All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding: The Latest Architecture and News

This Crowdsourced and Crowdfunded Pavilion in Ukraine Embodies the Collaborative Spirit

In Dnipro, Ukraine, sits a unique multi-purpose pavilion rich with historical roots and design influence. Stage is a collaborative project between architects from Ukraine, Poland, Denmark and Italy, crowdsourced and crowdfunded by the citizens of Dnipro. The site for the pavilion has been centered around community involvement throughout the complex history of Dnipro, but it has laid unused for over 70 years.

Stage is an emanation of the rich and vibrant culture and was built to accommodate the needs of dozens of artists, poets, painters and musicians, who previously relied on various spaces scattered around the city. Their "collective creative energy" was used to reactivate the lost community space. Stage was recently awarded Special Mention in the 2018 European Prize for Urban Public Space.

© Alexandr Burlaka
© Alexandr Burlaka

Read on for more about Stage and the collaborative effort that made this initiative possible.

This 3D Printer, Designed Specifically for Architects, Is Surprisingly Easy to Use

Have you ever spent hours calibrating the nozzle of a 3D printer or preparing a print-ready file – only to find that the model has failed because of a missed zero-thickness wall? With this in mind, the Platonics Arka 3D printer currently being developed in Helsinki, Finland—has one simple goal: to remove all unnecessary set-up and technical processes by means of intelligent automation and, as a result, almost entirely eliminate the wasted time that architects and designers spend calibrating printers, or working up print-ready files.

© Platonics © Platonics © Platonics © Platonics + 9

Socialist Modernism on Your Smartphone: This Research Group is Raising Funds for a Crowdsourcing Mobile App

Slovak Radio building, Bratislava, Slovakia. Built 1967-83. Architect: Štefan Svetko, Štefan Ďurkovič, Barnabáš Kissling. Photo by Dumitru Rusu. Image © BACU
Slovak Radio building, Bratislava, Slovakia. Built 1967-83. Architect: Štefan Svetko, Štefan Ďurkovič, Barnabáš Kissling. Photo by Dumitru Rusu. Image © BACU

Recent years have seen a rapidly increasing interest in the architecture of the former Soviet Union. Thanks to the internet, enthusiasts of architectural history are now able to discover unknown buildings on a daily basis, and with the cultural and historical break caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, each photograph of a neglected and decaying edifice can feel like an undiscovered gem. However, often it can be difficult to find more information about these buildings and to understand their place in the arc of architectural history.

That was the reason behind the creation of Socialist Modernism, a research platform started by BACU - Birou pentru Artă şi Cercetare Urbană (Bureau for Art and Urban Research) which "focuses on those modernist trends from Central and Eastern Europe which are insufficiently explored in the broader context of global architecture." Socialist Modernism already consists of a website on which BACU has cataloged a number of remarkable and little-known buildings. However, now the team is raising funds on Indiegogo's Generosity platform for the next step in their research project. With this money they hope to create an app on which users can add new sites and buildings to the database.

Bus stop in Tajikistan, built in the late 70s. Photo by Dumitru Rusu. Image © BACU 25 May Sportcenter, now the Sportsko rekreativno poslovni centar, Belgrade, Serbia. Built 1973-75. Architect: Ivan Antic. Photo by Dumitru Rusu. Image © BACU Housing complex, Manhattan, Wroclaw, Poland. Built 1968-1973. Architect: Jadwiga Hawrylak-Grabowska. Photo Dumitru Rusu. Image © BACU Public utilities building for telephone and postal services, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Built 1966-69. Architect: Vasile Mitreaphoto. Photo by Dumitru Rusu. Image © BACU + 43

Fragments of Metropolis: Documenting the Expressionist Heritage of the Rhine-Ruhr Region

European Expressionism in architecture has, until now, suffered from neglect. Following a successful campaign for the first volume in a planned seven-part series which focused on Berlin, a new version of the Fragments of Metropolis series—which covers with the Rhein-Ruhr region of Europe—will document 155 buildings from Bochum, Bottrop, Dortmund, Duisburg to Düsseldorf, Cologne, Münster and Oberhausen. This latest volume is currently being crowdfunded.

