As an intern I tend to spend quite a bit of time in my cubicle plugging away in CAD. In school, I listened to music to help pass the time and monotony of working on a project, but in the office I find my pandora station either starts to repeat the same stuff constantly, or I spend too much time skipping around trying to get some fresh sounds. Consequently, I'm listening to a lot more spoken word in the form of podcasts. They give my brain some variety to focus on while the task at hand is rather boring, and it's easier to hear what is going on in the office over words rather than music.
I have a lot of the iTunes top ten in my playlist but here are few architecture and design specific ones that you might not have heard about:
AIA - Architecture Knowledge Review (Podnet): From the American Institute of Architects, I feel like I have to mention this one even though I'm not a very big fan of it. Truth be told, I haven't listened to it in a while and it looks like the AIA hasn't updated since November as well. Even then, if you're looking for quick (10-30 min) episodes there are quite a few back episodes to check out, including this one (A.R.E. Strategies) which also turns out to be the most popular. Plus the COA at the end of each episode serves as a perfect example for every practicing architect.
This is a great way for the AIA to send out information about their programs and what they are doing nationally, but I don't think they quite realize the potential the podcast has. The sound quality isn't the greatest and the interviews are actually quite amatuerish. Many of the episodes sound like they are recorded on site at conferences, or in a crowded office with an open floor plan, and the background noise can be quite distracting. Overall score: 2 out of 5
Inside the Phoenix with Warren Wade Anderson: Warren Wade Anderson explores a variety of topics dealing with architecture, art and design through interviews he conducts. It took me awhile to start to enjoy this particular podcast. The episodes were long, and the interviews were conducted in a way that took awhile to get used to. However, the people interviewed are unique and their stories are extremely interesting and after a few episodes I found myself coming back for more.
I first heard about the podcast right here while lurking on archinect and I'm glad I found it. While it does have a fairly New York and Pratt-centric focus, the people and interviews come from a wide variety of backgrounds and they practice in as just a wide of a variety of ways as well. Overall score: 4 out of 5
99% Invisible: If I could bet a couple of bucks on which podcast you're already listening to, this would be the one I put my money on. Its been featured on Radiolab and This American Life's Ira Glass raved about the show's producer and his wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in a recent commencement address at CUNY. That producer, Roman Mars, created 99% Invisible as an "exploration of the process and power of design and architecture." The show's name comes from Bruce Mau and Buckminster Fuller* ... how much more could you want?!
This is an excellent podcast. The episodes are quick, powerful, and stay with you. Mars makes design accessible and interesting to both the everyday, non-observer as well as the informed critic. If my local AIA chapter could find people like this to support, I'd gladly pay my dues and attend every meeting (looks like I need to move to San Francisco). Overall score: 5 out of 5
Archispeak: Still in its infancy, this podcast has me fairly excited, yet cautiously optimistic, about it's future. Put on by Evan Troxel, Neal Pann, and Cormac Phalen, the existing episodes loosely focus on the life and culture of what it is to be involved in the day-to-day practice of architecture. The episodes are a little long for the format, which feels more like a group of architects getting together for beers after work rather than a highly polished and edited narrative on a topic, but they do have a focus.
I say I'm optimistic for this podcast because it attempts to address many of the same things I want to address with this blog (also why I'm a harsh critic here). I'm cautious because it doesn't seem to be that focused. I think the show runs the risk of becoming an hour (or longer) of three friends ranting about the profession rather than a medium of discovery for aspiring architects or the public at large. If you like to read through every thread on the forums you'll probably love this one. If you're like me and only really read the threads that seem interesting and then shake your head when they inevitably get off topic, this may not be the podcast for you. Overall score: 3 out of 5
Honorable Mention - Whisper Cities: Sadly, there are only two episodes of this show created by Sam Greenspan. You'll hear that name come up in 99% Invisible episodes like this one and this one ... he's currently a producer for the show. My only hope is that someday Greenspan stumbles across this post and decides to resurrect his show.
There are many other podcasts out there worth adding to this list. Throw a link in the comments section below.
*Listen to it all, but 16:00+ is what you're looking for.
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