March 18, 2016
by Canadian Architect
The 30-chapter international organization of volunteer humanitarian designers and architects, once affiliated with defunct nonprofit Architecture for Humanity, have relaunched as the Open Architecture Collaborative.
After over a year of development, the Open Architecture Collaborative (OAC) has determined an ongoing, autonomous identity and governing structure, following the January 2015 closure of the nonprofit that originally orchestrated them, while staying true to the shared values and practices of participatory design.
The OAC aims to address two fundamental issues in the built environment: lack of hands-on community experience for young professionals, and limited access to design services for marginalized communities. With the intention of ground-up governance informed by local issues, the OAC can empower local leaders to contribute resources and best practices to a global design network.
Currently in development, the Open Architecture Collaborative’s bylaws intend to preserve flexibility for local chapters to conduct their work as needed to be most in tune with their communities. The OAC would then provide oversight and professional resources to guide successful outcomes and equip more members and partners with tools, knowledge, and experience.
The organization includes three Canadian chapters in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
Open Architecture Collaborative Toronto–formerly known as Architecture for Humanity Toronto–has refocused its efforts based on its experience over the last 5 years. Under its new mandate, it aims to create a stronger connection between academic design programs, industry professionals and design firms, and underserved communities. The Toronto chapter intends to work as consultants to help community groups understand how design can address their needs, connect them to designers at local universities and colleges as well as other non-academic design groups, and finally, connect both groups to local design firms that can collaborate and act as mentors.