Recognized by Feedspot as the foremost among the top 125 architectural influencers worldwide, Amanda Ferber is the architect behind @architecture_hunter. She founded one of the very first architectural curation profiles on Instagram, which has consistently held the top position in its field on the platform. Today, boasting an audience of over 3 million people globally, Architecture Hunter has evolved into a content creation platform, specializing in videos. In 2018, Ferber graced the cover of the Italian magazine Beesness, earning the title of “the influencer of architects.” In 2019, at just 24 years old, she earned a coveted spot on the prestigious Forbes Under 30 list. During her academic journey, Amanda interned at studioMK27, led by the renowned Marcio Kogan, and later contributed to ArchDaily, the world’s largest architectural news platform. Amanda also serves on the jury for esteemed international architecture and design awards, including the Dezeen Awards, Architizer A+Awards, Architizer Vision Awards, and the Loop Design Awards. Additionally, she acts as an ambassador for Arkos and Morpholio, a North American network of applications for architects.
RTF: Hi Amanda, we are so glad to have you as a guest on Future Talks. Thanks for joining us. Tell us about your background and story of founding Architecture Hunter. How did you first become involved with content creation and what inspired you to become a content creator? What is your mission?
Amanda: When I entered the Architecture and Urbanism college in Brazil in 2013, I was extremely excited about this new world. The professors required a lot of research and case studies, and I began saving architectural references in a folder on my phone. At the end of the first semester, realizing how many incredible projects were in this personal curation, I thought, “the world needs to see this” – a phrase that is, in fact, our slogan to this day. So, I decided to create an Instagram profile to make this collection public. At the beginning, it was just a hobby, and at that time, I could never have imagined it would reach so many people and impact the architecture and design market so actively.
Since my first encounter with the market after starting my studies in this field, I also began to visualize how many deeper layers existed beyond the surface that is presented to us about architecture. I started to understand how much I still didn’t understand, how inexhaustible this world of knowledge is, and how there are amazing people in the world doing phenomenal work, often without the recognition they deserve. And that began to bother me.
From a very young age, I also had a great fascination for the potential of audiovisual media to engage viewers in a narrative and convey a message to a large audience.
Therefore, upon graduating from college, I decided that my next step would be to transform Architecture Hunter into a content platform, now focused on videos, as I believe this is the most comprehensive and, at the same time, the most accessible way to communicate architecture today. Since 2019, Architecture Hunter has evolved from a “one-woman show” into a team of people dedicated to this purpose – especially in 2020 with the entry of my two partners, Matheus Gait and Luiz Ferriani, both of whom have backgrounds in business and cinema, which has since made the path of AH faster and more certain.
And, of course, my personal mission intertwines with that of AH. I can definitely say that it is to communicate architecture – regardless of the medium. I often joke that if in the future the primary means of communication is through holograms, it is through that technology that we will be creating content.
RTF: You feature amazing projects on Architecture Hunter, which in your opinion makes for a feature-worthy project. How do you choose which content gets featured, do you follow certain criteria?
Amanda: This is always the most challenging question I have to answer. Paradoxically, it’s not a straightforward exercise for me to put into words what makes a project feature-worthy or not because, even though I’ve worked as a curator for over 10 years and have published nearly 6,000 projects on AH, for these very reasons, this action has become something extremely intrinsic. But undoubtedly, our curation approach continues to seek projects of various minimalist variations. Without excess, both in terms of materials and adornments, as well as volumetrically. More understated projects often find the perfect balance in their interaction with nature. Besides the architecture itself, it’s also clear that, to be published on AH, when not a video produced by ourselves, the images received are also a decisive factor! Photographs and/or renders with very sharp angles tend to distort the design considerably. The artistic direction of the image matters, as well as its composition and geometric balance.
RTF: Are you approached by both PR companies & architects for getting projects published? What challenges do you face while dealing with each of them?
Amanda: We’ve developed a tool on our website to streamline project submissions for industry professionals. I’d say that perhaps the most challenging aspect of this part of our work is delivering the word “no.” Considering that we feature only one project per day while receiving dozens of submissions daily, it’s evident that we end up declining more projects than accepting them—something typical for any architecture curation platform.
Yet, I must admit that rejecting submissions can leave us with a sense of “heartbreak.” We understand that professionals invest significant effort into their work and hope it reaches a broader audience. Most of the time, the “no” isn’t due to the project’s lack of interest; it’s primarily because of the intense competition for publication slots. I believe this process becomes more straightforward when dealing with PR companies. Their role involves understanding which project aligns best with which media outlet, resulting in more curated submissions.
