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

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. Image © Ryann Ford

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!

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 ’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.

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  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 -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 machine that hopes to expand the possibilities of 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.”

goCstudio Launches New Kickstarter to Fund Floating Sauna in Seattle

open hatch. Image Courtesy of

Seattle based firm goCstudio have designed a wood-fired floating , a project resonant with the culture of the Pacific Northwest. Aiming to begin construction in spring of 2015 and open in summer, the firm has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the building of their first model. Easily transportable and accessible by kayak, the floating sauna fits within the dimensions of a standard size trailer. Providing a space of refuge and revitalization, along with a uniquely interactive way to experience the landscape of Seattle, the project, named “wa_sauna“, requires $43,000 to become a reality. Learn more about the project and how you can help at the firm’s Kickstarter page, here. More images after the break.

Crowdfunding: Transformed Truck To Take Art & Architecture on the Road

“What better way to spread the gospel of design than to liberate it from its brick-and-mortar foundations and take it on the road?” This is the idea behind Circus for Construction - a competition-winning proposal to transform a semi-truck into a traveling exhibition space for art and architecture. If the project reaches its Kickstarter fundraising goal, it will be visiting Provincetown, Providence, Ithaca, Buffalo, Portland, and Boston this coming fall. 

Luftwerk Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Transform Mies’ Farnsworth House into Visual Spectacular

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The creative minds behind Luftwerk have turned to Kickstarter to crowdfund a project that would transform Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House into an immersive light show. Similar to their installation at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater residence in 2011, artistic duo Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero plan to illuminate the “structural minimalism and transparency” of the house in a way that would offer a new perspective of the modern masterpiece. 

Check out a video of the proposed light show and Luftwerk’s work at Fallingwater, after the break…

A New Way to ‘Make Architecture Happen’

The Legson Kayira Community center and Primary School. Image © Architecture For a Change via www.makearchitecturehappen.com

In recent years, crowdfunding websites have taken the world by storm. Sites like Kickstarter have been used to fund books, films, products, and even been used to fund architecture projects, with success for projects like +Pool in New York and the Luchtsingel in Rotterdam. However, one drawback which prevents such ‘kickstarter urbanism’ from taking off more is the way the platform constrains the design of the projects: in both instances, construction elements are offered as rewards for the backers, who get to mark their contribution by having their name inscribed on the project itself. In response to this, other sites specifically tailored for designers have used different models for raising money. Spacehive works by leveraging the interest of local people in an urban project, doing away with the rewards system in favor of the implicit reward of improved public space.

But now, a new site called “Make Architecture Happen” is attempting to bridge the gap, providing a way to draw funds from a worldwide audience without compromising on design freedom. Read more about the site, and see some of our favorite projects from its launch, after the break.

“Death in Venice” to Showcase Architecture’s Relationship with Mortality

Death in Venice will focus partially on the changing design of hospitals, places that many people die in every year. Image Courtesy of The Wellcome Library

This year’s Venice Architecture Biennale focuses on the fundamentals of architecture, and the theme of “absorbing modernity.” Official exhibitions will highlight the basics of modern building, but one exhibition (unaffiliated with the official biennale) will take a unique approach to the term. Architects Alison Killing and Ania Molenda will devote their to the most fundamental quality of all: death.

Titled Death in Venice, this presentation will focus on how architecture has facilitated the act of dying during the past 100 years. All of the funding for the exhibition materials has been provided by the Fund for Creative Industries NL, but to transport the show to Venice, Killing and Molenda have started a Kickstarter campaign.

Kickstart the Latest Edition of ‘City of Darkness’: The Authoritative Text on Kowloon Walled City

20 years ago, Greg Girard and Ian Lambot published “City of Darkness“, a book which documented life inside the notorious Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong during its peak in the late 1980s. When the high-rise slum was cleared and demolished soon after in 1993, this collection of photographs, interviews and essays became a eulogy of sorts, becoming one of the key texts on the most densely populated place the world has ever seen.

