Under the concept that housing was an act instead of a product, John Habraken launched a campaign against mass housing in the 1960s. His counterattack was architecturally and institutionally developed afterwards, and fully expressed by the so-called Open Building, in which users could make decision regarding their dwellings and easily re-arrange them. A number of experimental projects were subsequently constructed worldwide.
After years, the actual situation of use of these projects is, to a certain extent, unknown. Their facades may have faded, their pipelines may be ageing, and the design may be out of fashion. Correspondingly, various changes are expected. Could these changes be controlled in the original design? Were these projects enhanced after the changes? Did the users have a positive response? These questions are far from being answered.
This article is based on the post-occupancy investigation of two Open Building projects, the “Molenvliet Project” in the Netherlands and the “Wuxi Experimental Project” in China, which played an exemplary role, especially in the early years. In this study, the users’ assessment of their living environment was highly emphasised, and the changes to the both exterior and interior were specifically recorded. The purpose of the investigation is to determine how the architects’ intention was practised, and to learn from them.
Key words: Support, Infill, Post-occupancy investigation; Users’ feedback; Renovation
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