Architecture public relations: 6 publications every architectural firm should target to showcase projects, expertise

June 28, 2022

When prestigious architectural publications showcase an architecture firm’s work, it gives that firm an invaluable stamp of approval that can play a key role in business development. 

While these publications are read by other architects — and not necessarily by clients — the coverage in these publications acts like a coveted referral from a trusted expert. It sends the message that your firm does quality work. 

While coverage in publications that clients read — like your local business journal or trade magazines such as Building Construction + Design, Medical Construction & Design and Hospitality Design (depending on your industry focus) — is also important, the strategy is different. These publications, while helping to establish your firm on your clients’ radar and demonstrate expertise in their industry, don’t provide the same cachet as publications like Architectural Record or Metropolis

So what publications should you aim for? And how can you get your work covered by them? Here are six architectural publications (for commercial/non-residential architects) that we recommend and how to get your firm’s work featured in them:

1) Architectural Record

Established in 1891 for architects, owners and other professionals involved in architectural services, Architectural Record (circulation: 93,079) provides design ideas and trends, news, business and professional strategies and an exploration of key issues impacting architects today. 

Nearly all of the magazine’s editorial focuses on innovative and unique projects tied to each issue’s theme, which can be found in the editorial calendar. Only 100 projects per year make it to the pages of Architectural Record, so competition is fierce.

To get your project profiled by the magazine, first check the editorial calendar to see when the publication will focus on your building type. Then, submit your project for consideration six months in advance of the issue date. Direct your email to the editor referenced in the table at the bottom of this page, which provides submission instructions.

The magazine’s editors use a roundtable format to review submissions, evaluate each project’s design characteristics and discuss possible story angles.

Don’t submit project material to multiple publications simultaneously, as the magazine prefers exclusivity (see our post on using media exclusives), with the exception of books for review, exhibitions, news and product announcements. Projects must be current or recently completed (so don’t submit that project that was completed three years ago). 

While getting your project featured is the gold standard, there are other regular sections of the magazine that you can target:

  • Record News: If your firm was awarded a newsworthy commission or you’re breaking ground on an interesting building or opening one soon, submit a press release for coverage in this section.

According to the magazine: “New work must offer an interesting storyline — what is it that makes your particular building stand out?” The magazine notes that it does not publish personnel changes or information about office relocations.

  • Technology, Lighting, and Digital Practice: Has your project used building technology, lighting or digital technology in an interesting way? If so, you might pique the interest of the editors who oversee those areas.
  • Commentary & Criticism: While this section is written almost entirely by Architectural Record editors, there are sponsored content opportunities for this kind of editorial.
  • Op Eds: This is the place for readers and thought leaders of the architecture profession to weigh in on news, projects and trends. It’s published infrequently and features outside contributors.
  • Interviews: These brief interviews with “top newsmakers from the architecture world” include profiles of leading architects and designers, as well as noteworthy clients and policymakers. The magazine has also done special sections highlighting specific populations, including a “Spotlight on Black Leaders in Design” and a “Spotlight on Women Leaders in Design.”
  • Firm Profiles: In this section, Architectural Record profiles noteworthy architects, designers and firms, exploring their work and professional histories. This section isn’t published frequently — there were no firm profiles in 2021 or any in 2022 as of the publication of this blog post.
  • Top 300 Architecture Firms: In addition to editorial, the magazine includes several rankings and awards sections, including this one, which is an annual ranking based on revenue. 
  • Good Design Is Good Business: This awards program recognizes architectural solutions that were instrumental to the client’s growth and success. However, the program hasn’t been done since 2019. We’ll keep an eye out to see if the magazine plans to feature it again.
  • Women in Architecture Forum & Awards: This awards program honors women in the following categories:
    • Design leader: For an architect with significant built work and influence
    • New generation leader: For an architect who is rising in the profession
    • Innovator: For an architect who has made a mark in innovative design, materials or building type
    • Activist: For an architect who has used her skills to design for social change, to influence the public realm or to perform pro bono work
    • Educator or mentor: For a professional who has helped the advancement of women in the field
  • Record Interiors: In this annual issue, Architectural Record spotlights the best, most well-designed interiors from around the world (past winners can be seen here). 

2) Architect

The journal of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Architect magazine (circulation: 106,202) targets practicing architects working on non-residential projects. The magazine’s editorial addresses the key issues architects face: design inspiration, design skill development, business improvement and practice management.

As with Architectural Record, this magazine also features projects tied to its editorial calendar themes. In addition, you can submit your projects online, effectively creating your own project portfolio on the Architect magazine website (a plus for search engine optimization). 

Uploading project information to the website lets the magazine staff see what architecture firms are doing. If they see your work and like it, they may contact you about publication.

Other sections to target include:

  • Opinion section: In addition to featuring projects, the magazine regularly publishes opinion columns. If you have a timely, relevant and unexplored perspective or experience to share, email architectmagazine@zondahome.com with a one-paragraph pitch. Keep in mind that the magazine receives a large volume of submissions so it can’t respond individually to every pitch.

