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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.

Kickstarter Campaign Launches to Fund the Forthcoming 'Real Review'

The Real Estate Architecture Laboratory (REAL) have today announced a Kickstarter campaign in preparation for the launch of their flagship publication, the Real Review. Produced by an independent team of editors and designers, this bi-monthly magazine intends to "revive the review as a writing form" to a general readership within the architectural sphere and its orbital subjects.

The Real Review will be "a printed object of exceptional quality, featuring engaging texts by leading international commentators," alongside providing "a highly visible platform for emerging writers." Confirmed authors at this time include, among others, Assemble, Pier Vittorio Aureli (Dogma, AA), Reinier de Graaf (OMA), Sam Jacob (Sam Jacob Studio), and a rostra of journalists including the Financial Times' architecture critic Edwin Heathcote.

Help Recreate and Replace Frank Lloyd Wright's San Francisco Call Building Model at Taliesin

After a sale of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives in 2013, Frank Lloyd Wright's model of The San Francisco Call Building, originally residing at Taliesin and later, Hillside Home School, was moved to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The Organic Architecture and Design Archives, Inc. (OAD) believes that this model - a striking 8-foot tall replica built originally for the 1940 MoMA Exhibition - was "an integral part of the design of Taliesin."

What Role Does Crowdfunding Have in Architecture?

In 1885, with only $3,000 in the bank, the "American Committee" in charge of building a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty ceased work, after both president Grover Cleveland and the US Congress declined to provide funds for the project. The project was saved by a certain Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, who used his newspaper to spark a $100,000 fundraising campaign with the promise that everyone who donated would have their name printed the paper.

The base of the Statue of Liberty is perhaps the first ever example of crowdfunding in architecture as we might recognize it today, with a popular media campaign and some form of minor reward. But in recent years, crowdfunding has taken on a whole new complexion. Last week, we asked our readers to tell us their thoughts about a specific example of crowdfunding in architecture: BIG's attempt to raise funds for the prototyping of the steam ring generator on their waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen. But there are many more examples of fundraising in architecture, and each of them deserves attention.

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?"

49 Cities by WORKac Opens Kickstarter for its 3rd Edition Deluxe Reprint

WORKac has begun crowd-funding for the 3rd Edition of their book, “49 Cities”. As the title implies, the book follows examples of urbanism throughout several centuries, from the ideal Roman city to the 21st century visions of utopia49 Cities looks at sustainability beyond the notion of the “Green Building”, serving as a catalyst and fertilizer for discussion and ideas on the design of the City of Tomorrow. Going out of print in 2010, demand for the book has continued, and it may now finally be available once again thanks to partnerships by WORKac with Inventory Press and Project Projects.

This New Stylus Makes Digital Sketching More Intuitive Than Ever

Architect David Craig and Dublin Design Studio have launched a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter for Scriba - a stylus designed with the input of hundreds of illustrators, designers, architects, animators, artists, mobile workers and tablet users that aims to make sketching for architects and designers more natural than ever.

Beautifully Banal: Kickstarter Campaign Seeks to Celebrate Beauty in the Ordinary

A competition proposal by Alexander Culler and Danny Travis, placed second in Blank Space's recent Fairy Tales competition, is now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign asking whether there is "a way to use architectural drawing to tell a story that was easy enough for everyone to understand?" The team behind the Beautifully Banal comic-zine are now seeking to transform their competition entry into a full-scale publication in order to "combine the intricacies of architectural drawing types with a form of story telling that allows those outside of the field to gain a new appreciation for the buildings and structures that occupy the world."

New York's Lowline Launch Campaign to Develop the World's First Subterranean Park

The New York Lowline, a project which was first announced in 2011 and was rekindled last year, have now launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to make their dream of using solar technology to "transform an historic trolley terminal into the world's first underground park" closer to a reality. Their proposal, which seeks to unlock the potential of underused subterranean urban spaces, would see the creation of a living, green public space built beneath the streets of New York City. They are currently seeking funding to build a long-term solar device testing laboratory and public exhibition in order to test and present their designs.

via Kickstarter via Kickstarter via Kickstarter via Kickstarter

Izaskun Chinchilla Architects’ Organic Growth Pavilion Opens on Governors Island

Izaskun Chinchilla Architects have made their recycled, upcycled, and bicycled “Organic Growth Pavilion” a reality on New York’s Governors Island. One of two winners of the “City of Dreams” pavilion competition (hosted by AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee and the Structural Engineers Association of New York), Izaskun Chinchilla Architects carried out a kickstarter campaign to fund the pavilion’s construction.

Organic Growth Pavilion. Image © Sergio Reyes Collaborative Construction of Organic Growth Pavilion. Image © Sergio Reyes Organic Growth Pavilion. Image © Sergio Reyes Organic Growth Pavilion. Image © Sergio Reyes

From “Silk Road” to “Gas Road”: Students to Document the Turkmenistan-China Gas Pipeline

Three Harvard students have launched a Kickstarter Project to fund a short film and digital exhibition on the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline, which runs along the historic Silk Road. "From 'Silk Road' to 'Gas Road'" will explore the "cultural, ecological and urban implications" of the 21st century intervention, following the summertime journey of Lu Xiaoxuan, Benny Shaffer, and Justin D. Stern along the pipeline. The project is being carried out through Harvard's Fairbank Center for Chinese studies, and the trio intends to finish filming and photographing for the project this summer. 

