The Insta Archive

We are now living in an age in which we consume an unprecedented amount of images though endless scrolls on social media. There is an enormous potential in having the ability to access an innumerable amount of images all of the time. Saving and organising these images has become easier and more convenient; just by clicking the “Pin” button or bookmarking an image, it gets added to a personalised archive or collection. At the same time the sheer amount of images and sometimes apparent randomness might cause us to get overwhelmed and miss out on the full potential.

As more and more architects flock to Instagram, curated accounts regarding architectural knowledge have become more and more specific, sometimes targeting peculiar niches (e.g. @safebalcony – “anything for a balustrade”). One could say these accounts function like modern day catalogues accumulating knowledge regarding certain topics. But a lot has changed since Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand published his first catalogues of typologies at the beginning of the 19th century.

Accounts like @triangularspaces and @supraorder are now focusing on specific types of floorpans and provide an ever continuing documentation on typologies. Because these archives are public, followers have the opportunity to share new content or interact directly with the accounts, making them ever-evolving and ever-growing entities. And while there is no apparent academic value -no theory- behind these accounts, they provide a wealth of knowledge that is easily accessible for all practices, free of charge. Students, professionals and amateurs alike can use, reference or remix the contents as they like.

In an era where architectural “styles” do no longer seem to exist, no manifesto’s are being written anymore and where guidebooks have become obsolete, social media and these online archives might just light the way and help us to push forward.