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ArchDaily Readers on the Role of Crowdfunding in Architecture

Over time, people have found many different ways to fund the construction of a building. Museums for example have long benefited from the support of deep-pocketed patrons, with The Broad Museum, a permanent public home for the renowned contemporary art collection of philanthropists Edythe and Eli Broad, being the newest example in a long history of such practices. However in our ever-more-connected world - and against a backdrop of reduced government support for creative endeavors - the onus of funding seems to be shifting once again, away from the individual and towards the crowd.

As crowdfunding makes strides in all realms of innovative enterprise, including architecture, we wanted to hear from our readers about what they thought of this new opportunity for a publicly held stake in what has historically been the realm of singular, well-heeled organizations in the form of the state or private capital. Writing about the history and current trajectories of public funding, alongside a more pointed discussion of BIG’s Kickstarter for “the world’s first steam ring generator,” we posed the question: does public funding have a place in architecture, and if so, is there a line that should be drawn?

Read on for some of the best replies.

The BIG Steam-Ring Kickstarter: Is There a Limit to What Should Be Crowdfunded?

Update: The Kickstarter campaign launched by BIG to fund the development of their steam ring generator reached its goal of $15,000 in less than a week after it was launched. As of today (24th August) the campaign total stands just short of $25,000, with 19 days still to go.

BIG has launched a Kickstarter campaign, aiming to fund the ongoing research and prototyping of the "steam ring generator" designed to crown the firm's Waste-to-Energy power plant in Copenhagen. The campaign was announced on Friday and picked up a lot of steam (pun intended) in the design press - but at ArchDaily we were hesitant to publish news of the campaign because, in short, it led us into a minefield of questions about the role of invention, public engagement, and money in architecture.

Of course, BIG are far from the first to attempt to crowdfund an architectural project. Previous projects however have generally focused on otherwise-unfundable proposals for the public good, barely-sane moonshots or complex investment structures which depending on your viewpoint may or may not even count as crowdfunding. BIG are perhaps the first example of an established architectural firm attempting to crowdfund the design of a project that is already half-built, causing some people - ArchDaily staff included - to ask: "Why wasn't this money included in the project's budget?"

How Bjarke Ingels is Reshaping New York City's Architecture

Bjarke Ingels has become know for his “promiscuous hybrids" that are reshaping skylines worldwide. Now, after news of BIG's redesign of the 2 World Trade Center, Ingels is being credited for single-handedly transforming New York City's architecture. At the New York Times' Cities of Tomorrow conference last week, architecture critic Michael Kimmelman sat down with the 40-year-old Danish architect to discuss just how BIG is changing New York

VIA 57 West: Challenging Form and Urban Development in Manhattan

Join the CTBUH New York City Chapter for a discussion on the VIA 57 West building. Guest speakers Bjarke Ingels (BIG), Aine Brazil (Thornton Tomasetti), and Jeff Crompton (Hunter Roberts) will discuss the architecture, engineering and the construction process behind this unique structure. VIA stands tall at 467 feet and is one of the most architecturally distinctive buildings constructed in New York City. The building provides a dramatic visual gateway to Manhattan’s skyline along the Hudson River. VIA is a hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan high-rise development. The building’s unique shape combines the advantages of both: the compactness and efficiency of a courtyard building providing density, a sense of intimacy, and expansive views. The form of the building shifts depending on the viewer’s vantage point. While appearing like a pyramid from the West Side Highway, it turns into a dramatic glass spire when seen from West 58th Street.

Insiders Tip BIG to Redesign Foster + Partners' World Trade Center 2 Tower

A new report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that BIG may replace Foster + Partners to realize the World Trade Center 2 (WTC2) tower - the final tower planned to be built on Ground Zero. The 79-story tower, originally designed in 2006, was stalled due to the economic crash of 2008. 

According to the report, 21st Century Fox and News Corp have "tipped" BIG to redesign the tower should they strike an agreement with project backers Silverstein Properties and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to move into the tower. If the deal goes through, the two companies would occupy nearly half of the building - enough to kickstart development. 

BIG-led Webinar to Discuss the Manhattan “Dry Line”

One of the six winners of the Rebuild by Design competition, Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) “Dry Line” project aims to protect Manhattan from future storms like Hurricane Sandy by creating a protective barrier around lower Manhattan. The barrier will be formed by transforming underused waterfront areas into public parks and amenities. Now, you can learn more about the vision behind the project and how it was developed in a webinar led by Jeremy Alain Siegel, the director of the BIG Rebuild by Design team and head of the subsequent East Side Coastal Resiliency Project. The webinar will take place on Friday, June 12. Learn more and sign-up on Performance.Network

First Look Inside BIG's W57 Manhattan Pyramid

Field Condition has published a photographic tour through BIG’s first New York project, two months after W57 topped out. A “courtscraper,” as the Danish practice affectionately calls it, the 32-story, 709-unit tower is a hybrid of the European courtyard block and New York City skyscraper. It’s tetrahedral shape, “born from logic,” is designed to provide every resident in the building's North Tower to have views of the Hudson River, while allowing sunlight deep into the building's interior space. View the project from within, after the break. 

Southeast corner of W57 (left) and the Helena (right) from West 57th Street. Image © Field Condition © Field Condition Looking South from the peak structure. Image © Field Condition Northeast corner from West 58th Street. Image © Field Condition

Google Taps BIG and Heatherwick to Design New California Headquarters

The City of Mountain View is expected to receive a massive proposal from the city’s largest employer; reports confirm that Google has enlisted Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Heatherwick Studio to design its new California headquarters. With the few details released, it is unclear if the proposal plans to update the company’s existing 3.1 million-square-foot Googleplex or replace it. However, as the New York Times reports, the proposal will boast a “series of canopy-like buildings” on a campus organized around bicycle and pedestrian paths.

