Internet-based architecture communities such as the The 1%, urbaninform, and Open Architecture Network are forums for the dissemination and development of knowledge, expertise, and innovation among architects and other contributors. Open-source sharing—wherein concepts, proposals, and sometimes architectural plans and drawings (for built and unbuilt structures) are made freely available—is a common feature of these networks and a catalyst for the actualization of projects or the recycling or improvement of ideas. This in turn enables architects to respond efficiently to the needs of underserved communities. While their methods and results are varied, each of these three networks is founded on the belief that architecture and architects have a social responsibility that can be advanced and facilitated by the Internet.
- The 1%
- The 1% was initiated in 2002 by Public Architecture, a San Francisco-based firm founded by John Peterson. The program is a call to action; it asks American architects to each dedicate a minimum of one percent of his or her time—or twenty hours each year—to unpaid work for a nonproft organization. The Web site connects designers with clients, it advocates for nonprofits, and it helps to ensure the suitability and integration of the resulting collaborations. Some 820 firms and 400 nonprofit organizations are registered; around 160 projects are currently underway.
- Created by Rainer Hehl and Jörg Stollmann in 2009 in Zurich, urbaninform collects and showcases short video documentaries, or “mini docs,” that explore ideas and interventions within informal cities—settlements built with little or no professional planning. Connecting practitioners within this specialized field, urbaninform is becoming a central forum for critical discourse and debate on ways to improve life in urban settlements.
- Open Architecture Network
- The Open Architecture Network (OAN) is a subsection of Architecture for Humanity (AFH), a nonprofit design firm founded in 1999 by Cameron Sinclair in San Francisco. The Web site links AFH chapters around the world and also connects independent design professionals with previous and potential clients. Encouraging designers, builders, and clients to share architectural documents, drawings, and plans with others, OAN aims to limit duplication in design development and to encourage improvements on existing projects. The site presents a large number of projects—over 3,100—in a range of programs and levels of completion.