Peacocking about on the Web.
The new Hodder Associates site at www.hodderassociates.co.uk. set me thinking about the function of architectural web sites. This one is slick, has fast downloads and virtuously resizable text in white sans serif on shades of blue-grey. So that's a good start. Like all sites conceived as digital brochures, it has far too much text which includes an overly lavish and, one hopes, not tongue in cheek (since it starts off in the Cambrian era) encomium by Sunday Times scribe Hugh Pearman. This is merely a section of the overabundance of text which includes Hodder's own interminably long curriculum vitae. I mean, does it really help Hodder's cause when he tells us he has, among a very long list of other things, been doing sixth year assessments at Nottingham for the last three years. Elsewhere, the site is solipsistic to the degree that its lead news item is the launch of the very site you are looking at. It all makes you ask what the practice, and indeed what many architectural practices think they are doing when they invest quite a lot of money in setting up a web site. My gut feeling is that, when it is not the desire to do the digital brochure thing or keeping up uncertainly with the Joneses or serving as a client gateway to sections of the office intranet, simple vanity is too often the main motivation. I expect it gets conflated with marketing during practice deliberations about whether to set up a site or not. But the two are not the same. Not remotely.