Creative Juice: Architecture Imitates Web Imitates Architecture


How do you describe how to use a web site–or any other virtual interactive experience?

Chances are, you probably refer to the web page as though it were an actual, physical space and describe the process of using it as though you are physically moving through that space. You probably use words like “go” or “navigate”. You might describe links as “taking” the user somewhere as if the links were some sort of virtual elevator.

What if, by some weird manipulation of space and time, we were able to flip flop what is physical and what is virtual? What if our web pages became actual, physical buildings? What would they look like? What if actual, physical buildings became web sites? What would they look like?

To squeeze this Creative Juice, do the following:

  • Pick three web sites (not ones you’ve made) and sketch* them as though they were each a physical building. What type of buildings would they be? What architectural features would they have? What would the floor plan look like?
  • Pick three buildings, of any type or purpose and sketch* them as though they were web pages. What sort of layout would they have? What sort of design style? Colors? Typography?
  • Sketch: Not the same as drawing. Sketching is about getting the ideas out of your head an onto a piece of paper or computer screen where you can see them and use them. Sketches represent visual information and use a visual language. Sketches are not art. Perfection defeats the purpose. They are starting points. They are iterative and grow through iteration. Use whichever medium makes the most sense to you, but consider this an opportunity to become better acquainted with your Sharpie(s).

This exercise is optional.


  1. Examine the intersection between physical space and virtual space

Materials & Supplies

  • Drawing implement of choice, paper
  • Graphics software optional


  • Post your work as a PDF to your portal. Submit the URL to your PDF to the corresponding dropbox in the eCompanion course shell.
  • Optionally, you may also show off your work in class or in the discussion tread in the Show & Tell unit in the eCompanion course shell.

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