In the modern world we are constantly trying to keep up to date with all of the information we are told we should know, both old and new, and one way to help you get up to speed (or at least feel like you’re keeping pace) is to listen to podcasts.
Available anywhere, anytime (if you make sure to pre-download them) there are huge numbers of podcasts to choose from but they are a much more convenient way to learn when you’re walking to school (or work), going for a jog, taking the train or relaxing at home.
To help you decide which might be your best bet, here is a breakdown of the best podcasts for architects:
(1) Face To Face – Dezeen
A relatively new podcast that was released in March, this is an interview podcast that speaks to some of the biggest names in architecture and design about what really makes them tick. You’ll hear things such as John Pawson talking about how being a Buddhist monk helped his minimalism and Roksanda IlinÄiÄ‡ talk about how she thinks of her “clothes as shelter”.
Frequency: New Episode every Tuesday
(2) Scratching the Surface – Jarrett Fuller
Still going strong on episode 163, Scratching the Surface is a podcast about “Design, theory and creative practice”. This is an excellent podcast for a wider view of design, interviewing writers, academics and artists as well as architects. With an emphasis on fields relating to education, if you are at an early stage in your architectural career, this podcast could help give you some insights into what it takes and what will be expected of you as a professional.
Frequency: New Episodes every other Wednesday
(3) Scaffold – Matthew Blunderfield
For a real in-depth look at design, the main aim of Scaffold is to uncover what designers feel is often missed with their designs and what should be given more weight. These long-form interviews are Matthew’s way of diving deeper in a rare way that many people don’t seem to do in today’s world of scrolling and click bait. Here, you’ll get into the nitty-gritty aspects of the complexity in contemporary design.
(4) 99% Invisible – Roman Mars
This is more of an exploratory look to make you think about the architecture that surrounds our everyday lives. With over 400 million downloads there are obviously a lot of people that agree with the way the 99% team thinks about architecture and the breadth of their topics ensures there will be subjects of great interests for anyone.
(5) The Business of Architecture – Enoch Bartlett Sears
For those looking at architecture as a new career or potentially stepping up their earnings, The Business of Architecture is a brilliant podcast to get your ears around. As well as talking about design there are episodes such as “Women in Architecture” and “Lessons in Leadership and Legacy”. Relating to the podcast, the business that provides the episodes also has advice and information ranging from marketing and career advancement to your own development as an architect.
(6) Failed Architecture – Charlie Clemoes
Another relatively new podcast, Failed Architecture “reconnects architecture with the real world”. This has a more emotional feel where personal stories are discussed in detail and Charlie tries to make light of what architecture means in a contemporary society. Although this podcast isn’t a regular release, when an episode is released it is hard hitting and comes from the perspective that architecture continues to fail due to the state of our economic system. This would be a very interesting perspective to hear from as a young architect and could open your eyes to the realities of the industry that you were previously unaware of.
(7) Archispeak – Evan Troxel and Cormac Phalen
Releasing episodes since 2012, Archispeak aims to speak to professionals about their real life experiences in the world of design. Interested in knowing how professionals find their work life balance? Look (listen) no further. Want to know more about the best way to hunt for job? Covered. If you think you already know what architecture is about, this podcast makes you think again with unique insights from professionals on the ground working right now. Sometimes hard-hitting with talk about just how much effort being a designer takes, there are equally times where if you just want to nerd out on some classic architecture, they do that too.
(8) Architecture You Love – George Smart
As one of the top-rated architecture podcast, you would expect “Architecture You Love” to deliver some serious knowledge bombs to your ears. If you download this podcast you will not be disappointed. Covering deep topics around creation, the love of working as an artist as well as laser focusing on subject like Modernist architecture (surprise, surprise). Hosted by George Smart, this podcast has won 14 different awards since it’s launch in 2007 and is sure to be one you’ll likely add into your regular education as an architect.
(9) Time Sensitive – Spencer Bailey and Andrew Zuckerman
A holistic look at creativity overall, these hour-long episodes talk to people at the top of their respective fields including chefs, tech gurus and designers. Everyone interviewed has made a huge impact in their field with a focus on the growing concern for our planet. Big ideas from some big movers that will make you think.
(10) About Buildings and Cities – Luke Jones and George Gingell
If you’re new to architecture or think your knowledge might have some holes then About Buildings and Cities provides a historical look at architecture from ancient times right up to the present day. Even if you think you are only interested in certain aspects or periods of architecture, the more you learn about the history and what came before or after, the more you will appreciate how everything is connected and you’ll see that a good historical knowledge of architecture is a key aspect of being able to deliver modern designs. This podcast will also broaden your horizons with talks about art, film, fiction and ideas about the future.
From a more academic perspective, e-flux is full of conversations stimulated from essays published in their journal. Combine this with “some of the most engaged artists and thinkers working today” and your mind will be filled with some of the best and most out-there creative ideas you haven’t heard yet.
(12) Talking Practice – Grace La
Hosted by professor of architecture and former director of the Master of Architecture Programs at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Grace La leads in-depth interviews with a range of designers, planners and architects. These conversations show the behind-the-scenes of real work and experiences from those working in the trenches around the world.
(13) Monocle on Design – David Chipperfield
“Everything you need to know about the world of design”. This isn’t just about architecture (although there is a lot about buildings) they also talk about smaller everyday items, furniture and fashion. The emphasis here is on giving a platform to new voices in the design space from all over the world so you’ll likely hear from those working at the forefront of their fields or talking about futuristic ideas that are yet to be fulfilled.
(14) The Observatory – Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand
With their finger on the pulse, Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand use everyday items and current affairs to discuss design. Whether you think designs of school layouts and how they are effected by Covid is interesting or you would rather know about how using Zoom can influence your minimalist ideas then this is the podcast for you.
(15) Material Matters – Grant Gibson
The spin Grant Gibson uses for these 30 minute interviews is that each of his guests talks about their relationship to a specific material process. This can be from the world of artists, makers or designers but they all relate to creativity and form. As well as in-depth discussions about architecture and design, you’ll also be surprised by some of the material discussed, such as Julia Lohmann talking about kelp (Seaweed).
With all of these recommended podcasts there are elements relating not just to architecture and this is deliberate. As a budding architect, whatever your age, it takes time to develop your knowledge and understanding of the different elements that go into design. Drawing on inspiration and insights from related fields can often improve your designer’s eye.
Furthermore, you should be encouraged to tug on any strings of interest that you come across during your podcasting escapades. The new ideas and insights into fields that you are interested in, but that might not be completely relevant to architecture, often help to develop your own personal voice and could help you create something magical later into your career.