Yonca Hurol (Department of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta, Cyprus)
Ashraf M. Salama (Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK)

Open House International

ISSN: 0168-2601

Article publication date: 15 December 2020

Issue publication date: 15 December 2020



Hurol, Y. and Salama, A.M. (2020), "Editorial", Open House International, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 343-371. https://doi.org/10.1108/OHI-12-2020-105



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

On open house international, the open building approach and Nicholas Wilkinson

The purpose of this study is to identify the transformations, which have taken place in Open House International (OHI) throughout its life span of 44 years while highlighting key aspects of research and publication trends. For this purpose, OHI volumes were grouped for chronological examination. Each group was subsequently analysed to establish the technical, academic and philosophical underpinnings, which have evolved throughout more than four decades. The findings of this research demonstrate that OHI was a dynamic journal and has maintained its connection with the open building approach following the decline of Nicholas Wilkinson’s health in 2015. This analysis can be used in establishing the future direction of the journal and similar journals. It can also be used as a source of data for longitudinal research on the topics of open building, housing, the urban environment and the associated trends. The open building approach is still active in 2020 and this research presents one dimension of the history of the open building approach.

1. Introduction

The key area of the Open House International (OHI) journal is known as housing, urban design and open building. Since its inception in 1976, the journal has had many enthusiastic authors and many supporting institutions. It had more than 200 subscribers including many libraries worldwide. The birth of the journal in 1976 was based on the philosophy of the open building, which affected the theory and practice of housing, housing policies and the profession of architecture in many countries. The founder of the Journal, Nicholas Wilkinson, was a graduate of the Architectural Association in London, and his contributions and those of his colleague, Nabeel Hamdi, to housing policies in the UK were recognized by both the Royal Institute of British Architects and the British Government.

OHI was a nomadic journal, which was executed by one person for 41 years by changing the staff and servicing companies depending on Wilkinson’s workplace. In addition to his work in the UK, Wilkinson worked in The Netherlands, England, Egypt, India, Germany and Cyprus during this 41-year period.

The three years following Wilkinson’s death in 2017, was a critical period for OHI. Ashraf Salama and/or Yonca Hurol assumed the editorial duties of the journal until the journal found a settled home with Emerald Publishing and they remain co-editors of OHI. Salama has been the collaborating editor of the journal since 2006. He guest-edited 10 issues and wrote 9 articles for the journal. Hurol has been dealing with the technical editing since 2008 and the international technical editorship since 2016. She has written 13 book-reviews for the journal. Jia Beisi and Jin-Ho Park have contributed to OHI as collaborating editors many times.

The aim of this research is to examine the 44 volumes of OHI to discover the main motives behind the journal, its transformation in time and the intellectual enthusiasm creating these changes. The claim of this article is that the main motive behind OHI is the ethos of open building philosophy, which is an enthusiastic world view of “being open for change” and “giving power to people” founded by the Dutch architect and academic John Habraken. Nicholas Wilkinson, who was known as an unconventional person with a very strong judgemental capacity, was dedicated to the philosophy of the open building.

This type of inquiry into 44 volumes of a journal cannot be mechanical. The first step of this inquiry is to identify the physical traces on the volumes. The top row and the left side of the lower row of the book-shelf contain the volumes of OHI in Plate 1. When one examines these volumes, the presence of different covers within the older volumes; the changes in dimensions; the nonbinding of the later issues; the changes in the covers’ layout and designs of those later issues; signal some changes in the life and motivation of Nicholas Wilkinson.

This article deals with different groups of volumes/issues separately and searches for further meaningful changes in them. These changes can be about the form and format, the techniques of production, the objectives of the journal, which can be established by analysing the editorials, the reflections of the philosophy of the open building, the themes of articles and the identity of the authors. The identity of the authors has been evaluated as western and non-western according to their names as what the authors understand from the names of the contributors. Therefore, there may be some errors. European, American, Canadian and Australian authors have been identified as western.

2. The foundations of the journal: Volumes 1 and 2 from 1976 and 1977

The first book is thinner, taller and more deformed than the others. It contains Volumes 1 and 2 with a total of eight issues. This volume starts with a newsletter from SAR (Stichting Architecten Research – The Foundation for Architects’ Research, which was established by John Habraken in 1965 – Eindhoven) dated 1975. SAR is a research organization about open building, which covers diverse issues of architecture including urban, functional and also technical issues. The format and printing of the newsletter and the first four issues of 1976 are not sophisticated with even some inclined lines within the pages, while the edges of the pages are not clear. The newsletter contains some schematic human figures, which might have been inspiring for the design of the final logo of OHI. Figure 1 demonstrates these figures and the final form of the OHI logo together.

The first issue of Volume 1 in 1976 has only two articles from SAR about open building covering housing process and participation, which were written by western authors. This issue also contains an announcement seeking worldwide support for the ideas contained within the journal.

The second issue of Volume 1 contains more articles from SAR and these articles pertain to low-cost housing and third world housing developments, in Zambia and the Philippines. All of which were written by western authors. The aim of the journal is clearly bound together with the SAR organization, and there is a call for subscriptions. The most important feature of this issue is the long and enthusiastic editorial written by Nicholas Wilkinson:

“[…] we have prepared ourselves for the “revolution” – in another way the development of the design methodologies preclude the desired changes when they are carried too far thus becoming ends in themselves and carried yet further under the assumption that their use will eventually bring about the desired changes […]. it is no use to rest on our laurels and sit and wait for an intelligent minister or a generous millionaire, they are all around us, feeding of our plate. Like this we go down in history as part-timers […]. we could propose a social and political basis for design […]” (Wilkinson, 1976a).

Issue 3 has five articles. With the exception of one Japanese author, all other authors were westerners. One article authored by John Habraken, who is the founder of SAR, and the others were concerning modular coordination, the Hollabrun housing project in Austria as an experiment of the SAR method and seven other built environments. This issue contains a hand-drawn expression of the SAR team (Figure 2), which also includes Nicholas Wilkinson.

The editorial of this issue reflects the open building ideals: […] industrialization proper can only really take place when the individual plays an indispensable role in the housing process […]. truly dynamic housing process […] people themselves are the prime movers […](Wilkinson, 1976b).

Issue 4 of Volume 1 is about SAR principles and education. Papandrecht in The Netherlands, Hollabrun in Austria and PSSHAK in London, were presented as applications, which secure the influence and control of inhabitants in the housing development process. SAR methodology and design was explained together with the history of SAR. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) housing group also presented their teaching and research methods.

The four issues of Volume 2 of 1977 demonstrate clear format changes. The expressions and type of figures are different and there is a list of contents. The first three issues in 1977 contain articles about density, methods and principles of SAR, new buildings in old districts, Dutch housing experience, participation, public-private-territorial spheres, housing for Baghdad, living tissues and the man-environment relationship. The majority of these subjects are related to open buildings, which is applicable mainly to housing projects. There are valuable hand-drawn figures in these three issues. The editorial of the third issue of 1977 announces a change in the objectives of Open House. This change involves the content of Open House becoming more project-oriented […] along with SAR lines […] (Wilkinson, 1977). This issue also included Asian and Middle Eastern authors. In parallel to this announcement, the fourth issue is more project-based. It contains articles about the Beverwaard Project, a review of three projects, an article on supported housing in Los Angeles and one on further potential supported housing projects.

3. On the way: the second and third books containing Volumes 3 to 6 from 1978 to 1981

There are different covers on these two books of Open House, in which the base of the journal was The Netherlands. The fourth issue from 1981 has a cover, which contains the same information as a typical Open House cover except for the OHI logo. The first book-review of Open House (“Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander) is also included in this issue.

The number of articles was increased in these two volumes. There are 5 to 7 articles in each issue, 11 of the 76 articles were written by eastern and middle-eastern authors. The first issue of Volume 4 from 1979 contains only John Habraken’s booklet, called General Principles about the way built environment exists. This issue was marked as the Open House – Blue Cover Booklet Series. Volume 3 from 1980 presents some critical approaches towards SAR within its six articles. They refer to the new Ameriyah city, the experimental housing Geleen plus a further three critical articles. The editorial provided by Nicholas Wilkinson presents this issue thus: […] without some means of airing one’s views and giving vent to opinions of a controversial nature any idea remains biased and ultimately gets bogged down in its own dogma […] (Wilkinson, 1980a).