Learn more about the project and how to support it after the break.

Studio Octopi Begins Crowdfunding Campaign For A Lido On London's River Thames

London's central waterway, the River Thames, has been a site of enormous interest from architects and urbanists in previous years. From a controversial garden bridge to discussions about how to appropriate what has been described as one of the city's largest untapped public spaces, London-based practice studio octopi have now launched a Kickstarter campaign to help to realise their dream of creating "a new, natural, beautiful lido" on its banks.

Endorsed by a number of renowned and respected Londoners, including Turner-prize winning artist Tracey Emin, architect Ivan Harbour (RSHP), and Tim Marlow, a director at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA), the ambition is to raise at least £125,000 (around $190,000 or €175,000) in order to seek planning permission for the Thames Baths project.

Find out more about the project and how you can support it after the break.

Temple Baths. Image © Studio Octopi Temple Baths. Image © Studio Octopi Blackfriars Baths. Image © Studio Octopi Blackfriars Baths. Image © Studio Octopi

Izaskun Chinchilla Turns to Kickstarter to Realize "Organic Growth" Pavilion

A few months ago, we announced that Izaskun Chinchilla Architects emerged as one of two winners of FIGMENT’s international “City of Dreams” pavilion competition in New York. Their proposal entitled “Organic Growth” is slated for assembly on Governors Island this summer, but they need your help! Due to the split funding of selecting two winners and FIGMENT’s non-profit status, the design team has launched a kickstarter campaign to make their proposal a reality through public contributions.

Learn more about how you can get involved, after the break.

The Last Stop: Documenting North America’s Disappearing Rest Areas

Rest stops are a disappearing sight in North America. Brought by tight highway budgets, and the increasing number of off-exit fast food outlets and gas stations, these roadside oases may soon become extinct. Photographer Ryann Ford wants to make sure they’re documented before this happens. Her project, “The Last Stop” is a series of photographs taken of unique rest stops across the nation. A Kickstarter campaign has been started to fund Ford’s work, and the ensuing publication of her photographs. Learn more, after the break!

Juan Santa Cruz Picnic Area – Tucson, Arizona. Image © Ryann Ford Galveston, Texas. Image © Ryann Ford Near Big Bend National Park, Texas. Image © Ryann Ford Near Abiquiu, New Mexico – U.S. 84. Image © Ryann Ford

A Renaissance Gem In Need Of Restoration

The Pazzi Chapel is a landmark of architecture in the city that was once the cradle of the Italian Renaissance: Florence. Located in the Santa Croce church complex (the largest Franciscan church in the world), the chapel was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi - the goldsmith-turned-architect who dedicated his life to engineering the dome of Florence's Santa Maria del Fiore. It is "a prime example of 15th-century architectural decoration in grey pietra serena sandstone, colourful maiolica, and terracotta."

550 years have taken their toll on this structure and its decoration. Concern for the state of the loggia of the chapel is now so great that the non-profit institution in charge of the church’s administration - the Opera di Santa Croce - have raised 50% of the funds needed to carry out a restoration, set to begin in early 2015. They are now looking to crowdfunding to source the remaining half ($95,000) and, in so doing, are inviting people from around the world to become part of the 720-year-long history of Santa Croce.

"Project Gregory" Hopes to Help Solve the World's Homelessness Problem with Kickstarter Campaign

The problem of homelessness challenges city governments all over the world, one which, despite many attempts by governments to curb the problems that lead to homelessness, does not seem to have a simple solution. What's more, with many countries still deep in the global economic crises, many governments and non-profits struggle to provide an adequate amount of temporary shelter for the homeless population.

But what if we could make temporary accommodation for the homeless pay for itself? And what if we could provide it by leveraging structures that would be built anyway? This is exactly the approach taken by Michal Polacek, Matej Nedorolik and Martin Lee Keniz of Project Gregory, whose design for small roadside accommodation built into an advertising billboard is currently on Kickstarter.

Courtesy of Project Gregory Courtesy of Project Gregory Courtesy of Project Gregory Plan with sections

Video: Rem Koolhaas Answers Questions From Fans as Part of 'REM' Kickstarter

In December of last year, we brought you news of Tomas Koolhaas' kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about his father, Rem Koolhaas. Well, not only was Koolhaas' REM documentary fully funded, three generous backers offered up $500 each in return for one question to be answered directly by Rem Koolhaas himself. The video above is the result of those questions, in which Koolhaas responds to questions on urbanism in the developed country of the Netherlands compared to still-developing India, as well as a question about how his early work in film-making and scriptwriting influenced his architectural career.

Watch the video above and read on after the break for a synopsis of Koolhaas' answers

5-Axis Milling: The Next Level In Accessible, Versatile Digital Fabrication

The 5AXISMAKER is a desktop 5-axis multi-fabrication CNC machine that hopes to expand the possibilities of digital fabrication by making it cheap and more versatile. Should the project receive backing on Kickstarter before the 27th October 2014, the possibility of 5-axis milling will become an affordable reality for manufacturing complex design prototypes. The product in development "provides a large cutting volume for it’s size, therefore producing "generously sized objects." Developed by graduates of London's Architectural Association, they hope to "shake the manufacturing world with new ways of fabricating using industrial robots right at your desk."