How Has Social Media Changed The World Of Architectural Design?


One of the biggest changes seen within the global cultural landscape over the past couple of decades has unquestionably been the advent (and subsequent proliferation) of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. What started out simply as one college student’s goal to enable students to connect more easily, has morphed into an all-encompassing digital behemoth, one in which today’s world increasingly seems to revolve around. There are few areas that haven’t been affected in some way or another by the reaches of these mega-companies. The world of architectural design is no exception. With that in mind, the team here at Munday + Cramer, an architectural design firm based in Essex, wanted to explore what kind of impact these modern networking tools have had on the industry.

More Organic Feedback On How Spaces Are Used

Designing a space is one thing. It’s another thing entirely to accurately gauge both its performance and the way in which it’s being appropriated, post-occupancy. Something which has traditionally hamstrung professionals within architectural design, is how a building can be assessed, beyond construction, in anything even remotely approaching a way deemed ‘organic’. Surveys, questionnaires and other auditing tools are, by their very nature, manufactured – they’re set up.

In other words, no matter how well designed the survey, there’s always going to be an air of the artificial. Users, knowing that they’re in some way being assessed, questioned or probed almost always think differently to how they would when acting more spontaneously – with friends or in their day-to-day life, say. That’s where social media is proving to play such a pivotal role.

The Hashtag Solves That Problem

If, at the start of the millennium, you’d have said to anyone that a symbol constituting two pairs of intersecting lines would come to represent one of the most recognisable symbols, globally, you’d have probably garnered some funny looks. Yet the humble hashtag, known as much now for its use as a geotagging function across social media as anything else, has done exactly that.

Now, when new projects and spaces are designed, the architects can get a much more organic feel for how said space is being appropriated by its users, and do so without having to use a purpose-designed method of doing so. Designers can simply look up their building or space and see where it’s been tagged by users. This helps give a much more natural indication of how the space is being used.

In some camps, this might, of course, be thought of as a form of voyeurism or ‘snooping’. In reality, however, social media’s entire premise is predicated on that notion of seeing into other people’s lives; it’s simply using these platforms as they’ve been intended!

Enhancing Industry Accessibility And Improving Community

Those professions which have traditionally been seen as ‘high-brow’ and of elevated status, of which architecture unquestionably has been one, are also amongst those industries which have experienced most gatekeeping in the past. For a long time, the world of architectural design was solely a preserve of the more privileged; those able to afford the education and training, or those with the right connections.

These days, social media platforms offer up new ways in which those less privileged are able to access that world. What social media has done, then, is open the crack in the door just a little bit more, enabling the potential inspiration of a whole new swathe of future architects, designers and creatives.

Today, with only a few taps of the finger, an aspiring draftsman can get in touch with leading design firms; an idea that would previously have been inconceivable. Social media platforms have their flaws, of that there’s no doubt. Breaking down social, economic and educational barriers, however, is not one of them.

Social Media Can Help Businesses Reap Significant Profits

The hospitality industry has been greatly impacted upon by the rise in social media over the past twenty years. This has, in turn, trickled down into the design world, as well. Aestheticism has always been, if not the sole factor driving architectural design, certainly an integral part of it. And in this age of ‘Instagrammable’ content, holiday-makers, for instance, are more influenced by social media than ever before.

Hotel chains, restaurant franchises and all manner of other hospitality businesses have at this point grown savvy to the demand. That cognisance has translated into the ways in which they want their buildings to be designed. In short, how it will look on the ‘gram is a very real factor in decision-making processes. Whether you believe that’s a good thing or not, however, is another matter entirely.

Contact Us For Architectural Design Services

Whether you consider social media as helpful or harmful, there’s no denying it’s now a staple of modern life. And so long as that’s the case, architects will look So, if you’d like to find out more about the ever-changing world of architectural design, whether in Essex or otherwise, then get in touch! Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200 or by emailing us at info@mcessex.co.uk.