The other issues of Volumes 3 to 6 present a variety of projects: Valaardingen Holy-Noord in Rotterdam, a mass housing for urban low income people in Burma, Molenviliet, a support-based housing project from Indonesia, Psshak, Les Marelles-Elementa, Geestenberg, Sterrenburg-Dortrecht, the case of Ismailia in Egypt, the Casco building, Amersfoort from Holland, Tondo Foreshore in Manila, Emad in Egypt, physical planning in Ouagadougou in the Upper Volta, De Lobben in Houten, Becc Slum Development programme, Las Crudades Perdidas, Tung Song Hong and Tennessee town neighbourhood. The 76 articles of Volumes 3 to 6 present 19 projects. The majority of these projects were based on the open building approach.

The 76 articles in these volumes contain 5 articles on support, design and infill projects and 4 articles on housing production. There are three articles on participation, tissues, levels and tools and slum development. There are two articles on design methods, self-help managed housing, neighbourhood improvement, the SAR system and traditional housing. There are articles about change and continuity, research on design criteria, nodes and noodles, low-income areas, Le Corbusier’s Pessac, domains theory, NEN and modular coordination, morphological systems, prefabrication, court yard houses, the Aga Khan Award, re-use of old buildings, housing in the third world, the use of aerial photography, the optimization of habitat, learning from teaching and town planning without frills. The sum of the number of article subjects is more than 76, as some of the articles relate to more than one subject.

John Habraken presented two open building articles within these four volumes on the subject of historical environments and interventions. Nicholas Wilkinson presented one article called: “in support of the informal sector”. Nabeel Hamdi wrote an article, which explains the early experimental Open Building projects in England. Charles Corea also wrote an article within these volumes. The figures, which were included within these articles, are also worthy of some attention. Figure 3 depicts an example of a figure from Volume 5 Issue 2 from 1980.

The quotes from the editorials of these volumes reflect the character of the journal:

[…] talking about the subject is not enough on its own. We have to act […] There have to be examples […] (Wilkinson, 1978, pp. 2-3).

[…] dwelling is a result not a goal. Dwellings are defined in terms of possibilities […] (Wilkinson, 1979, p. 3).

Since Issue number 4 from Volume 4 (1979) is mostly concerned with industrialization, prefabrication and housing production systems within the open building approach, Nicholas Wilkinson’s editorial contains some insights on industrialization in housing:

[…] slow pace of development is defended against the fast pace of development […] the big white elephant of the industrialization of houses […] results in poor, weak and ailing new residential environments […] (Wilkinson, 1980b).

4. Six books of open house international containing several peaks of success: Volumes 7 to 18 from 1982 to 1993

The 11 volumes within these 6 OHI books reflect a very energetic period for OHI because the journal was continuously undergoing a transformation. There were formal transformations, transformations in the author profiles, supporting institutions, editorial board, subjects of articles and the presence of some additional items, such as book reviews and academic announcements. Even the name of the journal was changed from Open House to OHI during this period. This was announced in Issue 2 of Volume 7 together with the announcement of the new international supporters of the journal. These new supporters were: MIT, the University of Wisconsin, the Technische Hogeschool Eindhoven and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (Figure 4). The associate editors from each of these institutions aimed to publish their research work in OHI. Hence, issue number 3 in Volume 10 was compiled by Newcastle upon Tyne University and contained articles concerning, “Housing in Egypt”. Issue number 4 in Volume 11 was guest-edited by Nabeel Hamdi who represented MIT. This issue was primarily concerned with the issue of the open building, privatization and critical policymaking. Issue number 1 of Volume 13 was compiled by the Centre for Minimum Cost Housing at McGill University and the subject of this issue was Affordable Housing.

In 1986, the supporters of OHI increased with the inclusion of the Institute of Housing Studies BIE in Rotterdam, King Faisal University, the University of Oregon, the University of Chile, the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation in India, the Instituto de la Vivienda, Oxford Polytechnique and the University of California Berkeley (Open House International, 1986). The editorial board developed over these 11 years and OHI started to have international correspondents in 19 countries.

The editorial of Volume 7, Issue 2 announced that Nicholas Wilkinson had started to work in Newcastle upon Tyne University. The address of the journal was also changed to the UK in Volume 10, Issue 4. This explains the changes in the colour of the binding and the type of paper used.

Nicholas Wilkinson strived to develop global subscribers. He was proud of sending OHI to many countries in the world. Volume 9, Issue 2 from 1984 contains a map (Figure 5) showing the places in the world to which OHI was sent.

There were serious cover, paper and format changes within these six books. The appearance of the journal was presented as a very sophisticated academic journal. The logo of OHI, which was designed by Nicholas Wilkinson [Figure 2(b)], appeared on the front cover of the journal for the first time in Volume 9, Issue 3 in 1984. Initially, these volumes contained long editorials at the beginning, but later they were reduced to short written pieces about the content of the issue. Each journal started to advertise systematic announcements about the contents of the next issue and previous issues, together with a form to subscribe to the journal. There were also regular announcements of SAR and CARDO (Centre for Architectural Research and Development Studies Overseas) publications and the OHI Association, which enable OHI members to publish, organize seminars and competitions.

There were also changes made to the number of articles per issue and author profiles. Initially, there were five or six articles in each issue. Afterwards, this figure increased to 9 or 10 and finally, 6 or 7. The two issues, which were double issues, had 11 or 12 articles. At the beginning, authors were usually western people with one or two non-westerners among them. The fifth book, however, contained many issues with contributions solely by non-western authors. In the sixth book, the majority of the authors were again western. There are 336 articles within these 11 volumes, of which 275 were written by western authors and 164 by non-western authors.

The subject matter of the aforementioned articles also changed over time. Initially, the focus tended towards the concept of the open building and gradually transitioned into issues around self-help housing, disaster problems and participation. Thereafter, low-cost housing, affordability, shelters, slums, squats, developing countries, reconstruction, interventions and the quality of the built environment, became the dominant subjects. In the last few volumes, the focus was predominately on traditional architecture, architecture in the Middle East and flexibility in architecture.

There are 27 articles on the subject of open building within these volumes, 23 articles about housing and housing in developing countries, 16 articles about self-help building, 14 articles about traditional/vernacular/rural architecture, 14 articles about squatters/slums, 13 articles about technological alternatives (including the appropriate technology), 11 articles about participation, 9 articles on co-operative housing, urban shelter and low-income urban shelter, 8 articles on disasters and related shelter problems, 7 articles on community organization, homelessness and policies, 6 articles on low-cost housing, change and architectural education, 5 articles on the design process, quality in the built environment, conservation and re-use, 4 articles on flexibility, 3 articles on joint-home ownership, information systems, innovation, 2 articles on reconstruction, sustainable housing, infrastructure, finance, women and housing, landscape architecture. There were also articles on revitalization, socio-spatial planning, housing development techniques, urban tissue, the use of aerial photos in the analysis of cities, urban growth, density, transformation of the urban environment, standards for housing, domain theory, design research, industrialization, poverty, urban regeneration, land tenure systems, public toilets, law and environment, energy conscious design, adaptable housing, time-space interaction and immigration.

Many countries in the world were studied in these articles. There were many projects (including open building projects) and applications presented within these 11 volumes. These were, namely, The Turtle Tissue project, Crux competition, Chawls in Bombay, Ain El Sıra in Cairo, Baily Road Housing in Dhaka, Prosar Fonavi at La Plata, the Aga Kahan awards, 1,000 houses in Sri Lanka, Kabbutti upgrading project, Hai El Salam and Abu Atwa in Ismailia, the great Alexandria master plan, Sadat city, 30 houses in Sri Lanka, DPU Nairobi Project, Housing in Wuxi Jiangsu, La Zurza in Dominican Republic, Killingworth Towers, Residence de Burgh Eindhoven, Maison Lessard, Aranya housing Project in India, Favela do Gato in Brazil, Giroscope co-operative housing, Al Rasheed co-operative and Nof Ha’Emek in Israel.

