I’m delighted to be joining the beat of my own drum to that of Archiboo. For me, the last few months – the first in this new venture of mine – have felt a little like stitching together my own instrument and then marching to my own, lone tune. I’ve talked a great deal to others, and sometimes to myself, about the pleasure of good words, about why the words on some websites pull you in and others don’t, and about why images can’t always do all the talking. But a common cause, fellow judges, the Archiboo stamp of approval – these are all good things to embrace when you’re a writer in a land of photographs and floor plans.
For Archiboo, this is the second year of running their web awards. There are 10 categories in all, which is a reminder of just how many balls a website is juggling at one time. A few are bound to get dropped now and again, and it’s entirely natural that, among architects, words are frequent casualties. Following in the wake of the visual and more immediately beautiful, words have to work that bit harder to make themselves heard.
But I’m setting great store by the fact that last year’s winner of the Best Written Content category – the one that I’m judging this year alongside Hugh Pearman and Vicky Richardson – was The Modern House. It’s a good place to have set the bar: a website which grabs you with its photographs and then – no second best here – lures you in further with its beautifully expressed ambition, its glimpses of other lives, its conversations around the pleasures of architecture. And what I like most of all on the Modern House website is their ‘This much we know…’ section. What a gem.
I’m sure that dotted about the architectural landscape there are other gems of inspiration, vision, humanity and empathy, and I’ll be on a mission to find them. Stumbling across good writing is always a joy, but my hope is that through the Archiboo Web Awards I won’t just be stumbling; I’ll find that more inspired writing – more instances of words taking the power of the image and running with it – had been patiently waiting for me all along.