Form Follows Finance

Contemporary cities have been transformed from fixed places to liquid assets through the creation of REITs and other investment mechanisms. The physical output of our built environment directly correlates to financialization and economic performance. Rate of return has become more important than the architecture of the project leading to a desire for predictable results and aversion of risk. This has led to mass genericism. Towers have become standardized grid structures where the exterior envelope is simply a derivative of the typological interior. Each project is not considered by formal components but rather revenue, expenses, economic cycles, absorption rates, lending environment, and zoning complications. The prevailing logic of the built environment is determined almost entirely by financial performance transforming the city from a real resource to a financial asset.

Form Follows Finances seeks to challenge these market metrics by democratizing the real estate development process through cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to simulate the curation of an architecture that satisfies local needs and values rather than speculative futures. Through Initial Coin Offering’s (ICO), architects and developers can work to create crowdfunding campaigns for democratized architectural projects. Once a stakeholder purchases or receives tokens to the project, they have a participatory position and can simulate prospective futures of the projects based on predefined, open ended pieces. These pieces allow for architecture not to be evaluated as a totality that generates profits years down the road but a series of parts that can dynamically structure, shift, and simulate based on external conditions and local needs. Throughout the simulation process, the tokens value may fluctuate based on supply and demand metrics related to how the ontology of the project evolves. If the project becomes too speculative and does not address local concerns and values, the demand for token ownership may fall driving down token value.
Faculty Advisor:
Jose Sanchez