The founder of the open building approach: John Habraken, wrote 3 articles for these 11 volumes. Nicholas Wilkinson wrote two joint articles about development. Hassan Fathy and Henry Sanoff also have one article each in these volumes. Quotes from the editorials provide a clearer idea about the enthusiasm behind the journal and its evolution. In 1982, in Volume 7, Issue number 2, Nicholas Wilkinson announced that a broader-based content could be expected in future issues of OHI. This announcement was repeated in 1983, in Volume 8, Issue number 3 (Wilkinson, 1982, 1983a):

[…] profit, in the commercial sense, is not an aim of this magazine. We do have to operate without incurring large debts! In order to survive some magazines sell their pages to the building and manufacturing industries. In my own view these ones often become the worst magazines with a conflict of interest between articles and advertisements […] the magazine has to see its way to a wider audience very quickly […] we need to increase the present readership by 30% to avoid financial embarrassment […] the magazine will continue to draw material from ‘lesser developed’ as well as ‘developed’ countries from both North and South […] combination of ideas and information from different parts of the world is very positive […] (Wilkinson, 1983b, p. 2).

Nicholas Wilkinson visited many countries including China and gave lectures on the concept of the open building. During his visit to China, he and his hosts organized exchange visits, publications, research programmes and a housing conference:

[…] Looking ahead in this way to future issues of OHI there will be a focus on countries or a continent which represent as far as possible one social, cultural and economic context […] the publishing philosophy remains unchanged […] to support the concept of building for people to develop their habitat […] (Wilkinson, 1985, p. 3) Two years later volume 12 issue number 1 was published with a contribution from China.

The editorial in Volume 15, Issues 2 and 3, from 1990, was compiled following a visit Nicholas Wilkinson made to Turkey during which he formed a collaboration agreement between Newcastle upon Tyne University and Istanbul Technical University (Wilkinson, 1990a, p. 1). This issue contained 10 articles on the subject of housing in Turkey.

The 1990 guest-edited issue number 4 in Volume 15 was about India. The guest editors Mulkh Raj and Peter Nientied wrote in the editorial that:

[…] the preference was given to sound professional work which tries to bridge a gap between scholarly interest on the one hand, and practical use or policy relevance on the other […] (Raj and Nientied, 1990, p. 1).

[…] In 1989, our attention turns towards the subject of quality in the built environment, examining the values of meaning and use of material and space […] (Wilkinson, 1988, p. 1) The editorial of the 1989 Volume 14, issue number 3, referred to the OHI seminar on the Quality of the Built Environment, examples of which were published within this issue (Wilkinson, 1989, p. 1).

Some other editorials reflected Wilkinson’s thoughts on the open building approach:

[…] The process rather than product is important. Participation become more singular in its meaning. Participation means control […] (Wilkinson, 1986a, p. 3).

[…] Building on your own can be a hard and strenuous affair. The support that is needed to build on your own should and solely come from the Government to provide the framework for smaller and smaller units of government to operate in […] (Wilkinson, 1993, p. 1).

In his editorial, in the 1990 Volume 15, Issue number 1, Nicholas Wilkinson (1990b, p. 1) described an infill system, which is useful for the open building approach, developed by John Habraken in The Netherlands:

[…] In this system the pipework is free from the support structure and can be laid out to suit many different plan variants and allow the heating system for example to carry a small or large load of heating radiators […].

Some issues contained cartoon/caricature type drawings in relation to the open building approach. The first of these was “support struggles”, which was featured in all issues for a few years [Figure 6(a)]. Afterwards, there was another caricature series about difficulties for people to reach homes [Figure 6(b)]. This type of drawing appeared in OHI very few times.

The first book-review published in Volume 8, Issue number 3 from 1983 was on Kevin Lynch’s: “A Theory of Good City Form”, which was published by the MIT Press. These volumes contained a total of 39 book-reviews parallel to the open building approach, namely, 14 of these were on the subject of housing, including informal and affordable housing; 5 were on cities/urban environments and self-help issues; 3 were on building technology, a further 3 were on change and 2 were on shelters. There were also articles about low-cost housing and vernacular architecture, as well as the Aga Khan Awards for architecture and the Habitat Awards. These OHI books covered a wide range of problems in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and developing countries. Graham Tipple, who was the first assistant editor of OHI, and Stephan Kendall wrote many book-reviews for OHI.

These books were also very rich in academic announcements. In addition to the publication announcements of SAR and CARDO, which were research organizations about the open building, there were also announcements about:

  • Journals: MIMAR, Architectural Review, Triolog, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Appropriate Technology, Urban Futures, Alam Al Bena.

  • Academic programmes: MIT programmes, Housing Studies from CARDO in Newcastle upon Tyne.

  • Institute of Housing Studies BIE, courses of Water Engineering and Development Centre of Loughborough University, HUDCO Survey of Training – Assessment in the Human Settlements Sector in India, Communities Planning and Partnership programme in Cambridge, Massachusets, Human Settlements Training Package in York University, Housing Policy and Urban Innovation in the University of Amsterdam, Affordable homes of the McGill University, Programme of York University and Edinburgh University, Disaster Management Programme in the Oxford Polytechnique.

  • Conferences/symposiums: Participation, slum and squatter upgrading, Aga Khan Islamic Architecture, housing planning and design, appropriate technologies, traditional dwellings and settlements, third-world housing policies, quality of the built environment (OHI Seminar), urban management and housing in the third world, housing research and design education, housing for urban poor, policies and housing systems for low-income communities, sustainable city, ancient home and the modern home, urban waterfront development, continuity and development, design and decision support systems. Sometimes the number of the conferences and workshops were so much that OHI listed them in units of 10 together in one or two pages.

  • Books: Fibre Concrete Roofing, Vivienda, The Arab House, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, A Bibliography for the Study of Housing in Ghana, Housing Technology in Latin America, Beit Al Qur’an.

There were also announcements about networks, research centres, scholarships and competitions. The award-winning projects of the Aga Khan Award were introduced twice.

5. Three books, which were bound in India: Volumes 19 to 24 from 1994 to 1999

Nicholas Wilkinson managed the production of most of the volumes numbered 19 to 24 when he was working for the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority in Pune, India. When he left India and later Germany, to teach as an academic at EMU in North Cyprus, the printing and binding of OHI continued to be done in Mumbai for a period.

There were also striking transformations in these volumes. The most important of these is the “Arab Urban Futures” (Al-Beit Al-Maftuh). This is a short Arabic supplement to OHI between Volume 21, Issue number 2 from 1996 and Volume 21, Issue number 4 (3 issues). Figure 7 demonstrates the announcement of the “Arab Urban Futures” at the bottom of the front cover of OHI and also on the cover of “Arab Urban Futures”. The end of the Arab Urban Futures corresponds to Nicholas Wilkinson’s move to Northern Cyprus in 1997.

The second important change within these volumes was the introduction of the themed issues. Volume 24 Issue number 1 from 1999 was the first themed issue guest-edited by Roderick Lawrence. The theme of this issue was “Sustaining Human Settlements – Economy, Environment, Equity, Health”. Volume 24 Issue number 2 announced OHI’s publishing plan between 1999 and 2001 with the theme titles of these issues and the names of the guest-editors. However, after Volume 24 Issue number 4, open issues started to co-exist with the themed issues. Volume 24 Issues numbers 3 and 4 were the themed issues of this period and their themes were, namely, “community action planning” and “drawing conclusions: urban design interventions for development”, which are related to the open building approach. The guest-editors of Issue number 3 were A. Sharma and M. Gupta and the guest-editor of Issue number 4 was B. Mumtaz.

