The Open Form in Architecture

Oskar Hansen

In 1960 Oskar Hansen sent this piece of writing to Jaap Bakema and the Post Box for the Development of the Habitat, which today is held in the collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut. It includes his criticism of and wishes for the right kind of exchange of ideas for a new architecture, that would engage with 'concrete people' allowing them to develop their living environment according to their own needs, to organically arrive at a new balance between the individual and the collective, despite industrialisation, and despite the post-war society dominated by issues of quantity rather than quality. Open Form was his key concept for the new architecture, a processual understanding of design and construction. Because he was never a party member Hansen would be marginalised in Communist Poland, and he would develop his ideas into a practice of radical pedagogy at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.

The MACBA in Barcelona has devoted a retrospective to Hansen's work, see for more information here:

In what way does your proposal contribute to the open society?
Oskar Hansen sought a new, inclusive approach toward design and construction. His idea of Open Form entailed a radical political and pedagogical concept to overcome to restrictions of a mass society dominated by industrialisation, standardisation and quantification.

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