Crowdsourced Architecture: Many Designing for One

You’ve probably heard of crowdsourcing, the practice of inviting the public to participate in some kind of project, usually online. But did you know that architecture can be crowdsourced?

Actually, design competitions are a form of crowdsourcing, and those have been around forever. Whenever a group of designers each tries to design something, or contribute to the design, as in a competition, crowdsourcing happens.



But architecture also has an online crowdsourcing option. Arcbazar, founded in 2010, is an online architecture competition site. Individuals seeking designs for projects upload basic info for the project, and designers compete to create a winning design.

The top three designs, as selected by the individual seeking the design, share in a monetary award, generally in the hundreds of dollars. According to the site, an average of nine designs are submitted for each competition.

Designers are not charged to participate in a competition, and anyone can join the fray, not just registered architects.

Crowdsourcing in architecture is not just about design competition, though. Wikipedia is a crowdsourced reference work, since millions of individuals can add information on any topic – OpenBuildings is architecture’s version of Wikipedia.

OpenBuildings is similar to Wikipedia in that it contains volumes of information submitted by the public; the key difference is that it’s entirely about architecture.

OpenBuildings is addictive. Type in the name of a building you’re interested in and you’ll get a blast of information, including the basics of the project, a narrative description, photos, a map, and more. Researching buildings has never been easier!

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