Presentations of the research work of the member institutions of the OHI Association continued during this period. Volume 21 issue number 4 from 1996 was guest-edited by Geoffrey Payne and it presented: …the contribution of British academic institutions to the improvement in the built environment in the third world or South […] (Payne, 1996, p. 2). Volume 22 Issue number 4 from 1997 was guest-edited by Avi Friedman to present: […] the work of the Affordable Homes Programme at McGill University, School of Architecture in Montreal, Canada […] (Friedman, 1997, p. 2).

The cover of OHI was redesigned twice during this period. Omar Khatab redesigned the cover for Volume 20 Issue number 1 in 1995 when he became one of the OHI editors. This editorship ended in 1996. Simultaneously, with this cover design, the layout design and setting was revised by Madhav Kanitkar. There were changes in the editorial of OHI starting from Volume 19 number 1. Nicholas Wilkinson described these changes as simplification. The second change of cover design was in 1999 by Fuad Mallick and it corresponded with the change towards the themed issues.

The new OHI Corporate members were declared in Volume 20 Issue number 4 from 1995 as: Eindhoven University of Technology – The Netherlands, The Royal Institute of Technology – Sweden, McGill University – Canada, Delft University of Technology – The Netherlands, Stichting Open Bouwen – The Netherlands and York University – Canada. A later Volume 24 Issue no 4 from 1999 announced that Tohoku University in Japan and The Australian Centre for Construction Innovation also joined the OHI Association.

The number of articles in these issues kept changing. There are only four articles in the issues from Volume 19 in 1994. This number subsequently increased to seven or eight articles during the next three years. It later dropped again to five or six. There are 156 articles in these volumes and they were written by 230 authors. There was also an increase in the number of non-western authors, with 107 being non-western.

OHI article titles focused on many countries and cities globally during this period. There were four articles each about Saudi Arabia and Turkey, three articles about China, two articles each about Canada, Cyprus, Jordan, India and Palestine, one article about England, Taiwan, Kenya, Japan, Hong Kong, Tanzania, Hungary, East Europe, South Africa, Vietnam, Uganda and Colombia. Some cities also became subjects of the OHI articles. There were four articles on Istanbul, three articles on Amman and two articles on Bombay.

The subjects of these 156 articles were more diverse than before. These volumes contained 23 articles on housing and residential buildings, 9 articles on the open building, 8 articles on traditional houses, 7 articles on change, affordable housing; the sustainable environment/building/housing/development; industrialization/prefabrication/construction; urban issues, 5 articles on flexibility, CAAD and computer support, policy, the economy, 4 articles on development and developing countries, participation, plazas/parks/nature; squatters, action planning, 3 articles on low-income/low-cost design; poverty, co-operation, high-rise residential buildings, culture, 2 articles on shelters, cities, conflicts, energy, urban identity, conservation, the quality of cities/environments; meaning or aesthetics. There were also articles on regionalism, streets, urban renewal, refurbishment, urban morphology, slums, homelessness, space syntax, the taxonomy of concepts, collaborative design, NGOs, building codes, the Aga Khan award and transport systems.

Fewer projects than before were introduced during this period. Those introduced were Montreal Flex, VZ02 housing cooperation, Diedema in Sao Paulo, La Prairie, La Casa a la Carta, Lucknow Cantonment in India and Wandegeya in Uganda.

Amos Rapoport became an Editorial Board member of OHI in 1994. Within the Volumes 19 to 24, Nicholas Wilkinson had one joint article on shelter problems in Bombay. John Habraken had one article called: “Shared Forms and the Role of Designers”. Nabeel Hamdi had an article on action planning theory.

Only the editorials of the open issues were written by Nicholas Wilkinson. These editorials were long and they were on a variety of subjects, including OHI. Wilkinson introduced the “themed issue” approach in Volume 23 Issue number 4:

[…] A publishing plan has been established for OHI for the next two years. During the initial rigorous re-organization of the journal in which a circulating system for the editing and broad subject areas were proposed, editorial board members expressed an interest to edit ‘specialist’ issues devoted totally to a specific subject. This has resulted more by chance than intention, in a devoted editorial structure, as well as the formulation of ‘theme issues’ of the journal, in a well defined and focused series of subject areas relating to: developments in aspects of education, policy matters, decision making in planning and building, and a close monitoring of technological issues to ensure that they serve rather than enslave us […] (Wilkinson, 1998, p. 3).

[…] OHI has survived through its own merit in the market place. Secondly, it has provided an information service that researchers and practitioners want […]. (Wilkinson, 1997, p. 3). The rest of this editorial explains how the journal developed in parallel to the development of the research on the open building in the supporting universities.

Many editorials written by Wilkinson within these volumes concern his experiences in India or Cyprus. Two of his editorials within Volumes 19 to 24 described John Habraken’s publications about the open building. One of these books was, “The Structure of the Ordinary”, which was published by the MIT Press and the other was, “Supports”, which was re-published by Nicholas Wilkinson’s Urban International Press. Wilkinson wrote some of his editorials on the concept of the open building:

[…] Our urban poor ‘clientele’ need a product which THEY can make into a home. We cannot actually do that for them but we can provide the physical, financial and legal conditions for it to happen […] (Wilkinson, 1994, p. 2).

There was also an increase in the number of book-reviews within these volumes. These books were about mud brick architecture, contemporary architectural thought, vernacular architecture, urbanism, housing, cities, financing women’s enterprises, homelessness, neighbourhood development, nomadic architecture, gender, participation and open building.

OHI Volumes 19 to 24 were rich in information. These were announcements providing information to the subscribers and readers:

  • Journals: Appropriate Technology, OHI Arab Urban Futures.

  • Books: Ethnoscapes – Environmental Social Sciences; Ritual-Practice and Co-determination in the Swedish Office; Amos Rapoport’s 33 Papers in Environment-behaviour Research and John Habraken’s, Supports, which were both published by the Urban International Press, Developments towards Open Building in Japan, A Changing Society Needs Technology to Change, Care-Responsibility-Technology; Publications of the Affordable Homes Programme by McGill University.

  • Programmes: CARDO Postgraduate degrees, Housing and Urban Design; Industrialization of Social Housing in Latin America, Housing for Low-income Groups, CENDEP – Oxford Brooks Programmes, IHS Programmes on Urban Poor, Programmes by the European University of Lefke, KTH Programme on Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure, ITU-MED – CAMPUS Housing for Low-income Groups; IASTE’98 Manufacturing Heritage and Consuming Tradition; Celebrating Chandigarh, HSMI and DTUDP – Urban Infrastructure – Financing and Pricing.

  • Conferences and seminars: housing for the urban poor, special needs and built environment, housing tenure, place and development, industrialization of social housing, environmental ideals, action planning, sustainable urban housing, identity, tradition and built form, home environment, architectural education, urban risk.

There were also announcements about research centres and workshops.

6. The white unbound issues: Volumes 25 to 26 from 2000 and 2001

The covers of most of the white, unbound issues were designed by Fuad Mallick. These issues were not bound because of the presence of the website and the electronic recording facilities. The paper type and format of the issues were changed many times during this period. Starting with Volume 26 Issue number 3, the front cover of the journal contained a note, which stated: “a CIB encouraged journal”. CIB: International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction.

These volumes contained three open and five themed issues. The themed issues were:

  1. Towards the refurbishment and renovation of large prefabricated housing estates in east and central Europe – Seiji Sawada.

  2. Environmentally responsive architecture – Fuad Mallick.

  3. Gender and space – Catalina Gandelsonas.

  4. Health, housing and urban environments – Roderick Lawrence.

  5. Infill/fillout systems – related to open building approach – Stephan Kendall.

There were usually nine articles in each issue. However, there were also a few issues with 7 or 12 articles. There were a total of 75 articles and they were written by 59 authors. In total, 43 of these authors were non-western.

