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Introduction

In this first piece I will share an introduction to CritDay, the drivers behind the platform and intention for exploring blockchain and Steem. Sndbox has set the challenge of establishing the direction of the next few months in this, the first of four assignments, which will act as the backbone for CritDay’s Cohort 2 experience.

A Brief Summary of CritDay

CritDay is a platform dedicated to sharing exemplary pieces of work from architecture students (and occasionally practices) from all over the world, founded by myself, Dan Bagnall. Since the first post on Instagram in May 2015 the audience has consistently grown to become a source of inspiration and resources for students.

CritDay was started to celebrate the hard work and dedication architecture students put into their work, which after going through the experience myself I found work was not celebrated outside the four walls of the university. CritDay opens up this process to celebrate the drawings, models and visuals produced by students, bringing the projects out of the university setting, and celebrating them on the CritDay platform.

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Image 1. A representation of how CritDay aims to open up the sharing of ideas and works between Schools of Architecture.

CritDay works on a process of submission and curation to serve the purpose of sharing posts. The submissions are curatored, with roughly two to four posts a day. The aim of this process is to share the highest quality work, or projects which are unique, in order to inspire fellow architecture students.

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Image 2. A representation of the submission and curation process.

Why Explore Blockchain?

It is an Architect’s responsibility to consider new building materials or methods of construction, whether that is to make a building more sustainable, push the limits of form or to maximise cost efficiencies. I also feel it is duty of Architects to look beyond the traditional borders of the discipline, and this is why I wish to explore blockchain. Cross-collaboration between Architects and Artists, Designers, Planners and Engineers is a widely accepted norm, so what about the Architect and the Blockchain? What could come of that collaboration?

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Image 3. The architectural process and blockchain.

As the founder and curator of CritDay I am interested in using blockchain technology and platforms such as Steem to celebrate architectural education.

Goals for Cohort 2

The core aims for CritDay since the first post is 2015 is to grow a community of architecture students to celebrate high quality work and architectural education. Since then this aim has set the foundation of the platform. All activities serve to meet this overarching principle. Further aims of CritDay can be found on the following post: https://busy.org/@critday/critday-aims-sndbox-incubator-cohort-2-003

The general aims of CritDay will continue through Cohort 2, however it will be used as an opportunity to diversify the aims of CritDay to focus on blockchain, Steem and how this could benefit not only CritDay as a platform but more importantly the audience of architecture students. With the cohort running for only 4 months I felt it was important to identify a range of aims, some which could easily be completed within the first couple of months and some would are more long term and would set the direction for CritDay’s involvement on Steem beyond the cohort.

CritDay’s Cohort 2 Aims

    1. Increase dialogue within the Architectural community about Blockchain.
    1. Explore what impact blockchain has had on architecture and design.
    1. Explore what impact has blockchain had in general education
    1. Develop CritDay’s offer to introduce blockchain technology/processes.
    1. Expand the CritDay audience on Steem.
    1. Collaborate with like minded individuals and organisations through the blockchain network.

The following diagram shows how these six aims will expand the activities of CritDay, moving away from more traditional aims to explore the blockchain.

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Image 4. A diagram to depict the nature and purpose of CritDay’s aims. Blue aims are those for Cohort 2, grey aims relate to CritDay’s general aims.

My Background and How Has It Been Impacted By Crypto

My architectural background has always led me to ask questions, whether that be how spaces are used, how materials work or what the hell am I doing!? I think this is a characteristic of many architects, we are encouraged to question to find answers to problems. One topic I would like to tackle is blockchain.

Blockchain seems to be relatively unexplored in relation to architecture (to my knowledge at least). By no means is it openly discussed or considered to be part of the popular architectural discourse. Crypto and blockchain therefore has zero impact on me (so far) as a professional Architect.

Personally I have been interested in crypto since early 2014 when I tried (and failed) to mine Bitcoin. I put this interest on the backburner until 2018 at which point I started to trade modest amounts of crypto. At a similar time a friend of mine (Sam Billingham) introduced me to Steem. I started to use the platform as CritDay with the intention to increase the CritDay audience and offer.

Experience of Steem and Other Platforms

Since my introduction to Steem earlier this year I have been posting some of the day-to-day CritDay content from the Instagram feed and website onto the Steem network. During this period I have tried three of the main apps on the network; Steemit, Busy and Steepshot. All of which I have found simple to use, but as of yet haven’t found a preference out of Steemit and Busy. I can see the benefits and incentives of using the network, over more established means such as Facebook or Instagram. I am eager to help share these with the CritDay audience and hopefully increase the architecture-focused user base for Steem.

CritDay’s Offer to the Steem Community

Following the aims set out for Cohort 2 earlier in this assignment, CritDay will offer several things to the Steem community. CritDay will bring to Steem the high quality student work which it has become known for on Instagram. CritDay will use the existing network of students and Steemians to identify potential collaborators for exciting articles and projects. Finally, CritDay will hopefully bring lots of new users to Steem, using the existing following of Instagram.

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Image 5. What can CritDay offer the Steem community?

Conclusion

Over the next three and a bit months CritDay will continue to embed into the Steem network, working towards the core aims of CritDay, aims for Cohort 2 and extending the offer to the existing CritDay audience and Steem users. During this period I look forward to collaborating with other members of cohort, learning more about Sndbox, Steem and blockchain and developing the use of these tools and technology into architecture.

Credits

Icons used on diagrams
Architect by Joel Burke from the Noun Project
Sustainability by Emily Rinehart from the Noun Project
Blockchain by Dmitry Mirolyubov from the Noun Project
materials by Marek Polakovic from the Noun Project
people by Castor & Pollux from the Noun Project
instagram by Víctor Fernández from the Noun Project
Art by Iconstock from the Noun Project


This post was authored by @critday, a member of the sndbox incubator. Learn more, follow @critday or begin a conversation in the comment section below.


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