For 100 years or more, architects have relied on the massive catalog sitting on their desk to find the right products to use in their projects – this brand of glass, or that brand of toilet. That catalog had a monopoly on the market for a century, but with the birth of the internet, that catalog never made the transition over to digital.
But a site that launched back in 2009 as a platform for architects to publish their work, Architizer, is relaunching tomorrow to finally fill the void it left.
Architizer is a two-sided platform that lets architects upload their work in order to get more potential clients as well as professional feedback from their peers. Meanwhile, brands can pay a subscription to connect their own product pages to Architizer projects in which their products were used.
It looks a little like this:
Architects upload their work in any format they like, from a PDF to a picture of a napkin covered in scribbles. Architizer’s curatorial team then deciphers that project, beautifies it, and publishes the project on the firm’s own Architizer firm page.
Within the project, other architects can comment and view all the materials used in the building, from the fixtures to the window systems and more.
Then, brands who had products used in that building can connect with that project. So let’s say the building used Kohler toilets, for example. Within the project page, Kohler would be listed as the plumbing provider, and that would automatically be hyperlinked to the Kohler product page on Architizer.
Architizer is free to use for architects and firms, while brands pay a subscription fee of anywhere between $95/month and $595/month for Architizer to hyperlink every mention of that brand on the site.
Architizer launched back in 2009 as a self-publishing platform for architects who wanted a digital portfolio. Though the two sites were inherently different (one is an editorial curated blog and the other is a self-publishing platform), ArchDaily stuck out as the greatest competitor to Architizer at the time.
See, ArchDaily receives tips from architects who send in their work, and then features those projects in an editorial blog-style web site. Though Architizer’s content was all self-published by architects, Architizer had an editorial team that packaged and featured the top projects for browsing on the site.
At the time, most of the company’s revenue came from traditional advertising and running branded competitions amongst architects. This new form of native advertising, however, wherein brands pay to connect with users, will end up being the main source of revenue moving forward.
As it stands now, native advertising is huge with regards to any curated or editorialized content, especially when it involves user generated publishing. Everyone from blogs like BuzzFeed and Gawker to social networks like Facebook and Twitter are pushing branded content into a special place on the site, where it’s sure to receive eye balls.
Meanwhile, recommendation engines like WeeSpring are working hard to offer solid feedback on very niche verticals, like pre-delivery baby shopping.
However, combining user-generated content with a subscription-based paid service for brands to automatically promote themselves (within that user-generated content) is a relatively new business model.
Architizer grew from 200 projects published in 2009 to 55,000 projects published now, but founder Marc Kushner believed there was still a piece of the puzzle missing with regards to materials used in projects, and making information on those materials easily accessible to architects.
“Right now, architects know more about the sandwich they’re having for lunch then they do about the products they’re using in their projects,” said Kushner. “Right now they’re learning about these products from reviews on Amazon because there is no online destination to get credible information. We’re looking to change that.”
The site has been redesigned entirely from the ground up to make uploads faster as well as connect users to other architects and brands. As it stands now, the site sees 1.5 million monthly visitors with over 14,000 firms on the platform according to Kushner. The relaunch will include participation from 18 partnering brands including Sherwin Williams, Kohler, and Dupont.