There were 6 articles about the open building and 10 articles about infill and fit-out systems and the 2 articles about flexibility were also related to the concept of open building. There were 11 articles on housing and 3 articles on traditional architecture; 2 articles on environmentally responsive architecture, passive cooling, passive solar design and sustainable architecture, women, quality of life, health, prefabricated housing/industrialization and affordability. There were also articles on social and political issues, social care, sustainable refurbishment, self-building, rehabilitation, housing transformation, open spaces, supports, infrastructure, partitions, smart technology, shading, community initiatives, municipal services, informal settlements, housing and democracy, ventilation, employment, communication technology, organizational approach, revitalizing, agile architecture, social sustainability, the handicapped, multiple space use, design education and well-being. John Habraken also wrote an article within these volumes on infill systems.

Only two projects were directly handled within these volumes. These were, namely, La Dolorita in Venezuela and the Frauen-Werld-Stadt Model project. Many countries/cities contributed to the titles of the 75 articles in these volumes. There were three articles on Cyprus, two articles on Eastern Europe, Canada, the Arabian Gulf and Japan. There were also articles on The Netherlands, England, Hong Kong, Gulf, Kuwait, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Buenos Aires and Korea.

The number of book-reviews within these volumes were reduced to two: Vietnamese Modernism, Design and Feminism. There were several announcements, which informed readers of OHI about various academic activities:

  • Books: Supports of John Habraken, Amos Rapoport’s 33 Papers in Environment-behaviour Research.

  • OHI publishing programme, the OHI Association.

  • Seminars/Conferences/Forums: urban risk, environmental health risk, traditional environments, children’s environmental health, agile architecture and social sustainability, urban transport, conferences of the Wessex Institute of Technology.

There were also announcements about visits and research centres.

7. The colourful unbound issues of Volume 27 to 42 from 2002 and 2017

The cover of the OHI issues were designed mostly by Esra Can and Emre Akbil after 2002. Each cover was specifically designed and made different from the others. Since this covers a period of 15 years, it is necessary to divide it into some meaningful categories to achieve more reliable results. This can be done in accordance with the important changes in both the journal’s and Nicholas Wilkinson’s life. The first of these categories correlate with the coverage of OHI by the Web of Science/Knowledge, which was announced on the first page of volume 31 number issue number 4 from 2006 (Figure 8). Two other divisions correlate to Nicholas Wilkinson’s retirement in 2010 and the decline in his health in 2015.

7.1 The colourful issues of Volumes 27 to 31 from 2002 and 2006: before the coverage of the Web of Science

The content of the journal underwent some changes during this period. One of these was a radical decrease in the number of announcements. Although each issue contained a call for the academic institutions to announce their activities in OHI, the number of announcements did not increase. Other than the announcements of OHI and Wilkinson’s Urban International Press (Such as John Habraken’s and Amos Rapoport’s books and Methodologies in Housing Research and OHI Managing Urban Disasters – Volume 31 Issue number 1), there were:

*World Habitat Awards’ announcements,

*Programmes: the Architecture and Development programme of Lincoln University, Education and Research in Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU),

*Conferences on: environmental health risk, sustainable cities, African architecture, CIB Meetings on Balancing Resources and Quality in Housing and Open Building Implementation.

There were also a few announcements about research centres and academic visits.

Another important change was the reappearance of the demand for project-based manuscripts together with, “open building in practice” or “portfolio productions” in Volume 28 Issue number 1. These were additional papers included at the back of each issue. Portfolio productions contained the following projects or academic articles, which were mostly communicated through visual materials, which are usually about the open building: Urban tissue, support and infill proposal – Albania; transforming offices into homes, affordable homes with passive solar considerations – Canada; residential dilemmas – Turkey; social housing – Nicaragua; operable infill in housing renovation – the Almere Monitor; regeneration of public residential buildings – Japan; flexible Architecture, sustaining vernacular architecture – Antiochia; the extendable patio house; housing morphology – Trabzon.

The projects, which were included within the articles of these volumes, were, namely, the Fuentes Lopez House in Argentina, the Phoenix Shelter, the Raku Inkyo Project, the Lidingo Centre of Jarla Sjö, Celso Garcia 787, 12 projects in Hedebygade, Gandhi nu gam Ludiya Kutchchh, the Fukasawa Symbiotic Housing Complex, the Uciw ver Housing in Mexico, The Fairfield Estate and The Eldonian Village in Liverpool.

The recognition of the RIBA Index, Avery Index and Ekistics Index was announced for the first time in Volume 27 Issue number 4. Figures of Volume 29 Issue number 1 were published in colour for the first time. Many of the later issues contained some colourful and high-quality figures. Volume 28 Issue number 2 announced a list of “book-review editors” and the number of book reviews increased considerably, thereafter. The subjects of these books were, namely, sustainability, open building, urban environment/design, housing, public/private partnerships in land, participation, the Vancouver achievement, energy issues, natural disasters and reconstruction, Catherine Bauer, poverty, minimum dwelling, refurbishment and renovation, slums, affordable housing, time-based architecture (TBA), designing, social innovation. The limits of planning in cities by Nabel Hamdi, the culture-architecture-design relationship by Amos Rapoport, Palladio’s children by John Habraken, which is about the open building, OHI managing urban disasters; methodologies in Housing Research and At War with the City, which were published by the Urban International Press, were also among these books.

There were only two open issues edited by Nicholas Wilkinson. The other 18 issues were themed issues. The subjects of these themed issues were, namely, war and cities, culture and the built form at the millennium; sustainable design, construction and management; balancing resources and quality in low-income housing, the architecture of development, housing and the built environment, Open building perspectives 1, homelessness, shifting responsibilities in housing management and building regulations, the urban villages – a concept with global connections, Open building in perspective 2, which was guest-edited by Nicholas Wilkinson, Community Asset Management, beyond residential mobility – linking residential choice with urban change, putting people at the centre – sustainable housing solutions, managing urban disasters, the open building in education; design studio teaching practices – between traditional, revolutionary and virtual models; culture, space and time – traditional environments. Three of these guest-edited issues were directly related to the open building.

There were 188 articles written by 272 authors and 82 of these authors were non-western. Many cities, countries and continents were studied. Europe was studied four times. South Africa and Mexico were studied three times. Turkey, Canada, Brazil, Bangladesh, The Netherlands, Holland, Cuba and Sarajevo were studied twice. Asia, Africa, Latin America, Argentina, Kuwait, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Palestine, Denmark, Japan, India, Malaysia, Bolivia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mozambique, Taiwan, Nicosia, Bursa, Cappadocia, Konya, London, Istanbul, Mexico City, Trabzon, Cairo and Aleppo were also studied.

There were 21 articles on housing; 12 articles on open building and architectural education, 11 articles on disaster risk reduction, 10 articles on traditional/vernacular housing/architecture, 8 articles on war, homelessness and culture, 7 articles on sustainable housing, 5 articles on urban issues and the urban village, quality, participation, community planning/management/initiative/collaboration, 4 articles on IT, change and reconstruction, 3 articles on sustainable construction, gender, regulations, flexibility, migration and sustainable development, 2 articles on developing countries, affordable housing, neighbourhoods, health-care, post-disaster housing, policy, energy, refurbishment, ecology and poverty. There were also articles on solar homes, post-occupancy evaluation, sustainable community, industrialization, infill, urban tissue, identity, life cycle assessment, adaptability, indoor air quality, zero waste, service life, the low-income population, rehabilitation, the aged, regionalism, earth architecture, subterranean architecture, morphology, accessibility, smart homes, building control, standards, sustainable community, epidemic prevention, small homes, communication, mobility, housing careers, gentrification, co-housing, green housing, resilience, disasters, informal settlements, slums and squatters.

John Habraken wrote three articles in these volumes. Amos Rapoport wrote two, Nabeel Hamdi wrote one as did Lucien Kroll. Although there was a decrease in the articles on affordable housing, low-income housing, urban tissue, policy, squatters, slums, poverty, change, flexibility and communication, the subjects of housing and open building still dominated within this era of themed issues. In the editorial of Volume 30 Issue number 1, Nicholas Wilkinson wrote that: […] this issue signals the start of the regular publication of material dealing with open building projects either as additional articles in theme issues or as full open building issues twice a year […] (Wilkinson, 2005, p. 4). However, this did not happen.

