Winners Selected in LifeEdited Competition To Design New York Apartment

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Can you crowdsource design? Can you run an international ideas competition online, with over 300 submissions, commenting, inviting change, watching schemes evolve, and then judge it? Evidently yes, because Graham Hill and the LifeEdited team at Jovoto just did it, and the results were amazing. Graham says:

"We were blown away by the number and quality of submissions and are extremely thankful to the incredible amount of time spent on putting them together. Creating a shortlist and picking the number one entry were extremely difficult tasks and we'd like to remind the reader, ultimately subjective ones. "

"The competition was keep up, you not only had to have a great scheme, you also had to do an incredible job in rendering it, explaining your rationale and even putting together compelling videos. There had been few examples of crowdsourcing architecture and we believe that this project proves that, at least at this scale, it's absolutely possible. "

"There were some incredible ideas that came out of this competition and it was fascinating to see how many different approaches there could be for one small rectangular space. "

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The winner:
One size fits all.

Juror's comments:

"This idea is very smart in that it creates layers of use that are both original, and practical. For example the bed unfolding over the couch makes a lot of sense: when in bed the couch is not needed...The singular moving partition is a brilliant move, as many new uses are achieved with just one single transformation. The living room and couch set-up is quite luxurious considering the overall size of the apartment, and there resides the genius of this entry: each separate living function seems to maximize the entire space, rather than be confined to a compromised space." - Yves Behar, Fuse Project

"This is the best plan that balances clean and timeless aesthetics, cost effective replicability that will be attractive to both the Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers alike. The plan achieves most for the requirements - with a few modifications - it could be close to perfect! I would love to stay here and entertain my friends." -
Darin Dinsmore, Crowdbrite

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Honorable Mention: Living in the Future

Jurors' comments:

"Design is a response to a problem, and for it to be replicable, there has to be more than just drawings but a rationale. Of all the schemes presented, this one explained what it was trying to do. It is not the prettiest, but every inch of it is thought out. That is what makes it a model for others; It is livable and has lessons that can be applied anywhere. Someone will walk into the glass wall and break their nose, but other than that it just stands out above the rest." - Lloyd Alter, Treehugger

"This design, I believe, takes more of the human factors into account and provides a less sterile environment that would be more accepted (not just hypothetically replicable) across more cultures. Of the finalists, it was ultimately where I could envision living. Living spaces -- while optimizable via science -- are a subjective art, and I felt like being able to say "I could live there" was one of the most important criteria." - Tim Ferriss, Four Hour Workweek

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Honorable Mention: Surfaces

Jurors' comments:

"I love the design style and the complete openness of the rooms. It feels really big and luxurious. If I were choosing for myself, this would be the one for me. I think like many of the top rated/voted submissions, this meets all of the requirements, but I think this gets an honorable mention because of the ease in which Gorlov's designs can be duplicated and applied to many small urban spaces. And the cherry on top is the luxe feel of everything. Nothing feels small here." - SuChin Pak

"Surfaces' clear diagram of programatic north and south walls is executed beautifully to maximize space in open and closed postions. It provides for all of the brief's major requirements very well and remains an elegant and inviting space in all positions. There is an effortlessness to the design where no function seems cramped or awkward. Achieving a sense of ease in a space this tight deserves to win, but the success of this design is also its ability to be replicated. The design wisely avoids the eastern wall, and packs the solid program to the west. The wall units along the north and south can be customized, replicated and installed into any apartment with a straight wall. Great job!" - Mark Kushner, Architizer

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As a juror, (and a submitter of some ideas at the beginning to help get the ball rolling) I found the whole exercise fascinating. Most architectural competitions have a single end point, a mass of submissions that all come in at the last second, and there is no give and take, discussion or evolution through the process. Here, some entries got hundreds of comments, did any number of iterations and changes, resulting in a far more coherent and comprehensive group of entries by the end of the competition. It is a participatory process as much as it is a competition.

The sponsors were a big attraction, and the jurors were pretty impressive too, including:

* Lloyd Alter - Treehugger
* Yves Behar - Fuse Project
* Susan Casey - O Magazine
* Allan Chochinov - Core77
* David de Rothschild - Adventure Ecology
* Darin Dinsmore - Crowdbrite
* Tim Ferriss - 4 Hour Workweek
* Ashok Gupta - NRDC
* Paul Hawken - Author
* Graham Hill - LifeEdited
* Zem Joaquin - Ecofabulous
* Mike Kisch - Cisco
* Mark Kushner - Architizer
* William McDonough - William McDonough + Partners
* Suchin Pak - MTV
* Ken Rother - Treehugger

I can confess that at the beginning, I had doubts that you could crowdsource design. But it worked. More at LifeEdited

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