How I Developed Ergo Kiwi, an Ergonomic Craft Knife that Your Fingers Will Thank You For

If you've been through architecture school you're probably wary of craft knives, which can puncture the skin of an non-alert, caffeinated student at a fraction of a second's notice. Even if you manage to avoid the hospital, though, these scourges of the studio still know how to hurt you: their designs are the antithesis of ergonomics, making a marathon modeling session a mighty endurance battle against hand cramps and joint pain. Aiming for a more comfortable solution, architecture graduate Sean Riley developed the Ergo Kiwi, and today is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help bring the product to market.

In addition, Riley has also meticulously cataloged his design and production process. At ArchDaily, we thought it gave a fascinating insight into not only the design of Ergo Kiwi, the but the steps involved in developing and bringing to market a convincing product. As a result, we invited him to share his story.

Courtesy of Sean Riley © Christian Borger Courtesy of Sean Riley © Christian Borger + 27

Ian Martin is Crowdfunding for 'Epic Space', a Compendium of his Satirical Columns

Ian Martin is an Emmy award-winning comedy writer who has been part of the architectural writing establishment since, it feels, time immemorial (which, in this case, is 1990). His satirical column in the British weekly Architects' Journal provides a spread that every reader looks forward to and now, after accumulating over a quarter of a century's writing, is crowdfunding to compile a compendium entitled Epic Space.

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.

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.

Crowdfunding Campaign Begins for Homeless Shelter Pods

After winning the 6th annual Space for New Visions competition by FAKRO last month, James Furzer of Spatial Design Architects has begun a crowdfunding campaign on Indigogo for his project, “Homes for the Homeless”. The project proposes a series of modular pods which attach to existing buildings, providing a safe space for a night’s rest for the homeless. Extending beyond mere habitation, James Furzer hopes to change the way that the public sees the homeless – of which there are over 750 on any given night in London alone.

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?"

Own a Pied-à-Terre in the Heart of Middle Earth with the "Realise Minas Tirith" Campaign

Are you looking for the perfect walled city to lay down your roots? Look no further than Minas Tirith, J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional capital of Gondor, located in mountainous and remote Middle Earth. Except, if an ambitious group of British architects get their way, it might not be fictional for much longer. With their plans to construct a replica of Minas Tirith in the non-fictional hills of southern England, the Lord of the Rings-inspired community promises to be a bustling center of activity occupied by the most diehard Middle Earth supporters. This is only possible, of course, if the founders of Realise Minas Tirith are able to fundraise £1.85 Billion ($2.86bn USD) within 60 days on Indiegogo.

Help Rebuild a.gor.a Architects' Temporary Dormitories

Last year on ArchDaily, we featured a.gor.a Architects' Temporary Dormitories in Mae Sot, a series of low-cost shelters that help this town on the Thai border accommodate the influx of Burmese refugees from neighboring Myanmar. But tragically, last month a fire from a nearby sugar cane plantation burned down all four dormitories, negating the generous funding from the Embassy of Luxembourg in Bangkok, preventing the plan to recoup money by recycling the dormitories when they were no longer needed, and of course destroying much-needed accommodation for refugees. To make the most of a bad situation, the architecture firm has turned to Indiegogo in an attempt to raise $5,500 and rebuild at least two of the dormitories. You can visit their Indiegogo page here to help.

How Simple Earth Blocks Could Revolutionize Construction for the African Island of Pemba

Pemba, a small Tanzanian island off of Africa's Eastern coast, is undergoing something of a construction boom. With half of the population aged under 30 and a culture in which a man must build a house before he can get married, a wave of new informal housing is sweeping the island. Historically, construction methods used by the islanders have been problematic: traditional wattle & daub construction typically survives for just 5-7 years; its replacement, bricks made of coral, not only require large amounts of energy to extract but have a devastating effect on the environment; and modern cement bricks most be imported at high costs.

