“The Revolution Has Begun: How Kickstarter Is Changing Architecture
By David Hill. October 18, 2012.
How do you raise money for a civic design project these days? You can go the traditional route—apply for a grant, make a pitch to city officials, befriend a wealthy patron—or, you can try your hand at crowdfunding. A growing number of architects are doing just that, turning to Kickstarter (see our curated profile here), the popular crowdfunding website for creative types, to generate both cash and buzz. It’s an approach that makes a lot of sense in today’s limping economy. Read more.
Take the Lowline. That’s the nickname for a proposed underground park that would be built in a former trolley terminal, unused since 1948, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Designer James Ramsey discovered the space several years ago and immediately saw its potential for a kind of subterranean High Line—the popular park built on an abandoned rail trestle. Ramsey and his partner, Dan Barasch, presented their idea to a receptive Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which controls the space, but they realized they needed to build community support to take the project to the next level.
That’s where Kickstarter comes in. Earlier this year, Ramsey and Barasch created a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000, which would pay for a full-scale model of the park. Depending on the amount pledged, backers would receive T-shirts, tote bags, even a gourmet dinner prepared by Ramsey (three backers qualified for that perk).
“The response was overwhelming,” Ramsey says. “We hit our goal in eight days.” In fact, they raised $155,186, more than enough to pay for construction of a model, which went on display in a Manhattan warehouse for one week in September.
“Kickstarter was transformative for us,” Ramsey says. “It wasn’t just a way to raise money. It also functioned as a kind of marketing tool for a grassroots campaign.” Ramsey believes that crowd funding has the potential to be transform the way civic projects are financed. “Instead of one crotchety, crabby developer calling all the shots,” he says, “the client is thousands and thousands of people who care about the project. It’s much more democratic.”
Via: Architizer & massurban
Image: Matter Architecture Practice