Two decades later, Girard and Lambot have revisited the book – and to fund this new edition, they have turned to Kickstarter.

Read on after the break to find out what’s new in this edition and how you can help fund the book.

A Collection of Striking Soviet Bus Stop Designs

Pitsunda, Abkhazia. Image Courtesy of herwigphoto.com

Over a decade ago on a cycling trip across Europe, photographer Christopher Herwig stumbled upon a curious phenomenon that would become his obsession for years: bus stops. Curiously for a regime usually associated – both architecturally and otherwise – with uniformity and with sameness, the bus stops built by the Soviet Republic display remarkable diversity and creativity. Herwig made it his mission to photograph as many of these remarkable structures as possible, travelling through Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Russia; Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and KazakhstanUkraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Abkhazia.

Now complete, Herwig has launched a Kickstarter to turn this remarkable collection of photographs into a limited edition book, which he describes as “the most mind-blowing collection of creative bus stop design from the Soviet era ever assembled.” Check out some of the images after the break.

How We Can Code Democracy Into the Design Process

A scheme to paint a whole in Rio de Janeiro, successfully funded via in October. Image Courtesy of Painting’s Kickstarter Page

In this interview with Grasp Magazine Tim Brown, the CEO of IDEO, explains his belief that in order to develop solutions to the complex problems found in cities, the only successful approach is from the bottom-up. In order to make this possible, he says, we need to democratize the design process by encouraging and empowering more people to engage in design, by operating with ‘codes’ rather than ‘blueprints’ which invite further contribution. Platforms like Kickstarter are one way that this process is already in motion. You can read the full article here.

Kickstarter: REM

REM Screen Shot from Casa De Musica Porto. Image © Tomas Koolhaas

UPDATE: REM’s Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded! 

There are only three days left for you to help fund the most highly-anticipated documentary about the legendary REM. Directed by the architect’s son, Tomas Koolhaas, the film will explore an unprecedented perspective on what gives Koolhaas’ work function and purpose: how it is used by people. Learn more and donate to Koolhaas’ campaign here on Kickstarter.  

Four Architectural Innovations Make Time’s Top 25 Inventions For 2013

The Infinity Tower by . Image Courtesy of fastcodesign.com

Last week Time Magazine released their list of the top 25 inventions of 2013. The list covers both fun and life-changing new ideas, covering everything from the Cronut to the Artificial Pancreas – but there are also four architectural innovations that made the prestigious list. Find out more about them after the break.

NYIT Students Turn Plastic Bottles Into Disaster Relief

Last week’s devastating typhoon in the Philippines has reminded designers of the ongoing challenge of creating safe, temporary shelters when natural disasters hit. Crates of food and water are some of the first types of aid delivered to these ravaged areas; so what if these resources could be designed to also provide shelter and minimize waste? The New York Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture asked just that question and came up with a solution: SodaBIB, a new type of shipping pallet that would allow commonly used plastic bottles to be used for shelter.

A Kickstarter Campaign to Paint Entire Favela in Rio de Janeiro

Painting: Rio Cruzeiro, realized in 2008. Image Courtesy of Painting’s Page

Dutch duo Haas and Hahn gained fame in 2005 for painting a few houses of Rio Janeiro’s favelas in a palate of bright hues. Now they’re back again, this time with a Kickstarter Campaign to raise the funds to paint the rest of the favela in the hopes of further transforming this crime-ridden community.

The Never-Before-Seen Interviews from Helvetica/Objectified/Urbanized

In his three-part series, composed of the films Helvetica, Objectified and Urbanized, Gary Hustwit explored the effect that design has on our everyday life. However, in the process of making these documentaries, he only used about 3% of the interview footage he collected. Now he has launched a kickstarter campaign to fund a book that will make his 100 hours of interview footage available in its entirety. Click here to back his project and make this book a reality.