7.2 The colourful issues of Volumes 32 to 35 from 2007 and 2010: after recognition by the Web of Science

Volume 32 number Issue number 1 from 2007 announced the coverage of the Web of Science at the bottom of the front cover (Figure 9). Immediately after this some changes took place in the journal’s editorial. The two advisers to the Editor in Chief were announced as Nabeel Hamdi and Pat Wakely. A Board of Editors and Book-review Editors was formed. Yonca Hurol’s name was announced in relation to technical editing. Volume 33 Issue number 4 announced Ashraf Salama as the Collaborating Editor.

The editorial in Volume 32 Issue number 1 announced the 30th birthday of OHI and the Web of Science coverage as the birthday present. This editorial was an important one because it gave detailed information about the history of OHI; it announced that there will be two open issues of OHI every year to be able to include some good manuscripts, which did not fit theme issues. It also announced that over-specialization of OHI must be avoided to permit the further broadening of the base of the journal. The consequences or the result of this decision is clearly reflected within the following volumes.

There were 6 open issues and 10 theme issues with the following subjects:

  1. Architecture in the Digital Age – Jamal Al-Qawasmi, Karim Hadjri.

  2. Eco-tourism – Ashraf Salama.

  3. HIV/AIDS and Settlement Development Planning – Christine Wamsler.

  4. The Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources – Maurice Mitchell.

  5. Zero Carbon Housing – Masa Noguchi.

  6. Shaping the Future of Learning Environments – Emerging Paradigms and Best Practices – Ashraf Salama.

  7. Designing Edible Landscapes – Vikram Bhatt, Leila Marie Farah.

  8. Home, Migration and the City – Ayona Datta.

  9. Perspectives in Sustainable and Healthy Housing – Evert Hasselaar.

  10. Culture, Space and Revitalization – Hülya Turgut, Roderick Lawrence, Peter Kellett.

There were 139 articles and 223 authors in these issues and 103 of these authors were non-western. Of these articles, 26 were on housing. There were 15 articles on sustainability (covering energy, global-warming, carbon-neutral housing, wind tribunes and climate change), 9 articles were on urbanization/urban design, eco-tourism and urban agriculture, 8 were on education buildings, 7 were on architectural education, 6 were on architecture related to HIV/AIDS, 5 were on participation, cyberspace/digital age, traditional/vernacular architecture, 4 were on quality and change, 4 were on refurbishment/renovation/renewal/gentrification/regeneration/revitalization/rehabilitation/rebuilding, 3 were on CAD education, 2 were articles on smart homes, housing research, homelessness, disasters, post-disaster shelter, adaptability, disability, immigration, walkable neighbourhoods and self-build housing. There were also articles on war, refugee camps, poverty, low-income housing, urban village, residents’ satisfaction, conservation, interventions, risk assessment, open building, socio-cultural influences, post-occupancy evaluation, gated communities, contested terrains, globalization, evacuation and flexibility. As adaptability, self-build housing, interventions and flexibility, are also related to the open building, it can be stated that there were also five articles on the open building. However, there remained a decrease in the number of articles on the open building, which was due to the broadened base of the journal.

Henry Sanoff had an article within these volumes. Although there were also very few projects, apart from the Baumschlager and Eberle and the Paukku Project, there were still many continents, countries and cities covered within these volumes. Turkey appeared five times in the titles of articles; London and Cyprus were studied four times; Africa, Egypt, Uganda, Chile and Japan were studied twice. The Arab region, Mozambique, UAE, Kuwait, Iran, Chad, Palestine, Qatar, Trabzon, Nairobi, Ghana, Argentina, the Caribbean, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Beijing, Brussels, UK, Germany, Hungary, Johannesburg and Canada, were also studied.

Some of these issues were published in colour. There were fewer announcements and there was also a radical decrease in the number of book-reviews. The books, which were reviewed during this period were about disasters, urban environment, housing, architectural education, traditional architecture, the open building, poverty, sustainability.

The announcements made within these volumes were mostly related to the publications of Nicholas Wilkinson’s Urban International Press, such as, At War with the City, Methodologies in Housing Research, Smart Homes and User Values, Design Studio Pedagogy, The Birth of Architecture. There were also announcements about Wilkinson’s other activities, such as his new journal called, “TBA”, which was a project-based quarterly journal on open building (Figure 10). This journal was active during 2008 and 2009.

Another announcement, which was included within these volumes, referred to the availability of digital copies of all the previous issues (Figure 11). The old issues were scanned, and these electronic copies were collected on a website.

The other announcements included: a conference on Revitalizing the Built Environment, an MA Programme on the Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources, an MA Programme on City Designs and Urban Culture, a conference on Education for Open Architecture, a Vernacular Architecture Forum, an announcement for Journal of Intelligent Buildings International, Calls for World Habitat Awards.

Three of Wilkinson’s editorials were on TBA and the open building approach. One editorial was about a flexible apartment building and parking garage in Slotervaart in Amsterdam and the transformation of the Jaegersborg water tower in Denmark into a mixed-use building. Another editorial was about Nabeel Hamdi’s book called, “The Placemakers’ Guide to Building Community”, which is also related to the open building approach.

7.3 The colourful issues of Volumes 36 to 40 between 2011 and 2015: following Wilkinson’s retirement

Nicholas Wilkinson retired in 2010, but he continued to use his EMU office for his work with OHI. However, retiring affected him and OHI badly. The most striking difference that occurred during this period was a further radical decrease in the number of announcements and book-reviews. The few remaining announcements were: the “Residential Open Building” by Stephan Kendall and Jonathan Teicher, “Demystifying Doha” by Ashraf Salama and Florian Wiedman, the Future of the Open Building Conference, some publications of the Urban International Press, such as, “Design Studio Pedagogy” and “Smart Homes and User Values”. The same book-reviews were repeated in different issues. The review of Avi Friedman’s, “Decision-Making for Flexibility in Housing” and “Climate Change Ethics”, were published several times in various issues. “Zero Carbon Homes”, Nabeel Hamdi’s “The Placemakers’ Guide to Building Community” and “The Principles of Green Urbanism” were also included in these books.

OHI also intimated three Erratums and three Obituaries during this period. One of these was the Obituary of Catalina Gandelsonas, who was a member of the OHI Board of Editors and one of the guest-editors of OHI. She guest-edited the Gender and Space issue in 2000. Volume 37 Issue number 4 from 2012 announced Emmanuel Chenyi as the Web Manager and Volume 39 of Issue number 1 from 2014 announced Chenyi as the Web Editor.

In total, 11 of the 20 issues within these volumes were theme issues and 9 were open issues. The theme issues and their guest editors were:

  1. Open and Sustainable Building – Jose Chica, Stephen Kendall.

  2. Towards a Sustainable City: Piecemeal versus Grand Planning – Yurdanur Dülgeroğlu Yüksel.

  3. Affordable Housing: Quality and Lifestyle Theories – Ashraf Salama, Urmi Sengupta.

  4. Urban Space Diversity-Paradoxes and Realities – Ashraf Salama.

  5. Adapting Buildings to Climate Change – Monjur Mourshed, Fuad Mallick.

  6. Built Environments for Special Populations – Magda Mostafa.

  7. Zero Energy Mass Custom Home Research Paradigms – Masa Noguchi.

  8. Unveiling Contemporary Urban Transformations in the Arabian Peninsula – Ashraf Salama, Florian Wiedmann.

  9. Policies, Processes, People – Improving Energy Efficiency in the Existing Housing Stock – Henk Visscher.

  10. Post-disaster Housing Reconstruction – Esther Charlesworth, Iftekhar Ahmed.

  11. Unspoken Issues in Architectural Education – Şebnem Önal Hoşkara, Özgür Dinçyürek, Müjdem Vural.

Volume 37 issue number 4 from 2012, which was the theme issue on “adapting buildings to climate change”, contained an interview with John N. Habraken about the potentials of the open building approach in architectural practice.

