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 favela in Rio de Janeiro, successfully funded via in October. Image Courtesy of Favela Painting’s Page

In this interview with Grasp Magazine Tim Brown, the CEO of , 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 campaign was successfully funded! 

There are only three days left for you to help fund the most highly-anticipated film about the legendary Rem Koolhaas: 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.

Kickstarter Campaign to Activate Vacant Storefronts in New York City

‘Play’. Image Courtesy of Architecture Commons

In an attempt to activate a vacant storefront in ’s , the miLES Storefront Transformer – a 6ft cube designed to “program any storefront” – is a versatile, movable set of furnishing and amenities designed by Architecture Commons. Seven individual pop-up interventions, curated by a collection of creative minds, would inhabit empty shops between November 4th and December 22nd 2013 if their Kickstarter campaign is successful.

Kickstarter: London Skyline Reimagined as Chess Set

© Courtesy of Skyline Chess

Imagine your city skyline as a chessboard battleground; which landmark would declare itself as the almighty king and who serve as its faithful pawn? Well, according to British designers Ian Flood and Chris Prosser, ’s Canary Wharf, Renzo Piano’s Shard and Norman Foster’s Gherkin would all deserve high ranks while the ubiquitous London terraced house fulfilled the role of the pawn.

After replacing their own standard chess set with 3D-printed models of their city’s landmarks, Flood and Prosser have established the campaign “Skyline Chess” with the hopes of expanding their idea beyond London’s skyline. If the campaign is successful, architectural enthusiasts worldwide will have the opportunity to select any of the world’s most iconic cities (Shanghai vs. Paris?) for an ultimate duel of chess.

Learn more about the campaign here on the Kickstarter.

Marina Abramovic Launches Kickstarter to Build OMA-Designed Performance Center

Marina Abramovic, one of the most seminal performance artists of our time, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the transformation of an abandoned theater into an interdisciplinary performance and education center: Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI).

The institute, designed by Shohei Shigematsu and Koolhaas of OMA, will be dedicated to the presentation and preservation of long durational work. Visitors will spend a minimum of six hours partaking in the Abramovic Method, a method that helps participants “develop skills for observing long durational performances through a series of exercises and environments designed to increase awareness of their physical and mental experience in the moment.” Needless to say, MAI will be unlike any other institute in existence.

A virtual tour of OMA’s design and more information after the break…

+ POOL Hits Goal, Becomes Largest Civic Project Ever Kickstarted

Courtesy of , PlayLab

+ POOL, the project (initiated by a duo of young architects) to float a public swimming pool in New York’s Hudson River, has reached its latest kickstarter goal - making it the largest civic project to ever be crowdfunded online. As Architizer’s Karen Wong reports, it’s a remarkable gamechanger for architects (a profession where success often comes well into one’s golden years) as well as public space in general: “It’s a resounding demonstration of the public’s belief in young architects to rethink public space and manifest the untapped capital of waterways to benefit the common good.” Read the full article here

LOST UTOPIAS: Photographer Jade Doskow’s Kickstarter Campaign

Montreal 1967 World’s Fair, “Man and His World,” Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Dome With Solar Experimental House, 2012. Image © Jade Doskow

UPDATE: Kickstarter goal met! Since 2007, Jade Doskow has been photographing the remains of World’s Fair Sites: once iconic spots that displayed the ambitions/ideals of their eras, now, often forgotten and left to decay. Now, for the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair in New York (in just a few weeks time), Doskow has a new goal: to shoot all the iconic North American fair sites – from Seattle’s Space Needle to San Francisco’s Treasure Island. To do so, she’s launched a Kickstarter campaign: LOST UTOPIAS. See more of Doskow’s stunning images, and find out how to support her Kickstarter campaign, after the break…

+ Pool Launches ‘Tile by Tile’ Kickstarter Campaign

© Family,

+ Pool, the ambitious project to float a public swimming in New York’s East River, has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund “Tile by Tile,” what will be the largest crowdfunded civic project to date. Those who back the pool will be rewarded by having their name engraved on one of the pool’s 70,000 tiles.

+ Pool will filter the river water to give users a clean, safe yet natural environment to swim in and provide space for all types of “swimmers, bathers and hanger-outers” in each of its four sections. The current campaign’s primary aim is to fund an in-situ floating test lab which will, for the first time, prove the feasibility of filtering river water by testing various potential filtration systems.

Read more about the + Pool and the growing trend towards crowdfunding after the break…

2013 MAPEO Workshop Hopes to Explore Experimental Mapping Techniques

Courtesy of The Borderless Workshop

A new Kickstarter campaign is hoping to raise a goal of $3,500 to fund the second annual – a workshop that focuses on community mapping and brings diverse people and minds together to think about cities within the US-Mexican border region. By rallying individuals from different disciplines with different backgrounds, MAPEO aims to “learn more about our own cities, evaluate urban challenges and come up with ideas on how to improve our life in cities in a very quick and meaningful exercise.”

Kickstarter Campaign Aims to Transform Denver Parking Lot into Outdoor Classroom

Courtesy of

Architecture for Humanity-Denver is seeking to raise money for the transformation of a museum parking lot into an outdoor classroom for children in need. The goal of Denver’s Museo de las Americas is to educate the community about the diversity of Latino Americano art and culture from ancient to contemporary through innovative exhibitions and programs, but the museum is lacking the necessary space for its increasingly popular youth summer camp.

Read more about the project and how you can help after the break.

Kickstarter: New Model Library in Africa

With only 3% of ’s 1 billion population capable of accessing broadband internet and the wealth of information it provides, a multidisciplinary team, led by a strategic partnership between Architecture for Humanity, Gensler, Son & Sons, Librarians Without Borders, has embarked on an ambitious campaign to create a network of low-cost, digitally powered, revenue-generating libraries “deployed along the expanding fiber optic infrastructure in the developing world.”

If successful, Librii will become the first library to actively engage users as content creators, while operating on a sustainable business model and maximizing the potential of high-speed information exchange in developing markets.

Learn more about this initiative and support their Kickstarter campaing here

Kickstarter: BrickItUp!

BrickItUp is a kickstarter project, created by Jose Luis, that allows for simple and intuitive 3D modeling. Block by block, users can easily create 3D spaces and environments without any limitations. BrickItUp caters well to collaboration and allows users to work on a project live with each other. When working in groups, users are able to see what each person is working on in real-time, making distance a negligible factor in collaboration.

More on BrickItUp after the break.