Kickstarter and Architecture

Of all the cool new websites I’ve seen in recent years, Kickstarter, founded in 2009, may very well be the coolest. A unique platform for crowdfunding, Kickstarter allows creatives in need of funding (note: not charities / non profits, this platform is strictly for ‘projects’) to find that funding through a large audience relatively quickly.

While one of the more obvious and common uses of the platform is to help musicians pay for studio time, there are also other types of creatives out there making amazing use of this tool. (I first discovered Kickstarter via a friend linking to Coffee Joulies‘ project mid-funding.)

Recently I discovered two local projects, one now funded, another still underway that are bringing cool architectural ideas to fruition right here in North Carolina:

The Leaf – Bringing Shade to Durham’s Central Park

The Leaf - Conceptual Rendering
The Leaf – Conceptual Rendering

The Leaf is a project being undertaken by a grad school design / build studio at NC State’s College of Design. The project is located in the middle of Durham’s Central Park, and will be a very cool addition to a very design-focused neighborhood.

This project was successfully funded and is under construction right now, with an expected completion later in the summer / early fall.

The Leaf - structural steel in place
The Leaf – structural steel place

Wear You Live – A CityFabric Project

City Fabric - women's t shirt

City Fabric - women's t shirt

Wear You Live is a project set to offer a line of figure-ground maps of different American cities, offered up by CityFabric. In addition to being a nice fashion statement and a clever play on words, this project proposes aims to spark a dialog about the spaces we live in, and what makes that urban fabric so important.

This project is currently taking backers and is about halfway to their goal.

A CityFabric Exhibition

A CityFabric Exhibition

A key to making the KickStarter projects successful, is offering incentives for folks to back a project. Some projects have more straightforward incentives (copies of a book, or album), but in the case of an architectural project, things are a little more difficult. Both of these projects include t-shirts enabling an backer to show off their support around town, but I’d like to see a more direct connection between the goal of such a project, and the reward.

Obviously a person can’t just give away a building… Or can they?

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