The 189 articles within these volumes were written by 390 authors and 213 of these authors were non-western. There were 33 articles on housing; 18 articles each on sustainability/sustainable development, urban design/planning/environment; 14 articles on architectural education, 13 articles on affordable housing, traditional buildings; 11 articles on energy efficiency; 10 articles on open building; 7 articles on high-rise, diversity; 6 articles on post-disaster housing; 5 articles on flexibility, community-oriented/participation, social/mass housing, reconstruction, open spaces/landscape, 4 articles on climate change; 3 articles on adaptability, quality, low-income housing, virtual design/digitalization, construction systems/industrialization, policy, disability, zero net energy buildings, ecological issues/green building; 2 articles on adaptive re-use, density, identity, existing buildings, revitalization, renovation, transformation, gentrification, neighbourhood, greenery systems, green housing, spatial experience, disaster, cost/economy. There were also articles on urban regeneration, cultural sustainability, passive design, lifestyle, playgrounds, critical regionalism, complexity, multi-culturality, conservation, resident satisfaction, cognitive mapping, place making, metropolis, collaborative design, co-operatives, mobility, segregation, poverty, informal settlement, sociability, elderly, lofts, post-occupancy evaluation, time efficiency, real estate, traffic, retrofitting, standards, risk, innovation, fit-out industry and ecotechnological architecture.

Many countries and cities were mentioned in the titles of these articles. There were eight articles on Turkey, four articles on Denmark, Doha, Istanbul; three articles on Dhaka, China, Malaysia; two articles on Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, UAE, Nigeria, South Africa. There were also articles on Cairo, İzmir, Beirut, the Gulf, Iran, Lebanon, Abu Dhabi, the Arabian Peninsula, Palestine, Cyprus, Egypt, Malaysia, Shanghai, Bosnia, Belgrade, Northern Ireland, Budapest, France, Hungary, Rwanda, Canada, Latin America, Chile, Vietnam, Manama, the Maldives and Haiti.

Another change, which took place within these volumes, was the transformation of OHI into a fully coloured journal. Together with this change the quality of the figures were also considerably improved. However, some 2015 issues contain some unreadable tables with figures. The quality of the 2015 issues was lower than previously.

The first coloured issue was Volume 38 Issue number 4, which focused on the urban transformations in the Arabian Peninsula and was guest-edited by Ashraf Salama and Florian Weidmann. Nicholas Wilkinson announced this change about colour in the Editorial of Volume 39 number 1 thus:

[…] OHI has turned forward into a new phase and has gone into colour from volume 38 number 4, 2013. Our approach is also to adapt and survive by incremental change. First, we have full colour plates then image size will change and from there the text arrangement. With these in hand our design and physical feel will be evident […] (Wilkinson, 2014a, p. 4).

One editorial by Wilkinson was about Avi Friedman’s book: Decision-Making for Flexibility in Housing. Most of his other editorials were about OHI and open building:

“[…] At the moment we have a large influx of papers making the planning a little difficult and authors are somewhat troubled by the wait time for their publication date. However, they should rest assure that everything will be resolved in due course. The issues are full through 2015 and 2016 […] […] Finally I have pleasure to announce the forthcoming CIB W104 Open Building Implementation to be held in September 2015 at ATH Zurich, Switzerland. There will be a strong focus on Open Building Implementation and other current issues surrounding the subject […]” (Wilkinson, 2014b, p. 4).

7.4 The colourful issues of Volumes 41 to 42 between 2016 and 2017: decline of Wilkinson’s health

Nicholas Wilkinson’s health declined seriously after 2015. This turn of events was also reflected in the journal in that there were only the usual OHI announcements made during this period and no book-reviews. The address of OHI was changed to the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow because Nicholas Wilkinson no longer had the use of his office at EMU. Yonca Hurol was confirmed as the International Technical Editor in Volume 41 Issue number 2 from 2016.

There were two theme issues and two open issues in 2016. The theme of Volume 41 Issue number 2 from 2016 was: an expedition into the architecture and urbanism of the global South, which was guest-edited by Ashraf Salama and David Grierson. The theme of Volume 41 Issue number 4 from 2016 was: forging advances in sustainable architecture and urbanism, which was also guest-edited by David Grierson and Ashraf Salama. However, there were only four open issues in 2017 and no theme issues. One of these open issues was solely about China and it was edited by Dongfon Hu and Tinggui Fung.

The 130 articles in these volumes were written by 290 authors and 257 of them were non-western. There were 24 articles on housing, but no articles on the open building. There were 17 articles on urban planning/development/design; 9 articles on sustainability, urban green; 7 articles on traditional/vernacular architecture, ecological architecture; 6 articles on energy/climate/comfort, open spaces/landscape; 5 articles on rehabilitation/renovation/preservation/regeneration; 4 articles on transformation, affordable housing; 3 articles on livability, lifestyle, eco-city, low-carbon buildings; 2 articles on architectural education, attachment, space syntax, low-income housing, neighbourhood, built heritage, urban poor, change, urban flood, resilience, gymnasiums. There were also articles on representation, facades, urban memory, aesthetics, mega-projects, stadiums, digitalization, multi-storey buildings, privacy, walkability, quality, culture, disaster prevention, emergency shelter, refugees, migration, Buddhist temples, design innovation, Chinese ancient philosophy, visual control, participation, logistics, shopping centres, vandalism, straw-bale building, paper-tube building, creativity, women, heritage management, Metabolist architecture, missionary architecture, the elderly, morphology, land use, the industrial city, accessibility, mobility, smart-skin, double-skin facade, construction planning, water bodies, conservation, small houses, GIS and transportation.

Many cities and countries participated in the titles of these articles. China, Iran, Malaysia and Arconsati were referred to on three occasions. Anatolia and Cyprus were mentioned twice. The Gulf, Middle East, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Algeria, Iraq, Kayseri, Doha, Cairo, Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, Sharjah City, Dhaka, Korea, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kyrenia, Kathmandu Valley, Chile, Romania, Budapest and Glasgow were also mentioned.

The list of institutions, which participated in the OHI Association, were listed as: Delft University of Technology, McGill University, Ball State University, Housinglab in Italy, The Glasgow School of Art, Budapest University of Technology, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Philedelphia University, University of Malaya, Ajman University of Science and Technology, Qatar University, BRAC University, Universidad Del Rosario, Birzeit University Main Library, Inha University.

Nicholas Wilkinson wrote two editorials for these volumes. One of them is in Volume 41 issue number 1, and his last editorial is in Volume 42 issue number 1. The first one focuses on the role of theme issues in publishing: …whilst the open issues have a breath of manuscript subjects, a theme issue has a title to which all manuscripts must address in depth […] (Wilkinson, 2016, p. 5).

Unfortunately, his last editorial contains repetition and incomplete sentences. However, towards the end of this editorial, when he started to write about straw-bale buildings, he entered into the subject of self-built housing and then he managed to write a complete paragraph:

[…] the accessible nature of SBB lends itself well to self-built and workshop-built housing. It is both relatively inexpensive and easy to work with for people new to the construction process. A key finding is that self-building is economically justified if the projected saving is higher than the cost of a contractor and if the usually longer time to build is amenable to the investor […] In brief the economic perspective is a favorable one. (Wilkinson, 2017, p. 4).

This shows that Wilkinson was still dedicated to the open building approach towards the end of his life. The editorials of Volume 42 Issue numbers 2 and 4 were written by Yonca Hurol in communication with Nicholas Wilkinson.

Nicholas Wilkinson passed away in September of 2017. Yonca Hurol (2017) wrote an obituary for him in Volume 42 Issue number 4 (December) with contributions from his family and friends.

8. The colourful issues of Volumes 43 to 44 between 2018 and 2019, following the loss of Nicholas Wilkinson

This was a hectic period during which Yonca Hurol helped Nicholas Wilkinson’s family with the editorial issues of OHI. All issues from 2018 (Volume 43 Issue numbers 1 to 4) were ready to be formatted and published on Nicholas Wilkinson’s home computer. These 2018 issues contained 59 articles written by 124 authors; 111 of these authors were non-western. There were 25 articles on China. Taiwan, Iran, Cyprus, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Malaysia, Tehran, Cairo, Hong Kong, Trabzon, Doha and Ankara were also mentioned in these issues. Most of the articles were focused on the urban environment, urban planning, ecological system, sustainability, traditional/vernacular architecture and green spaces.

