This week, The Signpost visited WikiProject Architecture. The project was created in April 2004 to explore architecture, buildings, and construction. Members and enthusiasts discuss common issues, develop standards, and create templates. The project is now home to more than 16,000 articles, including 67 featured articles, 67 featured lists, 3 A-class articles, and 183 good articles. We interviewed project members Binksternet, Warofdreams, and Elekhh.
Warofdreams started the WikiProject back in 2004 upon a suggestion from User:Isomorphic. This architecture graduate had already been contributing on a wide range of topics connected with this area architecture. Having just created the timeline of architecture, he hoped to encourage the identification of gaps and weak areas in en.WP's coverage. Project member Binksternet joined the WikiProject because of his interest in architectural preservation in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived. He is inspired by Spanish Revival and Art Deco architecture from the 1920s and 1930s, mid-century modern and Googie from the 1950s and 60s, and "bold and fanciful statements made in construction of a building".
For Elekhh, who started contributing to Wikipedia only a year ago with the aim of improving architecture and articles related to urban design, joining this WikiProject was natural. He is interested in 20th-century and contemporary architecture. Elekhh is also a member of WikiProject Urban studies and planning, which he says is unfortunately not very active.
Binksternet has contributed his share to building the project's repertoire of Featured and Good Articles. He greatly expanded the article about architect Timothy L. Pflueger, helped it to earn GA status, and hopes to bring it to FA some day. He was heavily involved in the articles 100 McAllister Street and Hotel Valley Ho, and advanced them to GA. Having reviewed articles for GA status including World Trade Center and Architecture of Denmark, and helped with FA reviews, he is eager for more. However, he encourages more new editors to get involved, and hopes to encourage anyone to jump in and learn what is required to get an article to GA status.
Many of the potential subjects covered by the project are iconic works of art, and deserve to be portrayed by high-quality images. Warofdreams says it is easy to take average-quality pictures of buildings, as they are easily accessible to all. However, he has some advice to offer for getting better results: "If you have the time, visiting a building at different times of the day or week can reveal how the appearance of the building changes with different lighting. It's also good to consider whether a Wikipedia article might benefit from close-ups of particular details, or shots illustrating the setting of the building, or showing it in use." Binksternet, a casual photographer, expressed frustration at not being able to "stalk" the perfect shot by always being ready at the right time of day or season.
Elekhh says some jurisdictions may impose legal constraints of photographing buildings and monuments. He said that the main difficulty of illustrating 20th-century architecture articles lies with compliance with the Wikimedia image licensing requirements in countries without Freedom of panorama, such as France, Italy or Russia.
The project has a large backlog of requests for new articles. Elekhh says there has been effort by project members to treat these requests by prioritising articles of general interest over local interest. Articles belonging to the former category have been addressed more swiftly in the last year. Unfortunately, many requested articles stay unaddressed for a longer period. These tend to be about architects or buildings of local interest and would be rated as low-mid importance for the Wikiproject.
The way forward
Warofdreams laments how many requests for input posted elicit little or no feedback. He urges more editors with an interest in the field to join, add it to their watchlist, and take part in relevant discussions. Elekhh said "Architecture articles have a good coverage of English speaking countries, in particular of the United States, but rather weak coverage of other countries. I see attracting contributors from non-English-speaking countries to the English Wikipedia as a priority. Binksternet believes that topics of architectural lighting, interior architecture and landscape architecture deserve greater attention.
Editors can help the project by creating and improving articles about architects, architecture, buildings, and construction. Next week, we'll get to the core of a hot project. Until then, read our previous reports in the archive.