Open Building Implementation


These notes are intended to offer some general insights and recommendations, based on what I have learned by visiting realized projects in a number of countries, regarding the possibility that open building principles could be usefully applied.

The idea of open building is simple: reestablishing a role for the individual in the housing process.

This goes against much of our professional training. Experts are trained to believe that, with enough hard work, they can answer all the questions. But attempts to eliminate the individual from a role in the process of housing a society eventually produce problems. These problems include “illegal” activities (individuals changing their apartments inside and outside against the rules) producing disrespect for government; premature obsolescence of expensive social or private assets; and the inability to positively harness the natural inclination of individuals (independent of social class or income) to invest in their places of living as they see fit.

The fundamental insight of open building is that the community has a role to play in the housing process, but also that the individual has a role to play. Finding a balance of roles and interests is the key point. This means that implementation of open building is not essentially a technical problem. It is a problem of attitudes, habits, regulations that do not keep up with changing possibilities, and a misplaced reliance on unified control of a process that is too complex, too big and too spread out over time for any single entity to control.




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