OSArch Mission Statement

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Comments

  • I think at this point it's best for everyone to throw all the different ideas out there (as we are in a loose forum format), without getting boggled down of making an ideal mission statement, in the ideal tool. A forum seems best suited to pitch in and throw ideas out.

    The mission statement for time being be something very loose like:

    OSARCH is a platform to showcase, share, and test ideas within architecture & design with open source tools.


    This is the second iteration of osarch. I tried a discourse setup last August but I did not have the time to manage, post, or promote it much. Thankfully through another set of discussions, @Moult stepped up and claimed ownership of the idea. Is it the ideal set-up? Maybe, maybe not, but what's important is that Dion has invested, time, energy, and money to running the platform. Dion, many thanks for your efforts!!! 👍️👍️👍️

    Would be really interested to continue to hear what open source architecture means to everyone else

    MoultCyrilduncancarlopav
  • @Moult , how do we edit posts that we see we've made errors in?

  • @dimitar post editing has now been enabled for a period of 4 hours after a post is made. Let me know if it has problems :)

  • We should note that there is a software space left open by proprietary software vendors: they are effectively required by various regulations to support IFC, but their business models dictate that they prefer proprietary data formats. So there is a real possibility that the best tools for working with IFC could be free software and that the big vendors won't care or won't be interested in doing anything about it.

    carlopav
  • @moult how can you quote just a part of a comment? Also, it seems like Vanilla doesn't use markdown? Also still not sure how to edit a post, no new buttons have popped up anywhere to my knowledge. Sorry for my ignorance



    @ReD_CoDE that's really interesting. One of the selling points that Dassault Systemes like to promote for Catia is that it helps manage the full lifecycle of a product (whether that product in an airplane, car, building, industrial product, etc). When I saw them demo what they were talking about, it makes sense - besides design, quantifiable information can be input early on in the model, and via their cloud service, manufacturers can plug in directly. Later in the process, if not BIM data, spec sheets can be embedded directly into the model, and since the model serves as digital twin, FM, uses the model to observe and analyze the product/building. Then, when it't time for decommission, they know exactly how much nuts, bolts, and other parts can be recycled and/or reused.

    ReD_CoDE
  • edited May 7

    @Moult could you please share how can we edit posts? I can't do that

    @dimitar this is why more and more companies use software like CATIA not only in infrastructure projects, but also in building projects

    Dassault Systemes has focused on improving their

    • Geometric modeling kernel and whole lifecycle (based on Systems Engineering (SE) based on JT = STEP AP242)
    • Simulation, based on new solvers, based on Modelica (System Dynamics and most importantly is acausal when Matlab (Simulink) is causal)
    • Knowledge base approach
    • etc

    which today's BIM software don't cover these features


    Personally I see a BIG obstacle related to BIM/VDC, it is not based on Systems Engineering (SE), indeed modeling and simulation-based systems engineering (M&SBSE)


    I totally agree that whole-part and also part-whole approaches can revolutionize BIM/VDC and there're few companies that work in this way, for instance Google's FM team

  • @dimitar

    @moult how can you quote just a part of a comment?

    like this? :) (indirect way ...)

    Also, it seems like Vanilla doesn't use markdown?

    to me looks like it is working markdown_test

  • @dimitar and @ReD_CoDE apologies about the editing feature - I thought I had fixed it previously, this isn't the first time - but I just found out that the gamification feature (the ability to like posts and earn points) actually gives you ranks which affect your ability to edit posts. I've changed it to be 1 day editing as soon as you join. You should see a settings icon on the top right of your post if it is within 1 day.

    I've also changed the editor to be a bit more obvious in how it works - the other one perhaps was trying to be too clever. This one is a bit simpler, and allows you to edit the quoted post. Hopefully it's better. If it isn't and people want the old one back I can change it back.

    Now, to move back on-topic ... :)

    @brunopostle said:
    We should note that there is a software space left open by proprietary software vendors: they are effectively required by various regulations to support IFC, but their business models dictate that they prefer proprietary data formats. So there is a real possibility that the best tools for working with IFC could be free software and that the big vendors won't care or won't be interested in doing anything about it.

    I absolutely agree with this. I genuinely believe that the BlenderBIM Add-on is now the world's most advanced IFC authoring tool. The only competitor I think that comes close is SimpleBIM. No other IFC editor allows partial writing, geometric representation context control, distinguishes between the multiple colour assignment methods, lets you create your own property set template definitions, and now can store annotation too, among many more features. What's missing is people to test it out, teach it to others, and so on.

    But it's more than just tools - it's about relationships, transparency, and a culture of wanting to do the right thing in the built environment.

    ReD_CoDEbitacovirmagicalcloud_75duncanJesusbillcarlopav
  • @brunopostle said:
    So there is a real possibility that the best tools for working with IFC could be free software and that the big vendors won't care or won't be interested in doing anything about it.

    I absolutely agree with this. I genuinely believe that the BlenderBIM Add-on is now the world's most advanced IFC authoring tool.

    Agree with both. It's becoming clearer every day, there are examples popping up... And it's interesting to see that free software devs complain much less about the IFC format... If only buildingsmart could realize who their real supporters are :)

    Moultmagicalcloud_75bitacovircarlopav
  • @Cyril said:
    @duncan For real time collaboration I would suggest Etherpad : https://framapad.org/fr/, we could also use note on my nextcloud instance : https://courantlibre.biminsight.ch/s/xTns4cEt4W7Nb8P.
    For long term I would suggest to use git. This way we can vote proposed modifications before applying it.

