For the past several years, as the Architectural League searched for a new home in neighborhoods around the city, we knew that a new space would offer us exciting opportunities for rethinking what we do and how we do it. We also knew that spirit of opportunity and reinvention needed to extend to our website, so we are very happy today to launch the newest version of www.archleague.org. The League launched its first website a decade ago this fall, followed by a revised site a couple of years later. Since then, with various programming patches and software band-aids, we managed to extend the life of the League’s increasingly obsolete site far beyond its usable expiration date. The introduction of our digital programming initiative in spring 2006–most notably our ever-expanding inventory of audio and video podcasts–pushed our old site beyond capacity. It was a major priority during our space search that the move to our new home coincide with–and be supported by–the new web identity we launch today.
Working with Stephen Baker and James Reeves, the masterful designers and programmers at Red Antenna (whose prior work for the League includes Urban Omnibus), the League was able to take advantage of recent advances in web technology to build a site with remarkably inexpensive off-the-shelf components that will allow us to deliver more content in a more streamlined environment. Among the features we are most excited about are a calendar on the home page that will keep you updated on the next five events at the League (and another function that will automatically add the event details for any lecture or program to your own desktop or mobile calendar); “Related League Programming” and “Further Reading” links that will direct you to additional information that we think might be of interest on our site or elsewhere for any given event or program; and a number of new ways to navigate the site, including the “Most Recently Added” and “Most Popular” links on the home page, a full set of tags, and a new (for us) search function that will help you find posts on people and topics across sections. The new site also better integrates audio and video for the League’s podcasts, of which there are more than one hundred fifty currently available, ranging from the New York Designs series from this past June to Charles Jencks’ lectures on postmodernism from the early 1980s. It also includes a new blog that will allow the League staff and invited bloggers to explore League programs and topics of interest in a more probing, more informal, more idiosyncratic way than we have been able to in the past. The new www.archleague.org is specifically intended to extend the League’s mission of advancing the art of architecture fully and completely into an online environment, so that the possibilities for engaging League content now span the lecture hall, the gallery, the book, and the website.
Special note must be made of the speed with which the new site was designed and populated with content. The first design meeting with Red Antenna took place this past July and seemingly within weeks we were hard at work building the new site. When the basic shell was delivered in late August, the League’s digital staff jumped in (with particularly heroic efforts by Varick Shute and Reid Bingham) and began the monumental (and monumentally tedious) task of transferring the enormous amount of existing content over to the new site. The site we upload today still has only a fraction of the content that will eventually be available, so please keep coming back for more…or better yet, subscribe to our new RSS feed and you’ll automatically be notified when we’ve uploaded new material.
I hope you will like the new site as much as we do. It’s very much an ongoing work in progress, so please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or suggestions that might help us as we move forward.
Gregory Wessner, Digital Programs and Exhibitions Director