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Architecture + Economic Crisis: Designers Get Creative During Cash-Strapped Times

Architizer's round up of five innovative design ideas developed in light of the economic crisis.

Architizer is hosting the world’s definitive architectural awards program, with 50+ categories and 200+ jurors. As part of an ongoing series, we’re spotlighting projects that fit the “Plus” categories, which tap into topical and culturally relevant themes. Today, in an effort to show you examples of good candidates for the Plus awards, we present five “Architecture + Economic Crisis” projects. To see a full list of categories and learn more about the awards, visit

This week on the Architizer site, we brought you our top 10 stalled or axed New York City projects, whose collective untimely demise was indicative of the financial crisis that has been decimating the economy (and architecture) these past few years. In case you missed the memo, we’ve fallen on hard times, and with the high cost of construction and development it comes as no surprise that the effects of the economic downturn continue to resonate throughout the architecture community.

For most architects the past few years have been a struggle (to say the least). But in the fight to survive, they have proven their worth time and again, answering problems with both innovation and resilience. The strictures and rigidities that have arisen from these dire straits have proven creative for these design leaders, who have managed, among other things, to develop cost-effective solutions without compromising functionality or aesthetics. The Architecture + Economic Crisis Award will recognize the best projects in this category.

Below are five projects developed in light of the economic crisis:

A proposal to fill stalled construction sites with plastic-sheathed installations that resemble giant ice sculptures and serve as multipurpose spaces.
New York City
Designed by Woods Bagot
Learn more about the project here.

SHIFTS Exhibition
On view this year at the Architecture Foundation, this show examined the economic crisis, specifically the consequences for architecture.
London, U.K.
Designed by Powerhouse Company and Hans Ibelings
Learn more about the project here.

MIMA House
A new, prefabricated modular home that allows owners to specify their design preferences using a digital program.
Designed by MIMA Architects
See more of this project on the Architizer database here.

This project entailed the conversion of an idle lot in Tribeca into a temporary park.
New York City
Designed by Interboro Partners and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects
See more of this project on the Architizer database here.

The Box Office
This project, located on an abandoned lot, features 12 offices/studio spaces constructed from 32 old shipping containers. It was built for $1.8 million.
Providence, Rhode Island
Designed by Distill Studio
Learn more about the project here.

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