Architecture News: A Kickstarter for Cool Buildings

architecture news
(Photo: Make Architecture Happen)

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have revolutionized the way creative types raise money, with everyone from writers to filmmakers and video game designers using the sites to effectively reel in seed funding and get their dream projects off the ground. So it’s no surprise someone finally said “Hey, why don’t we do this for architecture?”

A new site called Make Architecture Happen is aiming to do just that for innovative, sustainable construction by allowing consumers and design enthusiasts to help projects they’d like to see happen. The vision is creative projects, especially those that might not ordinarily attract traditional investment dollars, will have a chance to succeed when people around the world get on board to make small donations.

Here’s how it works: Architects upload their vision, fans browse the site and then choose to donate to projects they want to support. Early projects seeking funds on the site include everything from a community church in South Africa, to an urban garden in Boston, to a prototype for an eco-friendly residence in Egypt.

See all the projects, or upload your own on Make Architecture Happen’s website.


Architecture News: Time to Print That House

3-D Print Canal House
Photo courtesy 3-D Print Canal House

3-D printing has been the buzz-term of the tech world for the past few years, with creative innovators designing custom machines that can print out everything, from iPad accessories, to car parts, jewelry and even food, at unbelievably fast speeds. So how long before we have a 3-D printed house?

The answer: not long at all.

Dutch architect Hans Vermuelen and his team at DUS Architects recently started construction on what they claim will be the world’s first 3-D printed house. Vermuelen’s team built their own printer— no surprise, it’s the largest such printer in the world—which churns out the building’s parts piece by piece, all large black blocks made from melted plastic. The pieces of the house will then be assembled like giant Lego blocks, with interlocking segments, eventually creating a replica of a classic Dutch canal house.

The architects hope their Amsterdam structure can serve as a blueprint for future construction methods that will cut out the time, energy and cost it takes to assemble and transport individual construction pieces.

Unfortunately you can’t print out your own 3-D house in minutes just yet. Vermuelen’s masterpiece will take a full three years to build, and is scheduled to be complete by 2017.


Swimming in the Subways

OXO Architect's Ghost Stations Swimming Pool Renderings
OXO Architect's Ghost Stations Swimming Pool Renderings
(Images: Manal Rachdi OXO Architects / Nicolas Laisne Architect)

If you thought the High Line was the world’s coolest reclaimed urban space, you may need to reconsider. Once again, Paris is poised to give NYC a run for its money in the realm of repurposed spaces. The City of Lights’ so-called “Ghost Stations” – abounded Metro train tunnels that have sat unused since before World War I – have long been an object of fascination for urban infrastructure aficionados. Like New York, Paris is rapidly running out of undeveloped land aboveground, so the mysterious tunnels may soon become an integral part of the city’s urban landscape.

OXO Architect's Ghost Stations Swimming Pool Renderings
(Images: Manal Rachdi OXO Architects / Nicolas Laisne Architect)

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, a former environment minister currently running for mayor of Paris, has unveiled an ambitious proposal to turn the subway tunnels into a series of sleek underground hotspots. The innovative mayoral candidate enlisted OXO Architects, a future-focused Parisian firm, to design a series of renderings depicting what the ghost stations would look like when re-imagined as art galleries, restaurants, clubs, concert halls, swimming pools and even underground parks a la the proposed “Low Line” on New York’s Lower East Side. The dreamy designs, with leafy green expanses, imitation sunlight, and, yes – lots of white subway tile, have stirred up attention around the world and caused many a Parisian design-lover to give Kosciusko-Morizet’s candidacy a second look.


It remains to be seen whether Parisians will really abandon their en plein air ambiance and breezy cafes for subterranean settings, but if OXO can produce real-life venues that match their eye-catching designs, you’d have to imagine they’ll be a hit.