The idea of building a six-story community workspace out of recycled shipping containers in the middle of one of Brooklyn’s fastest-gentrifying neighborhoods may seem a bit far-fetched.
Add to it a hydroponic farm, a convertible lecture hall, retail stores, sleeping “pods,” private offices, and a 38-foot silo for the testing of “flying machines”—all of which will reside on a 5,000-square-foot parking lot near the Graham Avenue L train stop in Williamsburg—and you’ve got the makings of a pretty unrealistic-looking project. Now imagine this building existing completely off the city’s power grid.
That a group of hackers is trying to raise $1.5 million to fund the construction of the building, known as Hackert0wn, has led some online skeptics to label it a scam.
But Sean Auriti, the co-founder of the Brooklyn hackerspace Alpha One Labs and the head of the Hackert0wn campaign, is undeterred, despite having raised only $3,000 so far. The project’s pitch, posted on the crowdfunding site IndieGogo, is written in the present tense, as if the building already exists.
“It’s going to happen,” Auriti, a friendly, bearish guy in his mid 30s (pictured below right), said while drinking a root beer at a bar in Williamsburg on Monday night. “At least that’s how we’re looking at it. If you read patents, they describe the invention as what it is, not what it will be.”