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Editorial

Abstract
By : Nicholas Wilkinson RIBA

 
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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