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KICKSTARTER Splash House


THE CREATORS: Design Workshop is an innovative studio that provides pro bono work to nonprofit organisations while giving graduate architecture students valuable work experience.


THE CONCEPT: The Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center in New York, offers children a place to play and learn. However, every summer, local children were being denied this facility when the recreation centre was turned into a temporary locker room site for the neighbouring Highbridge Park Swimming Pool. The aim of this project was to build a new pavilion for the park swimming pool so the recreation centre could be kept open for the children all year round. They asked for $15,000 on Kickstarter to buy building materials.


THE RESULTS: The project raised $16,493 from Kickstarter, with 232 backers. Construction is now complete and the pavilion has been reopened. When the pool is at capacity, Splash House’s sliding doors can close off the locker room, creating additional changing rooms. Another


feature is the water curtain, which acts as a shower for rinsing, and a water fun feature for children to play under. The structure is made from cedar, plywood and translucent corrugation that stretches from the ground across the roof, flooding the interior with light.


This is not the first time in history that potential audiences have been tapped to fund creativity; Kazmark argues that Beethoven was a pioneer of this approach when he pre-sold concert tickets to pay for new compositions. Even in the 21st century, Kickstarter isn’t the only company to apply the principle using the internet – the music and film industries have been at it for some time – however Kickstarter is the largest creative funding platform in the world and at September 2013, more than US$792m has been pledged through the website. Around 49,000 projects have been funded via 11 million pledges from 1,384,620 people. Kickstarter raises funds across 13 categories – from dance and food to theatre and technology


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CREATIVE PURPOSE The idea for Kickstarter was born in 2002. At that time, New Yorker Perry Chen was working in New Orleans and looking forward to the city’s annual Jazz Fest – so much so he thought it would be great to throw a concert during the festival. Chen, whose CV includes stints as an audio engineer, musician, writer, art gallery co-founder and day trader, was no stranger to either the arts or business, but unable to raise the funds to fly the artist he wanted from Europe, he was faced with fronting the money himself then trying to recoup it through ticket sales later on. In the end, he decided the whole venture was just too much of a risk to take on personally without backing.


“After the dust settled, he started thinking that there must be a way to get the audience involved with bringing [creative projects like this] to life,” says Kazmark, who has been with the company since its early days.


In 2005, Chen moved back to New York, and shared his idea with Yancey Strickler, a music journalist, and Charles Adler, a web designer. Together, they worked out how the concept would work online, and on 28 April 2009 they launched Kickstarter. One of the things that can make Kickstarter a more attractive option than more traditional forms of funding is that it’s not about investment, because ownership of the project stays with the creators. Crucially, Kickstarter also has


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