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Tuesday
Mar062007

Open Source Architecture

I am continually frustrated by the overly proprietary nature of so much within the practice of architecture.  On the legal front, the very codes that govern construction are usually proprietary, when they should be public domain.  On the practice front, I do not understand why architects have not embraced open-source collaboration more akin to the tech world.

Building Codes, enacted by law, often refer to proprietary Codes and Standards, which must be purchased, or, at the least, accessed in a library.  How can the very Law itself be so inaccessible?  It's one thing to charge for printingcosts, but in this day and age, the entire text of any legal document (such as building codes) should be online and free for public access.

Regarding the profession, we take our (justifiable) paranoia about intellectual property a bit too far.  Organizations like CSI and the AIA certainly offer valuable resources, prepared at great expense.  But why aren't ordinary architects and specification writers posting to open-source communities, continually bettering one another?  Why is MasterSpec still the standard, rather than an architect's version of Wikipedia or Sourceforge?  

 

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