Here are a few examples to get your juices flowing:

3) Metropolis

Established in 1981, Metropolis (circulation: 42,217) “examines contemporary life through design, architecture, interior design, product design, graphic design, crafts, planning and preservation.” The magazine’s editorial is aimed at professionals, but also at “lay readers with a passion for the ins and outs of design.”

Metropolis features high-brow design topics and projects. Below are the magazine’s sections and an overview of each:

4) The Architect’s Newspaper

Written for architects and covering the latest projects and commissions, The Architect’s Newspaper (circulation: 48,000) includes a mix of topical essays, opinion columns, project analyses, profiles, interviews, reviews of exhibitions and books, and a calendar of events and competitions.

As with the other publications profiled here, check the magazine’s editorial calendar to pitch your project in advance of the related issue. You must submit a form to receive the calendar. 

Other sections include:

  • Op-eds: These articles are written by outside contributors covering a range of topics, including sustainability, politics and more.
  • Awards:
    • Best of Practice Awards: The Best of Practice Awards honor North American firms excelling at every level of the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry. A jury of industry experts, as well as the magazine’s editors, evaluate firms across 80 categories and four regions. Honorees are featured in a special standalone issue at the end of the year.
    • Best of Design Awards: The Best of Design Awards spotlight the best new buildings, building elements, interiors, installations and public designs found across the continent. Entrants are invited to submit works in 50 dedicated categories that reflect the magazine’s editorial coverage. Honorees are also featured in the end-of-year standalone magazine.

5) Architectural Review (UK)

Established in 1896, The Architectural Review, based in the United Kingdom (with a print circulation of 7,000 and monthly website page views hovering around 219,000), covers noteworthy projects and architectural initiatives across the globe. Editorial is written either by staff or freelance writers who specialize in architecture writing. 

Projects profiled align with the magazine’s editorial calendar. For example, in its February “animals” issue, the magazine featured this cow shed in Montérégie, Canada, by La Shed Architecture, and its May “transit” issue focused on unique train stations

Awards: The magazine also runs several awards programs that provide opportunities for coverage:

6) DeZeen (UK)

Another UK-based publication, DeZeen targets “the leaders and opinion formers of the architecture and design world. They are affluent, educated, creative professionals who are passionate about design and technology.”

The outlet says its biggest audience is in the United States, where it claims to have more than 760,000 monthly readers. The top five U.S. cities by page views are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle. 

As always, if you can align your pitch with the editorial calendar, that will help.

To submit a project for consideration, email the editors a selection of images (they request JPEGs with at least 3000 pixels on the shortest sides) and a short description of the project. They advise reviewing their copyright policy before submitting material.

Keep in mind that the projects typically selected are particularly noteworthy. Here are a few examples:

The magazine says that it doesn’t have formal criteria for selecting projects but in general is “looking for content that is fresh, innovative, newsworthy, has a good story behind it and fantastic images. We get tons of submissions and we can’t reply to everyone, although we do try to look at everything.”

Here are a few other tips from the editors:

  • They like exclusivity: “We are more likely to publish projects that are sent to us exclusively. If you are offering us an exclusive, please make this clear in your submissions email.”
  • They like videos: “If you have a movie related to your project, send it in! We usually upload submitted movies to our own channels (particularly YouTube, Facebook and Instagram) rather than embedding from other accounts. We may edit movies but we’ll ask for your permission first.”
  • They like plans, drawings and sketches: “Plans, sections and sketches are very popular with our readers, so please include them if you can.”
  • They like to credit everyone: “Send us project credits! Especially for the images. We are rarely able to pay for photography but we will happily give credits, links and full copyright details where appropriate. Many photographers happily give us free imagery as publication on Dezeen is a good way to promote their work and often leads to commissions from other publications.”

Other opportunities include:

  • Awards: There are 47 categories that you can enter in total. Within the sectors of architecture, interiors and design, there are 12 project categories and two studio categories each. The studio categories have been specifically created to highlight the architects and designers producing the most outstanding work.

There are also three overall project winners, one in each of the sectors of architecture, interiors and design. Nominations aren’t accepted for these overall categories — they are chosen by a master jury from the winners of each of the project categories. 

If this seems a little daunting, never fear. You can enlist the help of an architecture public relations agency to handle the heavy lifting of pitching the publications and ensuring the resulting coverage highlights your firm’s work in the best way possible. Reach out to me at michelle@rep-ink.com to learn more.

 
 
 

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  • About the Author
    Michelle Calcote King

    Michelle Calcote King is an award-winning marketer with nearly 20 years of expertise in all things marketing, content, media and public relations. Specializing in highly complex industries, she leverages superior writing skills, media savvy and a love of all things digital to move her clients' businesses forward.

    Read my full bio or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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