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Architecture crowd-sourcing website criticised

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Architects have slammed a ‘threatening’ new crowd-sourcing website in the US which promises to reduce clients’ costs

Launched by Harvard University graduates in 2010, the arcbazar website allows clients to run their own design competitions and ‘crowd source’ freely submitted design solutions. Only the three finalists receive a fee, with the website taking a 10 per cent cut of the overall fee pot.

Nick Willson of Nick Willson Architects said the company placed ‘no weight on value’, adding: ‘It is unfair to get designers to provide free ideas.’

Cody Gaynor, managing director of Space Craft Architects, said the service – which is open to students, designers and architects, whether licensed or unlicensed – was ‘based on the perception that the cost of design is “astonishing”, and that one’s money would be better spent on a new dishwasher than a professional designer’.

RCKa director Russell Curtis questioned whether the website was crowd-sourcing design at all. ‘It’s a term usually applied to an altruistic enterprise, whereas this seems designed as a vehicle to reduce design fees. The horror expressed in the website’s show reel at a typical 15 [per cent] design fee is testament to this.’

However, arcbazar founder Imdat As said the company aimed to ‘give easy access to high-quality architectural design solutions’.

‘Arcbazar does absolutely not ask any designer to pitch their design ideas for free. Every project is paid by the client according to the scale and type of architectural challenge. We do not allow any project to run without the award money being secured.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • How long before something like this is setup in the u.k? Its the beginning of the end! Lots of architects competing for work were the client I would assume is setting the fee.

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