The best of the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud 2015
For the last seven years, I have published a daily image on Tumblr under the banner of the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud. This started out as a collection of images that I 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 2015
During 2015, the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud posted 365 images in monthly themes as follows – with their popularity shown in brackets:
January – Streetscapes of the DDR (11th)
February – Installations and Landscapes (3rd)
March – Scottish Modernism (9th)
April – Finnish Modernism (10th)
May – Streamlined (2nd)
June – Expressionism, Organic and Framed Architecture (1st)
July – R M Schindler (7th)
August – World Fairs (4th)
September – Industry in Europe (12th)
October – Jean Prouvé (6th)
November – Landscapes of Memory (8th)
December – Tadao Ando (5th)
The most popular theme of the year was June’s range of Expressionism, Organic and Framed Architecture largely featuring American commercial architecture from the 1960s and 70s which seems to have an enduring popularity on Tumblr. This was followed by Streamlined, a collection of buildings, cars, ships and products from Europe and North America circa 1920-1960. Third place went to Installations and Landscapes followed by World Fairs which was a tour of buildings designed for EXPOs and similar events dating back to 1900.
The most mentioned posts on Tumblr were Heatherwick Studio’s United Kingdom Pavilion, EXPO Shanghai, 2010 and second position going to the interior view of the Armoured Surge Chamber, Lavey Hydroelectric Power Station, Valais, Switzerland, 1930 followed by Tadao Ando’s Water Temple at Awaji Island, Hyogo, Japan, 1991 in third place.
Although the Cosmic Inspiro-Cloud always had a Twitter feed and a Facebook page for years, since December 2014 all images are now 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. The metrics for Twitter over a year tell a slightly different story from the Tumblr statistics. Streamlined came out top with Scottish Modernism in second place and Jean Prouvé in third, perhaps reflecting a more critical, sophisticated and perhaps older audience. the most retweeted post the Malaya Zemlya Memorial at Novorossiysk, Russia, 1982 followed in second place by Wheeler and Sproson’s residential development at Howard Street, Dysart, Scotland from 1970 then Wai Fung and Alex Tsu’si Perimetered Aquaduct Arcology from 2012.
The low position of Industry in Europe on both Tumblr and Twitter was disappointing as there were many interesting images in that theme. I anticipate that the opening theme for 2016, Building for Education, may get a similar response. The Streets of the DDR theme came in last and that is perhaps not surprising given the down to earth nature of the images.