Architectural media coverage looks at a fairly broad spectrum of topics, but it also often combines art-like critiques of design and style with more practical considerations of function and usability.
One main component of architectural media has always been architectural criticism, and that still takes place not just in verticals, but also in top-tier mainstream outlets such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe.
However, while architecture might be an art form, it's also a business. So reporters and editors for many architectural verticals are looking just as much at new technologies or at strategies.
“We're all about the people and the process,” says Ned Cramer, editor-in-chief of Architect magazine. “We rely heavily on PR to introduce us to new projects and trends, but we're not really looking for a pre-packaged story. Instead, we prefer raw information and examples we can then flesh out.”
The outlet that most consumers would recognize, Architectural Digest, is considered primarily a residential interior design magazine. As such, it is not a huge PR target for the architectural community in general, explains Bruce Ross, president of New York-based Ross & Associates.
“My clients deal with commercial projects,” he adds, “and the people who cover that are usually real- estate reporters and other people in the business section who cover construction.”
What's driving much of the interest in architecture in both the general and vertical press these days are sustainability and green design. Robert Ivy, VP and editorial director for McGraw-Hill Construction Media, as well as editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, notes, “It's now a McGraw-Hill policy mandate that every story we write address how architects look at sustainability. We've also launched a new magazine called Green Source that specifically addresses green design.”
Matthew Tinder, media relations specialist with the American Institute of Architects, says he's been able to develop architectural angles to a whole host of other industries. “There are plenty of vertical stories in the healthcare field with hospital designs, as well as education with new projects at universities,” he says.
Most major buildings take years, and Ross says, “There are angles and subplots than can be developed over time, so it isn't something where you must have that big send-off when the plans are announced and then wait for completion.”
Regardless of the story type, what these pieces need is great photography. “The quality of the information... is important,” Ivy notes, “but about 50% of what we present is visual. If something is professionally shot, it will stand a better chance of getting our attention.”
Visuals are paramount in architecture, so make sure that every pitch has great photography and design
Most major market papers still do some traditional architecture criticism, but you have far more opportunities pitching architecture as an extension of real estate, green, and overall development stories
With the exception of a few residential-themed titles, like Dwell magazine, architecture is primarily a commercial building story