ToA – The Proposal


Proposal for “Action Personnel” at ENSAL, Tutor – Herve Lequay:

On my Journeys through the world i was always looking for interesting architecture aside of “Starchitecture”. But the problem has always been that the resources were either:

.) pretty rare,

.) spread through the whole www (World Wide Web),

.) only available in the countrys language,

.) etc.

Also a problem was, that it was pretty hard for someone only two days in a city to find free people, that would show you around, discuss with you, etc. Tourism guides were not an option. There exist platforms for this reason already, that try to fill these gaps, but none of them are reserved to architecture, at least i don’t know them.

For this reason, since one year, i design a web-platform that should fill these existing gaps and connect people interested in architecture.  Since i started first with the Construction, the Design and the IT-Context and later with the question “What is really needed?” i came to a point, where i am stuck. I understood that i have gone the wrong way.

For that Matter of Fact, i came to the conclusion, that in order for the platform to be innovative in providing connected context, resources, discussions, etc. for architecture, analysing the already existing ways of communication and “Happenings” of Architecture in the WWW is an important field of research. How can you bring students of architecture, architects and the public interested in architecture together over the WWW and also in real life? Architecture is/should be in my eyes participative.

Le Corbusier, Gropius, Niemeyer and many others knew and visited each other all over the world, worked together and fought against each other. This was in the Beginning of the 20th century, without WWW, without email and without digital cameras. So why is this not possible today? Or is it already being done? This will be a point of research.

The Phases of my work will be the following:


  • Research, if anybody before ever thought of this kind of matter, and if yes:
    • What have been the goals?
    • What problems did they engage?
    • How did they solve them?


  • Build a database with existing Platforms:
    • What Platforms exist there in the WWW
    • How are they structured, what do they provide?
    • How adaptable and connectable are they?
    • Which of them are Open Source?
    • How many provide Mobile Access? (Apps, Mobile Versions, etc.)
    • Which kind of Architecture do they show?
    • How do they sort the Architecture?


  • Resumee

(These points can extend as the research is in progress)

I want to finish my analysis at the end of the winter semester 2011/12 to be able to work on the specific matter of my platform in the summer semester 2011/12.


Benjamin Schmid



Additional Information:

  • Current plan for the platform, in beta-mode called “Tales of Architecture (TOA)”


  •   Phase 1

Build a forum with a geographic hierarchy (France->Rhone-Alpes->Lyon), where people can gather and talk about architecture in their city, region, country, find resources, etc.


  • Markus has made a picture of a building in Lyon, but doesn’t know what it is, who made it, etc. He asks to the TOA-Forum Lyon. He will get an answer from an architecture-interested person and now this thread (forum-topic) can advance into a gathering of information and later be compiled to a guide for this building. This guide may be uploaded to TOA or any other cooperating website for others to be found easily.


  • Luc is from France and goes on a journey to Vienna. He doesn’t know any architecture student there and speaks no German. He will ask in the group of Vienna, if somebody maybe wants to meet him for beer and show him around in an architectural way. On the way he maybe will have highly interesting discussions about architecture and the status in Austria with his guide.




  • Phase 2 – Ressources

The Question here is, if it is really needed to make the sharing of documents on TOA, or if it is better to use existing platforms and work together.

What is very important up till now is for the resource to have:

  • Pictures of the Building, inside and outside, details, etc.
  • Information about the time built, about the architect, etc.
  • Information about existing problems with this building, failures, etc.
  • Commentary-functions to let people share information, critics and questions
  • An easy way to export and print this information (Reference:
  • Address, directions and maybe a plan to this building (Reference:
  • Ground Plans, Sections and other relevant materials (Reference:
  • An highly intuitive and “easy to access” way how this information is organized
  • etc.



  • Examples of existing platforms:

This platform is basically a facebook for architects, where they can present themselves, be criticized and discuss. What was missing at the point of visit was groups and forums for

Very good Website for newly built architecture, but not very searchable and useable as resource for specific research.

Good ressource and so far one of the best i found, for a website in english

A very good organized website, but momentarily not many resources about modern architecture. Important feature: The selection of entries to be printed as an PDF with a built in Google map and an automatically generated route for visits.