Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

The holidays keep me busier and amp up my stress level more than most any other time of the year. Not surprisingly, December has typically been the month during which I generate the fewest blog posts. This final one for 2011 is admittedly about stat-padding; my motivation in part is to exceed last year’s overall number of posts.  

My inspiration for this entry comes from Bob Borson and his blog Life of an Architect. Bob is a prolific, plain-spoken, and entertaining blogger. His accessible and self-deprecating writing style is totally absent of snobbish posturing and pretense. Not surprisingly, he has become immensely popular and a social media guru (at least among a significant subset of Web 2.0 navigators interested in architecture and design). Life of an Architect is easily among the best blogs written by an architect.

Bob recently listed his favorite posts for 2011 and the top ten Life of an Architect entries as tracked by Google Analytics.(1)  I decided to do something similar because I am: a) lazy; and b) intent on posting anything to attain my goal of topping 2010’s post count. In my case however I’m listing the five SW Oregon Architect pages most-visited through 2011 (though not necessarily written during the past year). Click each post title below to jump directly to the actual page:

House VI by Peter Eisenman

1.  Influences: Christopher Alexander & Peter Eisenman
Far and away, more eyeballs found my post about Christopher Alexander and Peter Eisenman than any other during 2011. I attribute this to blogging about both architects at once: their infamous 1982 debate at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design prompts those interested in that event to search for both. My post consequently rises to the top of web searches about the two architects. It’s amazing to think that serious scholars seeking insight about Alexander and/or Eisenman may be reading my blog. 

Matthew Knight Arena (my photo)

2.  Matthew Knight Arena Sneak Peek
My account of the construction-period open house at the now-completed Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene is actually the most popular post overall since I started blogging back in 2008. The Oregonian newspaper linked my blog to an article it published about the arena at the same time. For several days thereafter, hundreds of visitors clicked the link on the Oregonian’s page and found their way to SW Oregon Architect. Visitors are still regularly finding that post as evidenced by its number two ranking for 2011.

John Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes (my photo)

3.  June AIA-SWO Chapter Meeting Recap
The June AIA-SWO chapter meeting featured another new University of Oregon building, the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes. I characterized the project as a “lightning rod in the escalating debate that has pitted athletics against academics on the University of Oregon campus.” That it is, but the design by ZGF is also the recipient of numerous awards including a National Honor Award for Interior Architecture from the American Institute of Architects and an AIA-SWO People’s Choice Award.

Benton County Historical Society & Museum (rendering by Allied Works Architecture)

4.  A Museum for Corvallis
Interest in the work by Brad Cloepfil and his firm Allied Works Architecture (AWA) is growing, particularly since the completion of several commissions for prominent museums across the country (including the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver and the Museum of Arts & Design in New York). This may be why my post about AWA’s unbuilt design for the very modest Benton County Historical Society &Museum in Corvallis garnered so many hits.

Lane Community College Downtown Campus (Robertson/Sherwood/Architects with the SRG Partnership and Pyatok Architects)

5.  Filling the Pit
This post about the conceptual design phase for the new Downtown Campus for LaneCommunity College is among the most satisfying that I have written. This is because I am a member of the project team and proud of the design and the promise it bodes for a revitalized Eugene city core. I will continue to chronicle its progress as it moves through construction and occupancy.

Surprisingly, I did not actually write any of these most-visited posts during 2011. I’m not sure if this is a product of the cumulative effects of search engine optimization or a reflection of the quality of my posts of the past year; I like to think the former is the reason.(2)

I’m hopeful that 2012 will afford me greater opportunities to blog regularly. I wrote a post shortly after I started blogging about how enjoyable the pastime is for me. I truly believe writing SW Oregon Architect (as well as for My Green Palette’s Green Blog) helps me be a better architect. I expect the coming year to provide me with plenty of blogging fodder and look forward to writing about both local building news and architecture in general. 

Best wishes to all of you in the New Year!

(1)   According to Google, Google Analytics is “the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness.”

(2)   Earlier posts seem to appear more frequently in and higher on search results lists.

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