are placed across the media.

    Design Communities

    DesignCommunity provides free forums for public communication on a host of topics related to world architecture, sustainable design, and 3D design in particular. Much like a fimaly of blogs, even more collective and freewheeling, the forums provide richly connected reader-to-reader and reader-to-editor interaction, at the same time integrated by links and searching with the other, more directly content-oriented ArchitectureWeek sites.

    DesignCommunity also serves as an architectural mini-portal, with news, key links, and several search functions, as well as a busy industry jobs board and classified ads. Our hope is that by collecting online discussion and service areas together in one place for our sites and others, in addition to valuable direct interactions we can encourage and support cross-connections between the different people using the various connected realms.

    Community-Created

    While the traditional established concept of a professional magazine tends to be seen as top-down, with key value descending hierarchically from editors on high through tight control, Archiplanet intentionally takes a wide open, freely participatory approach where valuable information is built up incrementally and evolutionarily by a broad diverse network of contributors, as a community-constructed collection for all the buildings, building users, and building creators on planet Earth.

    "Community-constructed" means we ArchitectureWeek and a diverse and expanding community of particpants are creating this site together, with more than a thousand registered editors and 115,350 pages as of 15 August, 2007. Archiplanet, to a first approximation, is like an architectural version of the famous Wikipedia. And in fact the Archiplanet uses the same easy open source MediaWiki software as Wikipedia itself.

    Archiplanet is the most fundamentally community-driven branch of the ArchitectureWeek family of public-access resources* for design and building. Any registered user can edit or create almost any page at Archiplanet, with helpful support from the Archiplanet staff. Comprehensive change-tracking and community reciprocality back up this radically open collective-creation approach. Through the combination of such open collaboration, together with focused care and feeding by ArchitectureWeek, Archiplanet is already one of the largest wikis going, not just in architecture, but in any discipline.


    We hope you will join in, and post and edit the facts, photos, and descriptive drawings at Archiplanet on your own firm's projects, on the firm itself (as part of the web's largest live architectal directory), and on any favorite buildings of all kinds, anywhere, from your own cottage to your nation's capitol. As well as architects and building, Archiplanet includes engineering firms, construction companies, building products and building products manufacturers, countries and cities, and more.

    Network Effects

    All these architecture web sites are published for communication and development of shared understanding, depending on the individual contributions of hundreds and millions of people around the world for their creation. Together we can learn, and love, and help evolve our environments toward the more beautiful, more sustainable, more humane, more natural world we believe is both possible, and necessary.

    Archiplanet, in one corner, is being created continuously through an open collaboration of all kinds of people, from around the world - from homeowners to architects, from bricklayers to professional editors to travelers and building managers. ArchitectureWeek, in another, is a traditional serious periodical where every word is vetted before publication. Layering these different modes of participation is a big part of what we're exploring these day. And we want your input, help, and feedback.

    At Artifice we believe that good media, like most good tools, are clear, simple, and powerful. Much as a timeless quality is found in great works of architecture, a timeless quality can also be found in tools, whether created by traditional blacksmithing or the latest networked publishing. Our hope is to serve you with this quality - to transcend mere technology - to help us together to share, understand, and encourage the best of our special places on this small planet.

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...

    Kevin Matthews is Editor in Chief of ArchitectureWeek.

     

    AW

    ArchWeek Image
    SUBSCRIPTION SAMPLE

    Archiplanet.org is a community-created architecture wiki that connects with ArchitectureWeek.
    Image: Artifice Images

    ArchWeek Image

    The Taj Mahal building page at GreatBuildings.com.
    Image: Artifice Images

    ArchWeek Image

    High-resolution interactive aerial photos, like this one of the Taj Mahal, are available for most Great Buildings.
    Image: Artifice Images; map and satellite imagery courtesy of GoogleMaps.

    ArchWeek Image

    The GreatBuildings.com Google Maps mashups show interactive maps of all the Great Buildings in a given city, state, or country.
    Image: Artifice Images

    ArchWeek Image

    Anyone can add a new building, firm or architect page at Archiplanet.org.
    Image: Artifice Images

    ArchWeek Image

    Building pages at Archiplanet show detailed facts about the building, together with images, text, maps and links to other sites.
    Image: Artifice Images

    ArchWeek Image

    Detailed information about a firm can be found at Archiplanet, cross-linked their building pages and also with the ArchitectureWeek Architects Directory.
    Image: Artifice Images

    ArchWeek Image

    Google Maps can be integrated into any Archiplanet page.
    Image: Artifice Images; map and satellite imagery courtesy of GoogleMaps.

     

    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

     
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