UNStudio launches open source knowledge sharing

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Tues 9th April 2013
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Unique knowledge developed through building practice is the new core value of architecture
In June this year UNStudio will launch the new organisation of its practice as an
open-source knowledge-based practice operating projects around four specialised Knowledge Platforms.

As part of the reorganisation of the studio a new interactive online knowledge platform will be launched, aimed at facilitating the open exchange of knowledge, with the ultimate goal of introducing and encouraging the expansion from a collaborative to a co-creative working model for architecture. 

Whilst the architect will continue to design his or her own projects, the practice of architecture needs to adjust, to gather, edit and apply co-creative intelligence in order to create responsive architecture that is more integral, more holistic, more responsible and more intelligent.
Ben van Berkel: “From the outset at UNStudio we have continually reexamined and reevaluated our practice, with the result that at certain key moments we have recognised the need for extensive reorganisation. Now, once again, the challenging climate within the profession today has in turn challenged us to take a close look and to rethink our organisational model with the ultimate aim of improving our architecture and ensuring its relevance within contemporary conditions. However, finding ourselves unable to locate a relevant model from within the profession, we became fascinated by the new initiatives put in place by online start-up companies - such as social networking firms - who have moved from an old economy to a far more innovative economy which celebrates communication, open exchange and co-creation. Believing that architecture can benefit greatly from adopting and adapting such an approach, in recent years we have set about the reorganisation of our studio into an open knowledge-based practice.”
Since the founding of the practice, UNStudio has been developing knowledge as a result of combining the design and building of projects with an active participation in architectural theory. Following on a continued interest in geometry, digital production, material effects and attainable design solutions, this communal knowledge led to the introduction of four distinct Knowledge Platforms to the studio.  Whilst the primary objective of our project teams is to deliver the ‘result’ of architectural thinking (buildings, plans, designs), the objective of the Knowledge Platforms is to distill knowledge from within the practice of architecture in order to propel design thinking and innovation.
UNStudio’s Knowledge Platforms have been developed into self-organised groups, operating as cross-linked platforms within the studio. Instead of being organised as processes which run parallel to the design work, the Knowledge Platforms form an integrated part of the practice. Organising the Platform-project relationship in an interactive, non-linear manner allows us to effectively combine research with practice, cross-fertilise innovative solutions and discover new approaches to architecture.

The dual goals of the Knowledge Platforms are facilitating the exchange of knowledge within the studio and expanding UNStudio’s range of co-creation with our current and future collaborators.  Each Platform, within its specific topic—Sustainability, Organisation, Materials, or Parametrics—is mandated to assemble our project knowledge and produce new knowledge through internal initiatives and innovative external collaborations. 
Caroline Bos: "Our primary goal with the introduction of the Knowledge Platforms is to improve our buildings though the creation of new dynamic ways of working and to develop expertise through knowledge-based strategies and working models. People who join UNStudio can choose a platform that they would like to participate in – and perhaps after a few years they will join 2 or 3 platforms – with the result that they can eventually become specialists in very specific areas of design. In this way we can create highly concentrated knowledge exchange with individuals within the company and thereby create more dynamics and more innovation in the creative process of working with knowledge in design."
Equally essential to developing UNStudio’s in-house knowledge however is the mutual value to be gained by the exchange of expertise with external collaborators. Ben van Berkel: “It is essential to continuously gather information and to make this knowledge available when engaging in dialogues with other specialists with whom we collaborate, both within and outside of the profession.”

The recent expansion of the profession of architecture has meant that architectural collaborations have now become increasingly wide and varied, encompassing both the sciences and cultural fields. Similarly today’s climate calls for an architecture that is responsive to environmental, political, social, cultural and economic requirements and as such there is call for an architecture that contains all possible layers of knowledge.
In order to initiate and encourage this exchange of knowledge, in June this year UNStudio will introduce a new interactive online platform that will share information about our current research projects and the knowledge garnered from these, whilst actively inviting contributions from collaborators and interested parties. The goal of the online Knowledge Platform is to create a podium where UNStudio can become more open with its expertise and thereby share knowledge on a wider scale. In so doing it is our aim to encourage a co-creative approach to architecture; one which intensifies knowledge and ultimately results in a more responsive architecture born of innovation through co-creation.
UNStudio’s interactive online knowledge sharing platform is currently in the final design stages, however in the meantime, we have updated and upgraded our research pages with new information about current research projects generated by our four internal Knowledge Platforms. Also integrated in the updated pages is a ‘contribution’ function, which allows readers to actively participate and share their own references and related expertise, rate the usefulness of information, find related knowledge and share posts on social networks.

In addition a ‘Platform Dialogue’ section has been added in which video content relaying discussions and events carried out by UNStudio’s Knowledge Platforms can be viewed online.
This week, Platform Dialogues form Il Salone del Mobile can be viewed on:
This Summer UNStudio’s online platform will expand to integrate a ‘MyPLATFORM’ function, which will enable a personal, user-based archiving and sharing functionality and the possibility to read extensive content offline.

UNStudio’s current research pages can be found on:


For further information please contact:
Karen Murphy
+ 31 20 570 20 40
Stadhouderskade 113
P.O. Box 75381
1070 AJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands

T +31 (0)20 570 20 40
F +31 (0)20 570 20 41
Room 4606
Raffles City, No. 268
Xizang Middle Road,
Shanghai 200001, China

T +86 (0)21-63405088
F +86 (0)21-33663302
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