For the past 4 years, Jon and I have been working together to find ways to apply ‘open source’ collaboration principles toward the design and production of both real and virtual architecture and urban planning.

While the Studio Wikitecture community continues to make progress toward that end, Jon and I have also maintained focus on our own individual career paths and interests as well.  To that end, Jon has continued to pursue his work designing both real and virtual architecture, and I, for the last year, have continued with my passion, channeling my efforts into a project that continues to explore ways to create a more open, integrated, and collaborative A/E/C industry: OpeningDesign.com.

In short, OpeningDesign is an online platform that allows other A/E/C firms and professionals the ability to explore, for themselves, the benefits of a more open way of working & designing.  A platform, however, that allows professionals to decide the degree they would like to share and collaborate with their fellow professionals—whether that degree be designing their project(s) entirely in the open, or simply a place where they can openly ask or answer some hairy technical/code question or problem they might be having.

http://vimeo.com/16073119

The video above will provide a more detailed explanation of the ‘what’ and ‘why’, but in short…

OpeningDesign is an open, online community where building professionals can ask and answer all manner of building-related questions, whether it be a quick technical question, or quick peer review of a design or detail. A website where professionals can share content, from a simple BIM or CAD detail to complex spec document. OpeningDesign.com is also a place where you can solicit and bid on small scopes of work, whether that be a quick 3d rendering job or help drawing up simple building elevations. And finally, OpeningDesign is place where the online collaboration tools used to help the community run smoothly, can also be used privately, to help firms run their projects a little more smoothly as well. In this way, we like to think of OpeningDesign as 51% community, and 49% online tools.”

Similar to how ‘opening’ the industry will take time, we won’t get the OpeningDesign platform built in a day!  Having said that though, we have been able to build out a small part of it and would love to invite you in to take a look.   If interested, just go to OpeningDesign.com to register, and we’ll followup with your log-in/password.  Just mention in the ‘comments’ section that Studio Wikitecture referred you.

As you’ll see, when you log-in, we only have the ‘Question/Answer’ part of the site up and running now.   To understand, however, what we plan for future development, ‘hover’ your cursor over some of the pull-down menus. And, by all means, tell us what you think (after logging in). What are those things you like, or not, or think we should prioritize in the next phase of development. And don’t worry, we can handle the criticism, we’ve just started after all.

Since the Q/A part of the site is up and running, please, by all means, ‘ask’ or ‘answer’ any questions you would like! If you ‘ask’, please be patient, although we’re still a small community, we’ll try our best to find an answer for you.

And just know, launching OpeningDesign.com does not, in any way, mean that Studio Wikitecture will stop its exploration into Open Source Architecture.  We will continue wholeheartedly on taking on new projects and experimenting with ways to pursue a truly open source approach to practicing architecture.

New approaches such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) have demonstrated the impressive efficiencies brought on by early, cross-company collaboration in the A/E/C industry.   At its core, IPD shares a core characteristic to the open source paradigm, that is, “given enough eyeballsall bugs are shallow“.  OpeningDesign would like to continue and build upon IPD’s collaborative trajectory and believes, wholeheartedly that even further efficiencies can be uncovered when a project is opened to the world in some varying degree.  “And what is that varying degree?”, you may ask.  Well, that is and will be up for debate for many years.  We hope, however, that OpeningDesign will continually afford us an opportunity to dial into that ‘sweet spot of efficiency and if we’re lucky, finally hand off our Most-Inefficient-Industry-in-the World award to some other wayward industry.