The majority of the four issues in 2019 were published as theme issues, inviting some previous OHI guest editors to make contributions. The editorship of these issues was carried out by Yonca Hurol and/or Ashraf Salama. Volume 44 Issue number 3 was a Chinese focused issue with many articles on urban planning and relating to various issues such as music, sports etc. The themes and the guest-editors of Volume 44 Issue numbers 1, 2 and 4 were:

  • Urban Performance between the Imagined, the Measured and the Experienced – Ashraf Salama, David Grierson.

  • War and Cities – Paola Somma.

  • Urban Transformations in Rapidly Growing Contexts – Ashraf Salama.

There were 30 articles within these 3 guest-edited issues and 63 authors. In total, 53 of these authors were non-western. The majority of these articles were on the urban environment, belonging/identity/meaning, contested spaces/conflict, housing. There were also articles on Cyprus, Turkey, Ghana, Qatar, Kazakhstan, India, Bahrain, Basra, Jerusalem, Gaza, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Glasgow and Doha.

The number of times OHI was cited per year, including Volume 44 Issue number 3, and the information about these citations can be found in the Web of Science, as is seen in Figure 12. The average citations per article in 2020 so far is 1, 16, however, in 2010, the figure was 1.87. This reduced figure is a reflection of the declining health of Nicholas Wilkinson. The drop in the citations in 2019 is also due to the effects of the transfer procedures of OHI to Emerald; some issues were published late at this time and this delay was reflected in the current decreased readership of the journal.

Volume 45 Issue numbers 1–4 were compiled after the transfer to Emerald. 45–1 and 2 with Emerald contained 12 articles written by 30 authors. In total, 23 of these authors are nonwestern. 45–3 and 45–4 contained 14 articles. All authors of these issues are nonwestern. There were nine articles on urban issues (Wiedman and Wang, 2020; Zohou et al., 2020; El-Kholei, 2020a; İnce et al., 2020; Ferah, 2020; El-Kholei, 2020b; Ammar et al., 2020; Lingyan and Ming, 2020); two articles on academic research in architecture (Salama and Hurol, 2020; Hurol, 2020), three articles on memory/place/tectonic affects (Tang et al., 2020; Ghelichkhani, 2020; Aksel and Imamoglu, 2020), two articles on the issues of plurality and polyphonic approaches (Salama and Hurol, 2020; El-Ashmouni and Salama, 2020); one article on decolonialism and cosmopolitanism (El-Ashmouni and Salama, 2020); one article on parametric design (Tünger and Taşlı Pektaş, 2020); two articles on photovoltaic facilities (Krstic-Furundzic et al., 2020; Ibrahim, 2020); one article on transformation and social change (Al-Betawi et al., 2020); two articles on sustainability and cittaslow (İnce et al., 2020; Babatunde, 2020); two articles on architectural education (Rauf, 2020; Pasha, 2020); one article on conservation of built-heritage (Thirumaran et al., 2020); one article on traditional villages (Huang and Yuanyuan, 2020); one article on post-war reconstruction (Kudumovic, 2020) and one article on post-pandemic environment (Ghada and Gharib, 2020). Some articles combined double keywords.

9. Conclusion

The claim of this article is as follows: OHI as a journal and Nicholas Wilkinson as the chief editor of OHI, were always dedicated to the philosophy of the open building. When the subjects of the articles in Figure 13 are examined, it is seen that throughout the first 18 volumes the predominant subject of the articles was the open building. The enthusiasm about this becomes clear with the use of some caricatures on the subject of the open building. However, the open building subsequently started sharing its dominating position with the subject of housing, and then with housing, sustainability and urban issues. The decrease in the number of the open building articles was due to the conscious and deliberate broadening of the content of the journal. Wilkinson and his colleagues, who were dedicated to the open building approach, guaranteed that there would always be sufficient articles on the open building in OHI. However, together with the decline of Nicholas Wilkinson’s health, the subject of the open building virtually disappeared from the journal.

Amos Rapoport expressed the role of OHI within the literature of architecture in 2002 as: one major contribution of OHI is its ongoing emphasis on open-ended design as an important attribute of the environmental quality of built environments. Through this OHI has ensured that this topic has not been forgotten and has continued to develop (Rapoport, 2002).

Apart from the past few years of the journal’s publication, as indicated above, there were many academic announcements and book-reviews on the open building in OHI. Nicholas Wilkinson’s second journal, TBA was also focused on the concept of the open building. Although the subject of the open building gradually disappeared from OHI, Nicholas Wilkinson, himself, remained dedicated to the philosophy of the open building as is demonstrated by his last editorial.

There was always a tendency to have more projects (in particular, the examples of the open building) in OHI. This showed itself as an intention initially, and later, it reappeared as, the “portfolio productions”. TBA was also project-based. However, this intention towards project-based publications also decreased during the final years of Wilkinson’s involvement.

Therefore, the claim of this article is partially proven; OHI did not publish on the subject of the open building during its past few years. However, Nicholas Wilkinson himself never broke his bond with the philosophy of the open building.

Together with the deliberate broadening of the subject area of the journal, the number of articles published in the issues of OHI also increased. As can be followed from Figure 13, the maximum number of articles were published in the journal during Nicholas Wilkinson’s final years and just after his death.

The International character of OHI increased steadily. The academics, who work with the concept of the open building, have followed its progress and developments globally. Figure 14(a) demonstrates the level of non-western authors over 44 years of the OHI publication and Figure 14(b) demonstrates the Web of Science records illustrating the origins of the authors since 2008. Together with the increase in the international character of OHI and with the Web of Science coverage, the number of supporting institutions also increased.

OHI was open to many subject areas within architecture and to a diversification of authors from different countries. This openness was also reflected on the covers of the journal. Figure 15 demonstrates the changes in the character of the OHI covers over time. These covers also represent the very different faces of and changes in OHI over the past 44 years.

OHI is finally under Emerald and it is managed through the Scholar One System, through which authors can submit their articles electronically and their articles can be evaluated using a double-blind review system. This arrangement and process has already started to increase the reputation of the journal.


The different faces of OHI

Plate 1.

The different faces of OHI

The initial figures in the newsletter and the final OHI logo

Figure 1.

The initial figures in the newsletter and the final OHI logo

The SAR team

Figure 2.

The SAR team

Manila resettlement project

Figure 3.

Manila resettlement project

Declaration of the new supporters of OHI

Figure 4.

Declaration of the new supporters of OHI

Red dots showing the locations of OHI subscribers

Figure 5.

Red dots showing the locations of OHI subscribers

(a)“Support Struggles”, (b) “Reaching homes to people”

Figure 6.

(a)“Support Struggles”, (b) “Reaching homes to people”

Announcement and cover of the “Arab Urban Futures” supplement

Figure 7.

Announcement and cover of the “Arab Urban Futures” supplement

Announcement of the Web of Science coverage

Figure 8.

Announcement of the Web of Science coverage

Announcement of the Web of Science coverage

Figure 9.

Announcement of the Web of Science coverage

A cover of TBA

Figure 10.

A cover of TBA

Announcement of digital issues

Figure 11.

Announcement of digital issues

The number of times OHI was cited per year (Web of Science search on 5.7.2020)

Figure 12.

The number of times OHI was cited per year (Web of Science search on 5.7.2020)

The changes during the life span of OHI (by authors)

Figure 13.

The changes during the life span of OHI (by authors)

(a) Percentage of the non-western authors over 44 years (by authors), (b) country and regions of authors since 2008 (Web of Science search on 5.7.2020)

Figure 14.

(a) Percentage of the non-western authors over 44 years (by authors), (b) country and regions of authors since 2008 (Web of Science search on 5.7.2020)

Some covers of OHI

Figure 15.

Some covers of OHI


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