2006 was our 30th year of publication - quite a
feat considering that our financial muscle is
dependent on a relatively small group of subscribers
and seven institutional subscribers. Like
a poor distant Elsevier relative we had no cash to
have a party or to give away subscriptions but we
did look around and say that we had achieved a
lot with some color issues, a web site and some
double length issues. In 2006, Open House
International was covered by the Thomson ISI
products namely, The Social Science Citation
Index, The Arts & Humanities Citation Index,
Social Sci-Search, Current Contents/Social &
Behavioral Sciences, Current Contents/Arts &
Humanities and Journal Citation Reports / Social
Sciences Edition. This was a kind of 30th birthday
present. It must not be overlooked that this
success was not without the unfailing support of
our Board of Editors (referees) and guest editors
of theme issues who have maintained the highest
standards of editing through their rigorous
approach to the written words of authors and to
referencing and citation levels of author's manuscripts.
My job, more managerial by nature, has
been and still is to ensure that timely publication
is maintained and that a healthy flow of quality
articles is achieved. Without all these attributes
citation index rating cannot be considered.
On the editorial side we have had four years
of theme issues which in themselves are certainly
not a bad thing but which has meant turning
down quite a few good single manuscripts which
do not fit theme issues. To accommodate these
when they occur we have reverted back since the
beginning of this year 2007 to two mixed-article
issues a year, in March and September and two
theme issues in June and December.
Where and when did Open House start ?
Whilst studying at the Architectural Association in
London in the mid-sixties, about half way
through my studies I came across an article by
Martin Pawley in the then AA publication, Forum.
It was about this awkward Dutchman called John
Habraken who was suggesting we build 'supports'
instead of houses for the working class
This was at a time when we thought we had just
solved the mass housing problem and now
Habraken was telling us that we had got it all
wrong. Habraken had just written a slender book
called SUPPORTS - An Alternative to Mass
Housing. It was this book and my collaborative
friendship with Nabeel Hamdi at the AA which
set us off on a long journey. Hamdi and I were
the first in the UK to design and build a 'support'
housing project. In addition we were in our final
year of studies and one of the few people to
have their final thesis built. In the Netherlands
Frans van der Werf was the first Dutch 'support'
champion who won a competition which led to
the realization of the renowned Papendrecht project
near Rotterdam in the late sixties.
In addition and with support from the AA we
presented the 'support ' ideas to the then Minister
of Housing Lord Greenwood. This put us in the
limelight and for months, if not years, we were
reported, interviewed and photographed in all
the national newspapers, color supplements,
professional journals and had given BBC radio
broadcasts and had appeared on the BBC TV
Omnibus program "Life is Right, the Architect is
Wrong". All this took place whilst still students in
our last year of studies and for two years after
whilst working on our project at the Greater
London Council, London.
You may be asking what has this got to do
with where and when did Open House start?
Nabeel and I wanted more information about
other support housing projects in Europe which
were taking off. We would send back visitors who
had come from the SAR (Foundation of
Architects Research) in Eindhoven, the
Netherlands to explicitly tell them to start a regular
publication. Nothing materialized until I
joined the SAR in the Netherlands in 1975 as
research associate. Then OHI happened. In
March 1976 I proposed a very informal news
sheet which I would edit and send to SAR supporters
every quarter. The first Open House was
two sheets of information about SAR publications.
Three months later the second issue was
an A5 sized (20 x 15 cms) journal and the third
issue of the same year was the current size 21 x
28 cms, approximately A4.......
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