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Crowdfunding: The Latest Architecture and News

Cooper Union Students Campaign to Keep Architecture Education Free

With the news earlier this year that The Cooper Union in New York will, for the first time in 155 years, begin charging tuition fees to students in 2014, the existing students at its Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture are taking steps to ensure that it stays true to the meritocratic principles on which it was founded. To achieve this, they have launched the One Year Fund, an attempt to crowdsource $600,000 in order to cover the tuition fees of the incoming students in 2014.

Read more about the One Year Fund, and how it fits into the students' larger aims, after the break.

The People's Architect: Dutch Residents Pay Tribute by Crowdfunding Future Piet Blom Museum

"Architecture is more than creating a place to live," stated the late Dutch architect, Piet Blom, "you create a society." Till his death in 1999, Blom designed homes and urban schemes as if to reject the stern, coldness of post-war Modernism in light of a warmer, more human architecture. His drawings, diagrams and homes portray an affectionate commitment to reconcile elements of culture with the architecture around us. Characterized by his use of lively colors and equally expressive architectural geometries, project's such as the "Kasbah" and the cube houses in Rotterdam stand as testaments to his belief that architecture serves the people, not the other way around.

A true "People's Architect," Blom's work has endeared a growing number supporters, among these are residents who have lived in his houses and are hoping to garner donations to share these artifacts with the public. Ingeborg van der Aa, secretary of the Piet Blom Foundation, mentions that the initiative's mission is to promote recognition, new insight and appreciation with the hopes of encouraging a younger generation to be active creators of their society.

To learn more or contribute towards the Piet Blom Museum, visit there Indiegogo page here.

Follow us after the break for a rare collection of Blom's drawings. 

+ POOL Hits Goal, Becomes Largest Civic Project Ever Kickstarted

+ 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.

+ Pool Launches 'Tile by Tile' Kickstarter Campaign

+ Pool, the ambitious project to float a public swimming pool 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...

Fideicomiso: When Architects Become Developers (And Everybody Wins)

A decade before Kickstarter made "crowdfunding" a buzzword (particularly in architecture circles), a similar concept - going by a far more poetic name - was already alive and well in the streets of Buenos Aires. 

Fideicomiso is a system of development which gained popularity in Argentina after the financial crisis of 2001; banks crashed, the public grew wary of developers, and a more democratic system of development gained prevalence. Under fideicomiso, the architect himself takes on the risk of development; residents collect their assets and provide them to the architect, who buys the land, funds the project and oversees the design/construction.

Now, Elias Redstone, a researcher who took part in Venice Takeaway (Britain's Pavilion at last year's Venice Biennale) and spent time investigating this model in Argentina, has returned to his home country - and is anxious to see if this system could be applied in Recession-struck Britain.

Read more about this revolutionary model of development, after the break...

Luchtsingel / ZUS + Hofbogen BV

Text description provided by the architects. The Luchtsingel is a pedestrian footbridge in Rotterdam that is being realized by crowdfunding, an exciting new means of funding in which the public donates money via an online platform (essentially investing in an unrealized idea) in order to make a project reality. The Luchtsingel, which uses the slogan "the more you donate, the longer the bridge", has resonated with the public imagination and surpassed its initial funding goals, becoming an important part of Rotterdam's urban rejuvenation.

Courtesy of ZUS Courtesy of ZUS © Design at News © Ossip van Duivebode + 12

Read more about the unusual birth of this public bridge, after the break...

BD Bacatá: The World's First Crowdfunded Skyscraper

Kickstarter, a site based on the seductive idea of “crowdfunding” – in which consumers collectively invest in a product in order for it to become reality – has taken on a life of its own. From straightforward consumer products (like a cool watch) to creative projects (Roman Mars’ radio show) and even to large-scale Urbanism projects (including an entire riverwater pool), Kickstarter has evolved to finance ever more complex, ambitious, and risky endeavors.

But are there limits? Can you harness the purchasing power of the public to “crowdfund” anything? To, say, design/build a city?

Well, if Colombia’s BD Bacatá building, the first ever crowdfunded skyscraper, is anything to go by – the answer would seem to be yes.

More images of the first ever crowdfunded skyscraper, BD Bacatá, after the break…