Run by Joanna Grant, a graduate student at Princeton, Cloudz Watching showcases some of the best student work, much of it from the Midwest Mafia of Architecture Schools.
With its emphasis on all things visual, Tumblr has emerged as one of the most engaging platforms for observing architecture, ranging from the historic to the surreal. The upload-based social network is a haven for image-hoarders everywhere, with each Tumblr carefully curated to indulge a very specific craving, be it endangered Brutalism or decadent interior design.
For architectural history fetishists, Tumblr has proven an unending boon. It hosts thousands of images with historical documentation, and takes the role that a library or archive might have 50 years ago. Other feed-based networks fulfill other needs of the architectural community, (forum, event calendar, yearbook, etc.), but Tumblr peddles in images.
That’s also one of its drawbacks. Tumblr’s format can reduce entire historical movements to a series of images, divorced from their political, social, and architectural contexts and ethos. The internet does this on its own to some extent, but the often purposely obscure format of Tumblr sometimes completely erases a photo’s traceability, so it exists as only a singular image.
Still, this quality does give Tumblr so much of its cultural potential. By networking images, and circulating them alongside a constant stream of non-architectural photography and drawings, it creates unimaginable combinations and lets people construct their own personal identities using architecture.