15 Top Podcasts (for Architects & Designers)
In the modern world, we are continually trying to keep up to date with all of the information we are told we should know – both old and new. One way to help you get up to speed (or at least feel like you are keeping pace) is to listen to podcasts.
Available anywhere, anytime (if you make sure to pre-download them), there are vast numbers of podcasts to choose from. Still, they are a much more convenient way to learn when you are walking to school (or commuting to work), going for a jog, taking the train, or relaxing at home.
To help you decide which might be your best bet, here is a breakdown of the best podcasts for architects and designers alike:
#1 Face to Face – Dezeen
A relatively new podcast that was released in March 2020. It is an interview podcast that speaks to some of the biggest names in architecture and design about what really makes them tick.
You will hear things such as John Pawson talking about how being a Buddhist monk helped his minimalism and Roksanda Ilincic talk about how she thinks of her “clothes as a shelter.”
Frequency: New Episode every Tuesday
Link: Face to Face
#2 Scratching the Surface – Jarrett Fuller
Still going strong after more than 100 episodes, Scratching the Surface is a podcast about “Design, theory, and creative practice.”
It is an excellent podcast for a broader view of design, interviewing writers, academics, and artists as well as architects.
With an emphasis on education fields, if you are at an early stage in your architectural career, this podcast could give you insights into what it takes to succeed and what you can expect as a professional.
Frequency: New Episodes every other Wednesday
Link: Scratching the Surface
#3 Scaffold – Matthew Blunderfield
For a real in-depth look at design, the main aim of Scaffold is to uncover the things that designers often miss with their designs and what they should give more weight to.
These long-form interviews are Matthew’s way of diving deeper in a rare way that many people don’t seem to do in today’s world of scrolling and click-baiting.
Here, you will get into the nitty-gritty aspects of the complexity in contemporary design.
#4 99% Invisible – Roman Mars
This podcast is more of an exploratory look to make you think about the architecture surrounding our everyday lives.
With over 400 million downloads, obviously, many people agree with the way the 99% team thinks about architecture, and the breadth of their topics ensures there will be subjects of great interest for anyone.
Link: 99% Invisible
#5 The Business of Architecture – Enoch Bartlett Sears
For those looking at architecture as a new career or potentially stepping up their earnings, The Business of Architecture is a brilliant podcast to get your ears around.
Aside from design, there are episodes such as “Women in Architecture” and “Lessons in Leadership and Legacy.”
Relating to the podcast, the business that provides the episodes also has advice and information ranging from marketing and career advancement to your development as an architect.
Link: The Business of Architecture
#6 Failed Architecture – Charlie Clemoes
Another relatively new podcast, Failed Architecture “reconnects architecture with the real world.”
It has a more emotional feel where they discuss personal stories in detail, and Charlie tries to make light of what architecture means in contemporary society.
Although this podcast is not a regular release, when an episode is available, it is hard-hitting and comes from the perspective that architecture continues to fail due to the state of our economic system.
It is a fascinating perspective to hear from as a young architect and could open your eyes to the industry’s realities that you were previously unaware of.
Link: Failed Architecture
#7 Archispeak – Evan Troxel and Cormac Phalen
Releasing episodes since 2012, Archispeak aims to speak to professionals about their real-life experiences in the world of design.
Interested in knowing how professionals find their work-life balance? Look (listen) no further.
Want to know more about the best way to hunt for a job? Covered.
If you think you already know what architecture is about, this podcast makes you think again with unique insights from professionals on the ground working right now.
Sometimes hard-hitting with talk about just how much effort being a designer takes, there are equally times where if you want to nerd out on some classic architecture, they do that too.
#8 Architecture You Love – George Smart
As one of the top-rated architecture podcasts, you would expect “Architecture You Love” to deliver some serious knowledge bombs to your ears. If you download this podcast, you will not be disappointed.
It covers in-depth topics around creation, the love of working as an artist, and laser-focusing on subjects like Modernist architecture (surprise, surprise).
Hosted by George Smart, this podcast has won 14 different awards since its launch in 2007 and is sure to be one you will likely add to your regular education as an architect.
Link: US Modernist – Architecture You Love
#9 Time Sensitive – Spencer Bailey and Andrew Zuckerman
A holistic look at creativity overall, these hour-long episodes talk to people at the top of their respective fields, including chefs, tech gurus, and designers.
Everyone interviewed has made a significant impact in their field, focusing on our planet’s growing concerns.
There are big ideas from some big movers that will make you think.
Link: Time Sensitive
#10 About Buildings and Cities – Luke Jones and George Gingell
If you are new to architecture or think your knowledge might have some holes, then About Buildings and Cities provides a historical look at architecture from ancient times right up to the present day.
It matters not if you think you are only interested in certain aspects or periods of architecture. The more you learn about history and what follows and precedes it, the more you will appreciate how everything is connected.
You will see that excellent historical knowledge of architecture is a crucial aspect of delivering modern designs.
This podcast will also broaden your horizons with talks about art, film, fiction, and ideas about the future.
Link: About Buildings and Cities
From a more academic perspective, e-flux is full of conversations stimulated from essays published in their journal.
Combine this with “some of the most engaged artists and thinkers working today,” and you fill your mind with some of the best and most out-there creative ideas you have not heard yet.
#12 Talking Practice – Grace La
Hosted by a professor of architecture and former director of the Master of Architecture Programs at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Grace La leads in-depth interviews with a range of designers, planners, and architects.
These conversations show the behind-the-scenes of real work and experiences from those working in the trenches around the world.
Link: Talking Practice
#13 Monocle on Design – David Chipperfield
“Everything you need to know about the world of design.”
It is not just about architecture (although there is a lot about buildings). They also talk about smaller everyday items, furniture, and fashion.
As a platform for new voices in the design space, you get to hear from those at the forefront of their fields, discussing yet-to-be-fulfilled futuristic ideas.
Link: Monocle on Design
#14 The Observatory – Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand
With their finger on the pulse, Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand use everyday items and current affairs to discuss the design subject.
Whether you think designs of school layouts and how they are affected by the pandemic are interesting, or you would rather know about how using Zoom can influence your minimalist ideas, then this is the podcast for you.
Link: The Observatory
#15 Material Matters – Grant Gibson
The spin Grant Gibson uses for these 30-minute interviews is that each of his guests talks about their relationship to a specific material process. This can be from the world of artists, makers, or designers, but they all relate to creativity and form.
Apart from in-depth discussions about architecture and design, you will also be surprised by some of the material discussed, such as Julia Lohmann talking about kelp (Seaweed).
Link: Material Matters
With all of these recommended podcasts, there are elements relating not just to architecture, and this is deliberate.
As a budding architect, whatever your age, it takes time to develop your knowledge and understanding of the different elements that go into design. Drawing on inspiration and insights from related fields can often improve your designer’s eye.
Furthermore, it would help if you were encouraged to tug on any strings of interest that you come across during your podcasting escapades.
The new ideas and insights into the fields you are interested in but might not be entirely relevant to architecture often help develop your own personal voice and help you create something magical later into your career.
P/S – You may also be interested in getting news and updates from this exhaustive list of architecture and interior design websites.