OPEN Prototype House Initiative
Efficient construction, designed for flexibility
In the US, the OPEN Prototype Initiative wants to create opportunities related to efficient construction, energy conservation, proactive health care, new forms of work/learning/entertainment, and the mass-customisation of highly-personalised residential environments.
Open Source Building
One of the cornerstones of the initiative is the Open-Built® approach. This provides many advantages:
- Design for flexibility
The systems and components are designed to accommodate changing uses and needs. As an example, the first prototype OPEN_1 will be housing primarily people recovering from brain injuries. As these occupants re-develop their physical and cognitive abilities, the home will evolve with them.
- Disentanglement of Systems
The plumbing, the electrical system and the HVAC system are designed into specific spaces that do not interfere with the building's structure or skin. The backbone of this system, which is not likely to change significantly over time, is built of long-lasting materials preinstalled in a central mechanical core wall. The branches, however, are accessible within the ceiling, allowing for service as required, and for future modification should the layout of the home be changed.
- Delivering Pre-built Systems to the Site
Off-site fabricated, finished components are assembled quickly and efficiently on site.
- Planning Inclusively and Building Virtually
The major stakeholders and key subcontractors are involved in the planning process, minimizing the potential for typical construction site conflicts about time, space, and quality. This is facilitated by 3-D modelling software.
The initiative is led by the MIT Open Source Building Alliance and Bensonwood Homes. It will allow industrial partners to collaborate in the prototyping and deployment of new home-related materials, systems, and devices.
OPEN_1 prototype complete
The OPEN Prototype Initiative will develop a series of prototypes, one every 18 months (approximately) through 2010. The first prototype, OPEN_1, was completed in the spring of 2006. The structure consists of 40 prefabricated integrated assemblies, complete with wiring, plumbing, mechanical systems, and finishes.
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