Mark Kushner is a pretty clever dude. The Facebook-generation architect realized there was no comprehensive place for potential clients to search and browse architects' portfolios. Enter Architizer.com, his new "Facebook for architects," as New York magazine just dubbed it.
Kushner's beautifully designed, if crammed, site also acts as a sort of networking porthole for the trade, while offering curated highlights on its homepage, and soon, portfolio contests.
Up until now, the stodgy American Institute of Architects' "architect finder," a no-fuss searchable phone book of U.S. architects by area, was the best tool a potential client could use. And that tool is limited to members of the professional group.
You won't find famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, for example, on AIA's lame tool, but information about him is on Architizer. His firm, OMA, features samples of its work and some of its employees. Recent AIA Gold Medal winner Peter Q. Bohlin, who designed Bill Gate's computerized mansion near Seattle, can be found on AIA's architect finder under his firm's name Bohlin, Cywinski, Jackson, with basic contact information and the types of work they do ("courthouses, high-rise office buildings, libraries..."). But at Architizer, you'll see details of related projects and employee bios along with the firm's contact info and a link to its site. The basics, and then some. And if Architizer catches on, more to come.
If you are looking for an architect, you could spend hours searching for just the right fit by exploring work samples and employee profiles -- or just have fun checking out their arty portraits. Like other social networking tools, you can follow a person or project. There's also a blog that highlights architectural happenings around the globe and -- a must-have in these economic times -- job listings in the field.