This means Google is now joining a list of powerful corporations who have enlisted world-renowned architects to design their California headquarters, including Apple’s Foster + Partners-designed “spaceship” and Facebook’s Gehry-Esque 10-acre “room.” If approved, Google will shift its focus on new housing, ensuring there is enough living space within Mountain View to accommodate its growing workforce (a topic of concern for many residents).

The proposal will be submitted to the city this Friday. Take a look at the company’s existing Mountain View headquarters, after the break. 

VIDEO: Bjarke Ingels Walks Us Through The Design of Vancouver House

Taking the urban high-rise “one step further,” BIG’s Vancouver House (formerly known as the Beach and Howe Tower) is a gesamtkunstwerk - total work of art. Detailed to the smallest scale, the grand scheme makes use of a difficult site trisected by the Granville overpass and burdened by setbacks, transforming it into a “lively village” at the city’s gateway.

Learn how Bjarke Ingels plans to revolutionize urban living by watching the video above. 

BIG, Heatherwick and The Living Named Among Fast Company's Most Innovative Architectural Practices of 2015

Fast Company has announced who they believe to be the most innovative practices in architecture for 2015. Topping this list is the online remodeling community Houzz, the BIG powerhouse and David Benjamin’s The Living. See the complete list, after the break, and let us know who you believe is the world’s most innovative firms in the comment section below.

HOT TO COLD: BIG’s “Odyssey of Architectural Adaptation” Opens at the National Building Museum

Circle the globe in 800-feet at the National Building Museum’s latest exhibition HOT TO COLD. BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group’s first North American exhibition, HOT TO COLD takes viewers on an “odyssey of architectural adaptation” from the “hottest to the coldest parts of our planet to explore how BIG’s designs are shaped by their cultural and climatic contexts.” 

More than 60 architectural models of BIG’s most recent projects, including 20 premiering for the first time, are being suspended from the second floor of the museum’s historic Great Hall. Each project is interpreted through Iwan Baan's "masterful" photography, films by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, and the Grammy Award-winning graphic artist Stefan Sagmeister’s design for the accompanying catalog by Taschen.

A word from Ingels, after the break.

© Matt Carbone © Matt Carbone © Matt Carbone © BIG

Videos: Bjarke Ingels on His Europa City Project for Paris

In 2013, Bjarke Ingels Group came first in Paris' Europa City competition, an 800,000 square meter cultural and recreational facility on the far North-Eastern outskirts of the city. In an attempt to explain the design of this huge project, filmmakers Squint/Opera have enlisted the help of Bjarke Ingels and a green screen to describe the project - Minority Report style - with a combination of live action and futuristic video effects. In a second video, a detailed walkthrough of the building enlists both 2D and 3D graphics "to capture the excitement and energy of this unique centre." Read on after the break for both videos.

Bjarke Ingels' Advice for the Young: "It's Important to Care"

The latest in a series of videos from Louisiana Channel sees Danish architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG dispensing wisdom for a new generation of architects. Speaking with characteristic zeal, Ingels advises young architects "to care, because if you don't care, it doesn't matter." "We're not here to build for other architects," Ingels says, describing architecture as "fundamentally the art and science of accommodating life."

2015 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design

Four projects have been selected by the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) for honorably expanding the role of the architect beyond the building and into the realms of urban design, regional and city planning, and community development. These projects will be honored with the AIA’s Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design at the 2015 National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. See the winners, after the break.

© CBT Architects © BIG © SOM Courtesy of Morgan Sheff

Foster + Partners Remain World’s “Most Admired Architect”

A global survey conducted by BD has deemed Foster + Partners to be world’s “most admired architect" for the ninth consecutive year. The London-based practice, led by Norman Foster, is the 16th largest practice in the world. Foster + Partners’ ranking was undeniable, as the survey revealed a significant seven percent lead over runner-up contender, Herzog & de Meuron

“To be voted most admired practice by our peers is a great honor,” said Norman Foster. “It is a huge tribute to our talented and hard-working teams with their myriad skills and disciplines, both in our many studios around the world and our base in London, all working towards the common goal of bringing innovative design solutions to create a better built environment.”

See who else topped the list as the world’s “most admired,” after the break.

BIG Returns to the National Building Museum with “HOT TO COLD: an odyssey of architectural adaptation”

On the heels of its summer blockbuster indoor maze, which attracted more than 50,000 visitors, the international design firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) returns to the National Building Museum this January with a behind-the-scenes look at its creative process. The exhibition, HOT TO COLD: an odyssey of architectural adaptation, takes visitors from the hottest to the coldest parts of our planet and explores how BIG´s design solutions are shaped by their cultural and climatic contexts. More than 60 three-dimensional models will be suspended at the second-floor balconies of the Museum’s historic Great Hall in an unprecedented use of this public space. 

BIG Unveils Design For Battersea Power Station Square

BIG has unveiled the design for their addition to the development at Battersea Power Station, a public square that will link the power station itself with the Electric Boulevard development designed by Norman Foster and Frank Gehry. Called Malaysia Square after the Malaysian development consortium behind the plans, the design features cascading steps that link the main public space at the lower level with the entrance to the power station above. The split-level design also provides for two pedestrian bridges and a road bridge that cross above the "urban canyon" of the public square.

Video: Bjarke Ingels on the Power of Architecture

This past month at WIRED by Design, Bjarke Ingels gave a rundown of his most ambitious projects, highlighting one underlining theme: BIG’s mission to “create social infrastructure for resilient cities.” From their Manhattan “BIG U” storm proofing plan, recently awarded $400 million in federal funds, to their “ski slope” waste-to-energy plant currently underway in Copenhagen, the Danish practice is undoubtedly fulfilling their mission in a BIG and infectious way.