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An Introduction to Open Building as a Teaching Manifesto

By : Jia Beisi

An Introduction to Open Building as a Teaching Manifesto
Jia Beisi
Associate Professor
Department of Architecture
The University of Hong Kong

This paper summarizes the open building concept applied in my architectural studio teaching over the last six years. It is based on a belief that effective architectural teaching requires a deep philosophical understanding of both architecture and architectural education. This understanding follows from the authorís perception that a new architectural epoch started in the late 1990s and continues today. It is also follows from Hong Kongís unique place in the world, characterized by its high-rise / high-density cityscape and rapidly changing socioeconomic circumstances. Open Building is precisely about building for such environments and such change, while emphasizing user participation and deep integration into the larger context. In academic teaching work, open building covers five aspects: (1) operable flexibility, (2) architecture-as-infrastructure, (3) building-as- connector, (4) lightness and permeability, and (5) a new unity of the built environment. Finally the paper identifies a need to expand and develop an open building agenda.

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