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Crowdsourcing: The Latest Architecture and News

This Crowdsourced and Crowdfunded Pavilion in Ukraine Embodies the Collaborative Spirit

04:00 - 30 June, 2018
This Crowdsourced and Crowdfunded Pavilion in Ukraine Embodies the Collaborative Spirit, © Alexandr Burlaka
© Alexandr Burlaka

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.

Forensic Architecture to Create a 3D Simulation of the Grenfell Tower Fire with Crowdsourced Video

08:00 - 3 April, 2018

Since the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the people of London have been searching for an answer to the exact cause of the fire that killed 71 people. Now Forensic Architecture—the Goldsmiths, University of London-based research group headed by Eyal Weizman—seeks to aid in the search for answers with their new Grenfell Media Archive. This online crowdsourcing database intended to collect people's first-person accounts in order to map them onto a 3D model of the tower and analyze exactly what happened to the tower.

Izaskun Chinchilla Architects’ Organic Growth Pavilion Opens on Governors Island

08:00 - 23 June, 2015
Izaskun Chinchilla Architects’ Organic Growth Pavilion Opens on Governors Island, Organic Growth Pavilion. Image © Sergio Reyes
Organic Growth Pavilion. Image © Sergio Reyes

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 + 10

Prodigy Network Announces Winners of 17John Crowdsourcing Competition

00:00 - 16 June, 2014
Prodigy Network Announces Winners of 17John Crowdsourcing Competition, Public Space Winner: HUB / Pierre Levesque (Roof Terrace). Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network
Public Space Winner: HUB / Pierre Levesque (Roof Terrace). Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network

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

Rodrigo Nino: In Defense of Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding

00:00 - 24 April, 2014
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.'

Why Criticisms of Crowdsourcing Don't Add Up

01:00 - 19 April, 2014
Why Criticisms of Crowdsourcing Don't Add Up, Competition: Office Design for Startup, Singapore. 1st Prize: Cristian Traistaru, Romania. Image Courtesy of Cristian Traistaru
Competition: Office Design for Startup, Singapore. 1st Prize: Cristian Traistaru, Romania. Image Courtesy of Cristian Traistaru

Originally posted on ArchNewsNow as "Crowdsourcing Design: The End of Architecture, or a New Beginning?", this article by Michael J Crosbie examines the furore around crowdsourcing websites such as Arcbazar, explaining why the criticisms against it just don't stack up.

A few weeks ago, ArchNewsNow carried an article from the Orange County Register about the increasing popularity of “crowdsourcing” architectural design. You might already be familiar with the crowdsourcing concept: using the Internet to gather solutions to virtually any problem or task from people all over the world. The idea has been used to generate solutions to provide clean drinking water in third-world countries, to creating entire websites such as Wikipedia. Such activities are generally regarded as “disruptive,” in the parlance of the moment, in that they offer alternative ways of achieving a result that has traditionally been accomplished through other means. (ArchNewsNow is “disruptive” in the sense that it offers an alternative outlet for architectural news that impacts the traditional architectural publishing world of print media.)

Read on to find out why this "disruptive" new trend is nothing to fear

Is Arcbazar "The Worst Thing to Happen To Architecture Since the Internet Started"?

00:00 - 28 February, 2014
Is Arcbazar "The Worst Thing to Happen To Architecture Since the Internet Started"?, Crowdsourcing is gaining popularity worldwide, such as in the Strelka Institute's "What Moscow Wants" project, shown here. Image Courtesy of Strelka Institute
Crowdsourcing is gaining popularity worldwide, such as in the Strelka Institute's "What Moscow Wants" project, shown here. Image Courtesy of Strelka Institute

This article on the Orange County Register tackles the sensitive issue of the design crowdsourcing website, Arcbazar, a site described as "the worst thing to happen to architecture since the Internet started." On the one hand, Arcbazar seems to be driving down the earnings of talented designers, and could produce some rather suspect designs. On the other, it offers clients with low budgets access to an international group of designers, when they previously couldn't afford one at all. So, is Arcbazar good or bad for architecture? Read the full article hereto make your own decision.

Crowdfunding in Architecture: Game Changer or PR Game?

