The best of the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud 2016
For the last eight years, we have published a daily image on Tumblr under the banner of the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud. This started out as a collection of images that we wanted to keep for easy reference – a sort of Pinterest before its time – but I developed a curiosity about the popularity of certain images and the lack of appeal of others, measured through Tumblr’s notes system. I was also aware that many people from a planning background – including some that I work with – find many of these images rather challenging (grim, depressing, cheerless). Many of them lie well outside the boundaries of acceptability for many practitioners – or perhaps many can’t see how these images connect with practice. This is especially the case with images featuring the recurring themes of concrete, brutalism, modernism, Le Tiers Paysage or Terrain Vague.
Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud in 2016
During 2016, the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud posted 366 images in monthly themes as follows – with their popularity shown in brackets:
- January – The architecture of education (8th)
- February – Installations and land art (9th)
- March – Single storey houses (10th)
- April – Düsseldorf School of Photography (6th)
- May – Felix Candela (2nd)
- June – British architecture and landscape in postcards (12th)
- July – Louis I Kahn (1st)
- August – Conceptual Art (11th)
- September – Pierre Koenig (4th)
- October – Misha Black on travel (5th)
- November – Modernism in Latin America (3rd)
- December – Weekend houses and bungalows (7th)
The most popular theme for the year was July’s theme of the work of Louis I Kahn featuring a wide range of buildings from small private houses to large government buildings in Bangladesh. This was followed by the work of Felix Candela during May, featuring factories, chapels and university buildings across Mexico during the 1950s and 1960s. These were followed by the November theme of Modernism in South America and the September them of buildings by Pierre Koenig in third and fourth place respectively.
The June theme of British postcards from the 1950s and 1960s occupied the last place with a mere 1615 notes. As ever, the millisecond attention span of the Tumblr user is immediately impressed by striking architectural images than more reflective imagery although some research would suggest that Tumblr users are young and incredibly engaged. Tumblr’s emphasis on multimedia blog posts means users spend a fair amount of time creating and digesting what’s on the site.
I was rather disappointed with the low position of the Conceptual Art theme in August (11th) and the Single Storey Houses theme in March (10th). The big guns of architecture continue to rule the Tumblr internet.
If you want to look at the range of work published in 2016 on the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud perhaps the easiest starting point is the Archive page which sets out the publications by month in a masonry grid. The Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud also has a Twitter feed and a Facebook page, where images are published as native Twitter images rather than just a link to the Tumblr page – so if you are interested you might find it easier to follow the Twitter account.