Sensing an opportunity to help the islanders at a critical time in their development, Canadian NGO Community Forests International is promoting a solution that combines the economy and sustainability of wattle & daub with the durability of masonry: Interlocking Stabilized Compressed Earth Blocks (ISCEBs). Find out how this simple technology can help the island community after the break.

Prodigy Network Announces Winners of 17John Crowdsourcing Competition

Prodigy Network have selected the winners of the crowdsourcing design competitions for their 17John 'Cotel' in New York, including winners for the design of the public interior spaces and the private rooms. The Cotel concept is intended to meet the changing needs of the modern business traveler; providing living spaces somewhere between a long-term apartment and a short term hotel, but also flexible spaces that can be used for work and meetings.

The crowdsourced competitions were run via Prodigy Network's Design Lab website, and judging was conducted with a mixture of public voting and jury selection. "The winners of the 17John competition were intuitive to the needs of travelers, creative in the interactive spaces and understood the function of extended stay residences," said Prodigy Network Founder Rodrigo Nino. Read on after the break to see the winning proposals.

Public Space Winner: HUB / Pierre Levesque (Co-Working area). Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network Public Space Winner: HUB / Pierre Levesque (Lobby). Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network Private space winner: 'Weco, the Nomadic Company" / Vianney Lacotte. Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network Public Space Winner: HUB / Pierre Levesque (Co-Working area). Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network + 20

A New Way to 'Make Architecture Happen'

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 crowdfunding 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.

Liverpool Becomes Latest City With High Line Plans

Thanks to a group called Friends of the Flyover, Liverpool has become the latest city with aspirations to build its own High Line-style elevated parkway. The group have raised over £40,000 on the civic crowdfunding website Spacehive to conduct a feasibility study on the elevated Churchill Flyover, with the aim of creating a park, events space and cycle route. Liverpool Council currently has plans to demolish the flyover at a cost of £4 million - however they are said to be open to the proposal by Friends of the Flyover, who hope to show that they can deliver a better solution for around half the cost. You can read the full story on the Independent.

Rodrigo Nino: In Defense of Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding

The 17John Building in New York. Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network
The 17John Building in New York. Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network

As both crowdsourcing and crowdfunding gather momentum in the architecture world, they also gather criticism. The crowdsourcing design website Arcbazar, for example, has recently attracted critics who label it as “the worst thing to happen to architecture since the internet started.” A few months ago, I myself strongly criticized the 17John apartment-hotel in New York for stretching the definition of "crowdfunding" to the point where it lost validity, essentially becoming a meaningless buzzword.

In response to this criticism, I spoke to Rodrigo Nino, the founder of Prodigy Network, the company behind 17 John, who offered to counter my argument. Read on after the break for his take on the benefits of tapping into the 'wisdom of crowds.'

Crowdfunding in Architecture: Game Changer or PR Game?

Building off of the success of their crowdfunded BD Bacatá building in Colombia, the real estate group Prodigy Network has announced a plan to bring this same funding method to New York, with an apartment hotel in Manhattan named 17 John.

The project, a glassy rooftop extension to the existing art deco building at 17 John Street, has much in common with Prodigy Network's past projects: the same funding method as their skyscraper in Bogotá as well as the same designer, Winka Dubbeldam, head of the New York practice Archi-Techtonics. Dubbeldam also previously helped them to crowdsource ideas for the future development of Bogotá in the "My Ideal City" project.

However, when applied to the USA, this funding paradigm - which is so promising in Colombia - becomes twisted beyond recognition. Upon close inspection, 17 John more resembles the standard developer's model than anything else - and the claims of ethical superiority begin to melt away.