00:00 - 26 February, 2014
Crowdfunding in Architecture: Game Changer or PR Game?, The design for the 17 John Cotel in Manhattan. Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network
The design for the 17 John Cotel in Manhattan. Image Courtesy of Prodigy Network

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.

Strelka Institute Crowd-Sources Urban Design Ideas with "What Moscow Wants" Campaign

01:00 - 12 January, 2014
The Cultural Navigator. Image Courtesy of CITIZENSTUDIO bureau
The Cultural Navigator. Image Courtesy of CITIZENSTUDIO bureau

Among the biggest challenges facing city planners is to implement plans which are not just needed, but also popular. In a bid to address this common problem of democratic city design, the Strelka Institute developed What Moscow Wants, an online platform designed to crowdsource ideas for the development of Moscow.

What Moscow Wants consists of a three-step process: residents first propose ideas on the website (ranging from the prosaic suggestion of a standardized city-wide parking bollard, to the outlandish idea of an underwater museum in the Moscow River); next, local architectural practices chose suggestions which they felt they could contribute a solution to and posted their proposals to the website; finally, the most popular choices were presented by the architects at the Moscow Urban Forum from the 5-7th of December.

Read on after the break to see a selection of the most popular projects

Playground with a Meandering Path. Image Courtesy of Megabudka bureau Bridge City. Image Courtesy of Sergey Shkepu, Denis Varan Playbox. Image Courtesy of Buromoscow bureau Reconstruction of Novyy Arbat. Image Courtesy of Darya Onohova + 28

SOM & CASE Launch AEC Industry's First Crowd-sourced, Web-based Resource for Sharing Innovative Tools & Technologies

00:00 - 17 April, 2013
SOM & CASE Launch AEC Industry's First Crowd-sourced, Web-based Resource for Sharing Innovative Tools & Technologies, Courtesy of CASE Inc
Courtesy of CASE Inc

SOM and CASE has formally launched AEC-APPS, the first crowd-sourced, web-based library for applications used by architects, engineers and construction professionals. This is a one-of-a-kind initiative in the AEC Industry and is a non-profit online community that allows digital tool users and toolmakers to share ideas, tips and resources covering a wide array of applications, ranging from commercially-marketed products to user-created scripts and utilities. After months of beta testing, the site currently hosts more than 500 users who have posted 800 apps that can be used in the design, construction and operation of buildings.

Read more about this new initiative after the break.

Luchtsingel / ZUS + Hofbogen BV

01:00 - 19 March, 2013
Luchtsingel / ZUS + Hofbogen BV, © Ossip van Duivebode
© Ossip van Duivebode

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

10:30 - 26 September, 2012

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…

Can you Crowdsource a City?

11:00 - 10 May, 2012
A screenshot of the Video for the City 2.0, the 2012 TED Prize Winner, which aims to use crowdsourcing technology to rebuild our cities. Photo via Atlantic Cities.
A screenshot of the Video for the City 2.0, the 2012 TED Prize Winner, which aims to use crowdsourcing technology to rebuild our cities. Photo via Atlantic Cities.

Pop-Up,” “DIY,” “Kickstarter” “LQC” (That’s lighter, quicker, cheaper for the unfamiliar). Urbanisms of the People have been getting awfully catch-phrasey these days. What all these types of DIY Urbanisms share is a can-do spirit, a “Hacker” mentality: people are taking back their cities, without any “expert” help.

Unfortunately, of course, this mindset creates an anti-establishment (often, anti-architect) antagonism that would render any wide-spread change nigh impossible. Yes, the DIY movement, facilitated by the use of technology, is excellent for getting people involved, for encouraging important, innovative ideas – in the short-term.

As Alexandra Lange recently pointed out in her post “Against Kickstarter Urbanism,” technology is not a “magic wand,” and crowdsourcing initiatives often fall short in the day-to-day, nitty-gritty work of a large-scale, long-term urban project.

But while technology certainly has its limitations, its potential to facilitate connection and communication is unparalleled. What is vital, however, is that the technology enhance, not replace, our physical relationships. Instead of using online platforms as divisive or purely conceptual forums, they must becomes tools of transparency and trust-building, mediators of a conversation that invests and connects all parties on the ground.