Full interview - J. Aufner

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Johanna Aufner // architect and project manager by "Alles wird Gut" architects

„Architecture IS crowd funding.”

“Crowd funding is a tool to USE - because it is there.”

“This should have happened at a much earlier stage in the process. … If I ever have to use crowd funding again in the future, this enormous public relations machinery has to start earlier, so you get a much better overview of the resources you will possibly get access to."

1) The hotel used to be a residential care home for the elderly by the institution CARITAS. Why was it relocated?

Because of the bad condition of the building a new home was built for the former inhabitants. For a short time of period the building was not used. The inspiration for the new hotel came afterwards. The CARITAS SOCIAL BUSINESS used the opportunity to realise their former hotel project in the empty building. They got a five year permission to proof that the hotel project works.

2) Why did the hotel only get permission for five years and what does that mean?

Because of the low budget (1.5 million euro) and the bad condition of the building, a renovation for a longer use would have been too expensive. They only requested a five year permission to run the hotel, so the house could be used, although not all the necessary works for a complete renovation had to be done and it is also not necessary that the building is state of the art (not every room is a fire area etc.).

3) The budget is 1.5 million euro. Are the 50.000 euros from crowd funding included in this budget or is it additional?

The architects from AWG do not have any influence in the cf budget. Investments were turned down because of the low budget – from this point of view the 50.000 euro make a big difference because in a later state of renovation it can be used precisely on certain details and furniture. (e.g. neon light for entrance sign, curtains and so on…). “it is not only a question of pretty design, but a question of the hotel success.”

4) Do you believe that cf is an architecture tool of the future?

“Architecture IS crowd funding.” For example: in an architectural competition there are always tools used (e.g. Renderings…) which are advertising the possible project, so the best project is chosen to be built. This is not that far away from the basic cf concept: You develop a project, search for investors, who get some kind of reward.

5) Do you think cf is an additional public relation tool to create a higher public identification with the project?

CF is a new tool in Austria. If there would be for example 3000 architecture projects the MAGDAS hotel maybe would not be so popular, but because it is not common yet you can earn more interest. Many firms get in contact with us because the project is interesting and they want to donate furniture, money and help. In this particular case it was not the magdas hotel itself that got attention throughcf – it was the cf that became popular through the project.

6) The internet platform crowdfunding.at is advertising the Magdas. This platform is hosted by the BAWAG (an Austrian finance bank). What do you think about that connection?

“I personally think the positive effects are more important. CF is a tool to USE - because it is there.”

7) The façade concept is also kind of cf. How does it work?

I was part of the jury and we saw the great benefits of this concept. Through the individual sold engraved pieces the façade finances itself. The single façade pieces are cheap and can be bought by hotel guests, if you donate a higher amount of money your name will be put on a big sign in the entrance area.

8) What do you get for your donations?

There are four different types: for about 10 euro you get nothing, for about 100 euro you get a free night at the hotel, for 1000 to 3000 euro you get named on the entrance sign.

9) Who did the web design?

The designer Cloed Baumgartner (together with Clemens Foschi) was responsible for the organisation of the web design.

10) How was the interaction between the architectural firm AWG and CARITAS concerning CF?

The biggest part was organised by CARITAS itself. We did a lot of calling different people we already worked with in the past. Until the PR really kicked off, then we were called a lot from all kind of people and firms, who offered their help and resources. “The whole PR machinery should have started much earlier. If we ever do a similar project in the future we will consider that.”

11) On 13th December there is “flowMARKET”. What is that?

Once a month Clemens and Cloed host an event at the construction site. Every time there is a different event theme. A good example would be SAMSUNG: they showed up with 30 employees including the CEO and together they cleaned recycled washbasins and did small construction works. The last event was to collect chairs, so everyone who showed up brought an old chair with them. The goal of those events is also to open the mind of the people and show that MAGDAS will be a place of integration and tolerance.