Debika Ray examines the big-bucks world of the video blog, and finds out what architecture students really get up to …
Search terms: youtube + architecture
Last week’s announcement that Google had bought its fellow internet phenomenon YouTube for the small matter of $1.65bn (£880m) provoked a flurry of interest in the video-sharing website. With more than 34 million visitors each month and about 65,000 videos being uploaded daily, YouTube has become one of the fastest growing sites on the net, even challenging the ever-popular MySpace.
However, it is fair to say that if Google thought it was buying a site containing brilliant and corruscating analysis of the world of construction, its money could have been better spent …
Predictably, videos of buildings being demolished or falling over are particularly popular, a web phenomenon charted in these pages before. A fine example is the self-explanatory Building go boom – five seconds of a toppling office building followed by extensive footage of a lot of dust.
A more poignant demolition occurs on Clumsy reporter, which records the misfortune of a would-be world record holder who has built an intricate model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa out of 12,000 small wooden blocks. His hopes are dashed when a careless reporter knocks over the masterpiece with his microphone wire during an interview.
Almost as tear-jerking is AFV outhouse, which shows the dramatic collapse of a site cabin that spews raw sewage out of every crevice and, eventually, the emergence of an unfortunate worker who was trapped inside at the time.
As prevalent as building collapses are clips of angry students driving over, blowing up or generally obliterating model buildings, the edgily titled Fuck you architecture, being a classic of the genre. Another video that neatly captures the mental well-being of your average architecture student is Architecture studio madness, in which a frenzied young man scribbles furiously on a drawing before throwing himself out of a nearby window.
Through the madness, one young woman on Architecture for the Masses resolutely maintains that this “mysterious” profession is misunderstood and explains to the world how she intends to improve quality of life for millions through her calling as an architect. Admirable sentiments, but I’d advise her friends and family to keep any upstairs windows locked at all times.
Bad constructions hits a lighter note, guaranteed to go down well with the Health and Safety Executive, showing a series of construction mishaps set to music, including more collapsing buildings, men falling off roofs as well as a particularly painfully incident involving a brick, gravity and a worker’s head.
Indeed, architecture seems to be something of a musical inspiration to many, including Australian pop band Architecture in Helkinki, a teenage rapping duo in their video Arkitekture and the enthusiastic Adam and James from Sheffield in Girders – their musical tribute to the construction industry. “Building sites are really cool,” they sing. And who could argue with that?