Summary of the presentation of the study on Open Source Architecture

Next week I will present the research I conducted in a thesis at the academic conference “International Conference on Smart Cities: Potentials, Prospects and Discontents”. The study was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Talia Margalit. Here is the summary:

Under the influence of open source communities and mass outsourcing technologies, the concept of “Open Source Architecture” has emerged in the last decade to facilitate a participatory architectural and urban design. The article examines the application of the open-source model in architecture by a comparison of the fields of software engineering and architecture. The following aspects are compared: 1) the practice of intellectual property protection, 2) knowledge sharing, 3) authors’ status, and tacit knowledge gaps.

The open-source discussion in the software field is reviewed, and its impact on theoretical texts in architecture are presented through questions of Tacit Knowledge in both disciplines. Contemporary projects that attempt to implement the open-source model in the field of architecture were examined.

It has been found that the adoption of open-source is limited in architecture. The few who promote it do so with an incorrect interpretation of the motivation in the software field – as a tool for the participation of non-professional – while challenging authority, knowledge, and professional status of the architects.

However, the adoption of the “open source” has only a limited effect on the participation of clients as authors in architectural design. In addition, it has been found that architects may use open-source licenses for the purpose of sharing knowledge among themselves as happens in the software world but not between them and customers.

Finally, it is suggested that in order to encourage the sharing of knowledge in architecture with non-professionals, it is necessary to impart design skills to users. At the same time, new ways in which professional responsibility will be guaranteed to the client to ensure proper credit to the authors to encourage architects to participate in the open-source “bazaar”.

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