Great designs of architects’ website are something of a paradox. Many website designs that we’ve seen created by architects are either obnoxious uses of flash or crucially, so minimal and sparse it hurts – or nightmares to navigate. Perhaps its the fact that architects fancy themselves as aesthetic and artistic connoisseurs – and in this pursuit, the message more often takes secondary place to the visuals – the reverse of what works really well on the web.
We’ve also seen a few architecture firms who fancy themselves as web designers themselves, attempting the craft themselves, and often failing miserably.
So – here follows a collection of the best architects sites that we’ve found from around the web. Some are particularly impressive visual masterpieces, others have particularly interesting UI designs, and some are simply easy to use.
We’ve categorised this collection into sites with and without Flash, as the debate on appropriate use of Flash wagers on, architects sites in particular seem to be unable to avoid its allure. Let us know if you have any interesting architects websites in your bookmarks that you think would be worthy of a mention here.
Of particular interest here is the opening video sequence which illustrates random projects with the architecture portfolio. Clicking on them as they are being hand drawn (in the video), takes you to the project details. Refresh the home page to get an alternate project.
Consarc are a well respected architecture studio with office in Belfast and Dublin. Their flash site is worthy of a mention as it not only showcases their stunning portfolio and photography perfectly; it is also architected with anchor points in mind – allowing users to ‘deep link’ into the content. Project information is available when you want it, if you want it.
Rick Mather is a RIBA award winning architect, this year scooping not 1 but 4 different awards. Their flash site has a fluid ‘dock’ esq navigational structure, which guides users from one project to the next, and is actually quite intuitive.
Formerly CTM Architects and now rebranded as guy hollaway – this website showcases work in a very upfront way, utilising full screen imagery which can be flicked past, by clicking on the small image tucked behind the first. They’ve also created a mobile version of the site, which mobile devices can use to get key information on the group.
Lifschutz Davidson offers a regularly updated site, with full archive in place. The flash transitions are also particularly nice, whilst fading between projects giving a more dynamic feel to the site.
Chapman Taylor are one of the larger architecture practises, with offices located all over the world. The flash is unobtrusive to the message, and in this case gets a mention for that reason.
Schmidt Hammer Lassen
A grid layout make this Flash site easy to navigate, and the focus is on the projects. Large graphical backgrounds also add to the slick feel.
San Progetto is an Italian architecture firm, of particular note is the feeling of floating in space, with the projects superimposed upon the moving background. The menu system is also smooth in nature giving life to the project overall.
Apart from the smooth mouse wheel scroll, there isn’t much about this site that couldn’t have been implemented in a more accessible way using a combination of jQuery and valid HTML. Still, the design is noteworthy, clean and fits the brand well.
Norwegian Architecture studio, Snøhetta has approximately 120 designers working on projects in Europe, Asia and America. Their flash site offers browsers two main navigational means – the unique ‘tree-view’ or a project block view. Tree view is particularly buoyant, and offers a fun way to navigate through projects.
Hariri & Hariri
Jeremy Levine has gone for the all out 3-dimensional model of his projects approach. These are suspended on a floating plane, with imagery available for each sub section. It is, however impressive, likely to remain a static homage to just a few projects, with the work needed to update the site a bit more than the average.
Some times an HTML site can be enhanced with a more sparing use of flash, this collection of hybrid HTML and flash show this technique.
DW Squared’s home page has multiple transitions between projects before flowing into an HTML site with further information. Large project shots from an impressive portfolio help to give the site its dynamic feel.
Bortolotto showcase website photography in flash, with the remainder of the site using HTML, really nice use of colour, which gives the site a youthfulness.
Apart from a small touch of flash animation on the home page, this is a great example of a well designed, well laid out architects website.
Flash used sparingly on the homepage, and in the main navigation of this site from Barton Willmore Architects.
These sites are just HTML, and offer the most accessible experience for all.
Scott Tallon Walker
Scott Tallon Walker have a beautiful clean, functional layout that perfectly offsets the photograph in each of the projects in their comprehensive portfolio. Great use of whitespace to give the photos room to breathe.
Building Design Partnership
Aedas is a perfect example of a stunning site, that works without flash on a variety of browsers. A great reference project.
Apart from some of the Jpg’s being over the top (spotted one or two at 400K WTF?) – this site shows some thought into the background used in different sections, and changes according to what section you are in. A nice focus on where abouts you currently are within the site visually, adds to the experience.
Aukett Fitzroy Robinson
Reid Jubb Brown
There’s something very crisp about this design, and the photography has been processed to fit. Kudos for not going down the Flash route as well.