About Open Building

Open Building offers extended assert value for buildings and a user-oriented planning process

The practice of investing in buildings that can accommodate a variety of changeable occupant spaces – yielding long-term asset value – is familiar in office, retail buildings and increasingly in health care facilities. Using OPEN BUILDING methods, the same value proposition can be accomplished in multi-family residential and mixed-use projects – in new construction and the rehabilitation or conversion of older buildings.

The key principle in OPEN BUILDING is a strict separation between the parts of a building that are long lasting and difficult to change because they involve all the occupants of the building, and the parts associated with each dwelling unit that can be decided by or for each occupant independently without disturbing other occupants. The first is usually called the Base Building (building structure, egress system, building envelope and main mechanical systems); the second is usually called the Fit-out (the technical systems associated with each autonomous unit of occupancy). This technical and organizational separation is accomplished by strategic design decisions and by use of specific technical products and systems. This is advantageous in large- scale real estate interventions where simultaneous design of the base building and the user level is impracticable. In addition, social trends towards individualization of use make functional specification increasingly personalized, and greater complexity and variety on the demand side is stimulating the introduction of architectural components with shorter use-life, such as partitioning, ceilings, bathroom and kitchen facilities.

Residential open building projects are being realized with increasing frequency all over the world, not for idealistic reasons but because of the need to respond to new realities in the way the building stock is being constructed and adapted to changing uses. Developers like to build this way because it adds long-term value to their investments, and allows their investments to remain competitive and flexible. Occupants- both initial occupants and those that move in over time – like to live in these buildings because they can customize everything “behind their front doors” as their life circumstances evolve.

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