When people look back on our time, what will they say was the Architecture that embodies its meaning and spirit? My candidate is not that of a building, but the open architecture of the IBM PC. Simple Building is a book I wrote about how to derive a new indigenous architecture, and one way to translate its principles into reality is an approach to building I call the Open System. My idea is to make a building like they made the PC: 1) a structural frame; 2) a standard connection to it; 3) enough infill components to enclose a basic house; 4) invite the market to offer alternative infill components. This would be a rational house, as easy to re-plan, restyle, or add to as connecting and disconnecting its components. This book tells the story of a house I built as an example of an open system, explaining at each step the building-as-usual approach and then my Simple Building alternative and its design evolution. I hope it will give students a new way of understanding what a building is.
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Sidney Magee studied architecture at MIT and Yale, and has spent a lifetime involved in design and construction. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and is the author of Pickens, and Simple Building.
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