"Architecture or Revolution. Revolution can be avoided."
Le Corbusier, Vers une Architecture, 1923
Le Corbusier had it wrong.
One billion people live in abject poverty. Four billion live in fragile but growing economies. One in seven people live in slum settlements. By 2020 it will be one in three. We don't need to choose between architecture or revolution. What we need is an architectural revolution.
The U.N. Millennium Development Goals aim to "achieve improvement in the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2015." Reaching this goal will require a profoundly new approach to improving the built environment.
The Open Architecture Network aims to be just such a catalyst for change.
What is the Open Architecture Network?
The Open Architecture Network is an online, open-source community dedicated to improving living conditions through innovative and sustainable design. Here designers of all persuasions can:
• Share their ideas, designs and plans
• View and review designs posted by others
• Collaborate with each other, people in other professions and community leaders to address specific design challenges
• Manage design projects from concept to implementation
• Communicate easily amongst team members
• Protect their intellectual property rights using the Creative Commons "some rights reserved" licensing system and be shielded from unwarranted liability
• Build a more sustainable future
Who is behind this?
The Open Architecture Network is the brainchild of Architecture for Humanity and the designers who volunteer with us, and through our local chapters. It grew out of our collective frustration in sharing ideas and trying to work together to address shelter needs after disaster, in informal settlements and in our own communities.
Architecture for Humanity is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that seeks architectural solutions to humanitarian crises and brings design services to communities in need. To learn more about our work, please visit our website.
Who else is behind this?
The Open Architecture Network was the result of a yearlong partnership that began in spring 2006 when Cameron Sinclair won the prestigious TED Prize and donated all of the proceeds to Architecture for Humanity. Each year the TED community honors individuals who have positively impacted life on this planet. Recipients are granted one wish to change the world. Members of the TED community voluntarily contribute to granting the wish, by offering their resources and talent. Our wish: To build on our success creating opportunities for architects to help communities in crises. We envisioned a truly collaborative online community and gathering place for those dedicated to improving the built environment.
Sun Microsystems, Hot Studio, Creative Commons, AMD and other partners joined Architecture for Humanity in realizing this ambitious undertaking, and at this year's TED conference, together we launched a beta version of the Open Architecture Network: the first site to offer open source architectural plans and blueprints on the web.
Who will the Open Architecture Network serve?
Architects, designers, engineers and anyone else involved in the building trades is welcome to share their ideas on the Open Architecture Network - but the site is not just for professionals. Community leaders, nonprofit groups, volunteer organizations, government agencies, technology partners, healthcare workers, educators and others are also invited to collaborate on projects and share their expertise. After all if we're to meaningfully address the challenges of building a sustainable future, we'll need (a lot of) help from people of all walks of life.
What is our goal?
Far from replacing the traditional architect, the goal of the site is to allow designers to work together in a whole new way, a way that enables 5 billion potential clients to access their skills and expertise. The network has a simple mission: to generate not one idea but the hundreds of thousands of design ideas needed to improve living conditions for all.
Let the revolution begin.