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OPEN BUILDING & SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT

Abstract
By : Stephen Kendall

 
INTRODUCTION
With new urgency, governments, private corporations and institutions and private citizens are demanding sustainable new construction, regenerative neighborhoods and building adaptation rather than demolition. These demands are voiced in respect to both immediate and long-term community and individual values and aspirations. Among the available theories and methods enabling professionals to meet these demands is "Open Building"(OB) http://www.habraken.com/john and http://www.bsu.edu/web/capweb/bfi/Open Building/openbuilding.htm and Open House International journal www.openhouse-int.com. However, the adoption-in-practice of known open building methods for the delivery of adaptable, open architecture is much too slow. In part, this is because some clients' old habits of asking for functionally determined buildings do not die easily. Other reasons can be found, including obsolete paradigms of practice and regulations, and difficulty in dealing with environments at all scales that are subject to change under conditions of widely distributed control This annual conference on open building follows nine previous conferences held around the world since 1996. Other meetings have been held in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei, Washington, DC, Helsinki, Brighton, Delft and Mexico City. Next year, the commission will meet in conjunction with the SB05 Sustainable Building Conference in Tokyo (www.sb05.com). The theme of this year's 10th annual meeting anticipates the 2005 meeting in Tokyo in association with SB05, by linking open building and sustainable environment in an explicit way. The principles of sustainable development have always been implicit in some ways in open building. Sustainable development, like open building, has to do with change - both the maintenance and nurturing of the "commons" and the respect for future generations who follow and must continue to inhabit the shared spaces and harness the common resources. In that sense, open building - whether at the level of the urban tissue or at the level of architecture - is also about change, understanding the commons and articulating the place of the individual. The convergence of these two sets of principles and practices is therefore sensible and auspicious. But much more work lies ahead to connect these two important streams of research, initiative and practice. Change and the Distribution of Design by Professor John Habraken - is published as the first article to this selection of papers from this conference on Open Building and Sustainable Environment. This is because the principles elucidated in the paper are arguably among the most fundamental to the issues and questions this conference - and open building - attempts to address. The selected papers represent the diversity of ways in which open building principles are being explored and are flowering in practice around the world, in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, South Africa, Mexico, Finland, the Netherlands and elsewhere.

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