RTF: What are your goals and aspirations for Architecture Hunter?
Amanda: Paradoxically, the world has never been so inundated with information, and yet, when conversing with many architects, we perceive their constant concerns regarding access to deeper knowledge. Quantity has overshadowed quality.
Education carries a significant responsibility. However, Architecture Hunter is committed to producing content that delves deeper and incorporates more technical aspects, with the aim of elevating the overall knowledge standard within the architecture and design market. We firmly believe that sometimes, the missing piece of the puzzle in one architect’s research, in a particular corner of the world, can be found in the work of another architect thousands of kilometers away. Technology empowers us to share our voices, and this project will be our primary focus starting in 2024. Our mission is to amplify the voices of those with important contributions to share.
RTF: What have the biggest learnings in your content creation journey been so far, given your experience with 7+ platforms?
Amanda: The same audience behaves differently across various platforms, and your personal experience with each shouldn’t be your only reference point. Understanding the tone and available features of each platform is crucial. You should adapt or create content accordingly, employing different strategies. Furthermore, just because you don’t use a specific tool on a platform doesn’t mean others don’t use it regularly. Therefore, it’s essential to study and stay informed about the content being created and how it’s being created.
RTF: What is your advice for young designers wanting to create content and become social media influencers?
Amanda: My advice couldn’t be anything other than this: Keep your authenticity in everything you do. I’ve noticed many online courses for social media or content creators that often impose various rules and “must-dos,” which, to be honest, I find counterproductive. If everyone follows the same templates, then no one will truly stand out because, after all, standing out means being different. I know it might sound like a cliché, but it’s undeniable that being yourself and staying true is essential.
Becoming a social media influencer is most rewarding when it’s not the primary goal but rather a consequence of the relevance you’ve naturally built in the market.
RTF: What are your top 3 design-related reading recommendations and why?
Amanda: I’d like to mention four, as it’s nearly impossible to determine which platform is more compelling between ArchDaily and Dezeen when it comes to architecture news. In the realm of magazines, Cereal Magazine is an absolute delight, not just for its content but also for its aesthetically pleasing graphic design.
But above all, “Saper vedere l’architettura,” the book by the Italian author Bruno Zevi, whose title, if I’m not mistaken, translates to “Architecture as Space” in English, stands out. For me, it has been the ultimate guide to understanding the essence of architecture. Whether you’re a newcomer to the field or an experienced professional, this book serves as both an introduction and a reminder of why our profession is so crucial.
RTF: How have you witnessed the media landscape transform in the past years and how has it impacted your work?
Amanda: I believe that not just for me, but for many, the pace of technological change is so rapid that subsequent impacts occur within a much shorter timeframe, turning our lives into a constant rollercoaster ride. Every semester seems to introduce new developments that require us to adapt to ever-evolving realities. Some of these changes work in our favor, while others do not. However, to be frank, this level of instability often has more negative than positive consequences. It frequently forces us to focus on concerns beyond the quality and relevance of our content alone.
For instance, take the (not so) recent changes in Instagram’s algorithms. These alterations, likely driven by the rise of TikTok, have shifted the platform’s emphasis away from photo content towards shallow, “quickly digestible” videos. We’ve felt the impact of this shift dramatically, and it has understandably affected one of our primary communication channels.
RTF: What new ideas are you currently working on?
Amanda: We’re diving back into an exciting past project of ours involving virtual reality. Back in 2019, we invited 10 architects from 10 different countries to design exclusive spaces for AH, and our partners at JFormento transformed these designs into captivating virtual reality experiences. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we had to temporarily shelve the project. Our original plan was to create a traveling physical exhibition with immersive VR experiences.
Now, we’re thrilled to announce that we’re picking up where we left off. Our vision is to embark on a global tour, starting with São Paulo in June 2024, where we’ll showcase these remarkable virtual spaces to the world.
RTF: What is your motivation and what keeps you going?
Amanda: I recall the early days of my career as a curator when I naively wondered if I would ever “run out of incredible projects to showcase.” However, today, my motivation stems from recognizing, as the years pass, just how boundless human creativity is, particularly among architects and designers who are often deeply passionate about their work. This realization makes everything especially inspiring.