OSWall (Open Source Wall) V1
Crowd Source Your House
Neuroscientists have shown that working with your hands exercises different parts of your cerebrum than sitting and cogitating. Ever wonder why Detroit isn’t producing 100-mpg cars? One reason might be that the engineers there spend all their time tinkering with CAD software ó developing design concepts in a purely virtual sense. They aren’t ripping open cars to see what’s possible, the way those amateur ultra-mileage Prius hackers do (some of whom, by the way, have modded their hybrids to get 100 mpg).
“How DIYers Just Might Revive American Innovation”
Clive Thompson, Wired Magazine, March 2008
The image of networked hackers modding high-tech cars in their garages is an accurate portrayal of the spirit with which we are approaching the design, development, and construction of OSWall. We prioritize the unique knowledge of our collaborators, the wisdom of crowds, and the tacit knowledge gained through iteration. Our process is uniquely informed by constantly evolving networking technologies and the unprecedented levels of communication they enable. As such, Oswall asks pressing questions of architects today: Is our role as master designers the same as it was 500, 50, or even 5 years ago? In a climate where architects have grown increasingly irrelevant, can we reinsert ourselves as expert net-workers, strategists, and ethical decision-makers? Can we relinquish control over our work for the common good? Can we work in a truly collaborative capacity with others to solve the significant and real problems we are all facing?
Residential wall construction has changed very little over the last 100 years. OSWall (Open Source Wall) is an experimental wall prototype that challenges conventional wall construction through an open, collaborative approach to material, fabrication, and installation methods. It proposes an “open source” construction platform in which third-party designers, engineers, scientists, or “do-it-yourselfers” can create, produce, market, and sell “applications” that are plugged into a specified wall design. These “apps” allow the end-user of the wall to customize his or her house according to lifestyle, program, season, or climate, and to continually draw on current technological innovations. Specific wall applications under development include a solar collection application, a rainwater collection application, an active ventilation application, a wind energy harvesting application, and a passive heating application.
OSWall, above all else, is an open-ended question. As the third project in an evolutionary series over the past four years, it is more “market ready” than ever. However, we continue to view our research as the construction of full-scale sketches. This way, we are not intimidated by failure. As Bruce Mau states in his Incomplete Manifesto for Growth: “Make mistakes faster.” This is when real progress is made and when true growth can occur. OSWall is a messy and difficult endeavor, but through the efforts of a diverse team of collaborators, its final outcome will be unpredictable, novel, and, most importantly, will invigorate the debate over the relevance of architecture today.
UHGBC Show, The University of Houston, 2009
“Market Value” by Geoffrey Brune, AIA
Texas Architect, Nov/Dec 2009