    Thanks @Cyril I will start using that in case anyone wants to see a work in progress. But I want to use something a bit smarter. I'm also looking into buying a hosted Nextcloud instance myself (I don't have the skills to manage it myself) so I'd love to play a bit with NextCloud. Is it possible for you to make a group/project/folder and give me rights to create new documents/files? I'd like to try some ideas for separating the text from a motivation and peoples comments.

  • edited May 12

    ... this is why more and more companies use software like CATIA not only in infrastructure projects, but also in building projects

    Interesting, @ReD_CoDE where can I read more about that?

  • edited May 12

    Here's my first draft of a text.

    Our Mission

    We are a platform to showcase, share, test and develop FOSS tools and workflows for the built environment.

    Our Values

    Bringing people together

    We're creating a place where everyone involved in a buildings conception and life can meet, inspire and collaborate to develop empowering digital tools.

    We support people in creating their own tools and services, for an industry without compromise their private data.

    We love technology. Our primary focus is tools for real people to use in real life workflows - from basic conceptual design tools for non-professionals to high tech digital models for design analysis and documentation.

    Open development

    We reject proprietary file formats and processes. We support open collaboration between all software platforms including interfacing with proprietary platforms to liberate users data.

    We support tools and processes designed to put the users the projects first. We respect the creators ownership of their data and privacy. We advocate open formats for project longevity and transparency.

    Our vision is for cooperation between software systems each of which contribute with what they do best unhindered by commercial barriers. Central to that vision is open file formats and open source / libre software moving data between software platforms without loss of fidelity.

    Knowledge

    We share our knowledge about opening up the AEC space to more democratic tools and processes.

    We contribute to documenting relevant software & processes.

    We support people making the best choices with the best information and tools that respect their rights and freedoms.

    theoryshawJesusbillGerwin
  • edited May 12

    I read all comments through and tried to make sure they are represented in this text. But there were a few exceptions I'll outline.

    • I don't think we should include comments on specific domains like architecture/engineering. That's a whole discussion for itself and I suggest we stay discipline agnostic in this text.
    • I also haven't included anything about environmental & housing-democratic issues. I just don't think they are part of this text. I think this should be about the tools and processes and not the uses. The uses come into play when we start to describe some workflows.
    • I also see and am motivated by the potential for democratizing design itself, but again I don't think this is for everyone so it's not in this text. If the text is not ambitious enough then we should definitely talk about those issue - but even if we who are here now agree we also want anyone who supports more FOSS in AEC to be able to get on board. AEC is not an overwhelmingly progressive bunch of people.
    • I've also avoided the issue of open-access project work like what OpeningDesign is doing, again I think what we are doing is making tools that support many applications both open and closed.

    So those are some of my thoughts as I wrote this.

    theoryshawJesusbillMoult
  • edited May 13

    Great work @duncan, this is a very good first draft. I have two comments:

    1. I would like to see more emphasized the concept of "transparency" in the text. Especially for engineering or any kind of workflows where calculations are involved (thus maybe less so in architectural design) open-source and "no black-box" philosophy is something that has a special meaning. Perhaps in this context a reference to "engineering" could be appropriate even though I agree with you to not refer to specific domains.

    2. I feel this phrase is not very clear and can be misunderstood.

      We support people in creating their own tools and services, for an industry without compromise their private data.

      Perhaps substituting "their own tools and services" with "open tools for their services"? Not sure, maybe it is not clear even to me what is the meaning.

  • Sure, sounds good. Let's get some more reactions before I move forward. If the structure works for everyone then I can make small adjustments and can add it to the wiki. I just think the structure should be clear before throwing it at a wiki where it risks exploding with everyones favorite angle in long text form.

    Jesusbill
  • @duncan I saw this "Interesting, @ReD_CoDE where can I read more about that?" last night, will answer this another time when the discussions about mission statement ended

  • Agree that transparency should be highlighted more.

    We are a platform to showcase, share, test and develop FOSS tools and workflows for the built environment.

    I personally feel that that sentence sounds like are are more software developers and techies building and trying out tools. I would like to emphasize that the uses come first. The tools to achieve it are just... tools. Perhaps this is just personal bias, but I prefer my previously written summary statement below. The three bolded words covered the main aspects in my view: tools (foss / small aspect), workflow (transparency / medium aspect), and ethics (the bigger picture of the industry).

    The Open-Source Architecture Community brings together like-minded users and developers who share a common goal: that the built environment can be designed, constructed, operated, and recycled with free software, increased transparency, and a more ethical approach.

    I understand the argument about keeping ethics out of it ... but I personally can't seem to do that, which is kind of why some FOSS developers talk about free software and some talk about open source ... similar, but different.

    Cyril
  • edited May 15

    Well, transparency is also about ethics so I definitely agree to include it in the mission statement. I believe the statement written by Dion indeed renders better the idea of this group that I have in my mind, as well. I think it is more appropriate for the Mission.
    But I also feel that what Duncan has written is a valid and pragmatic attempt to describe what we do, essentially the roadmap to achieve our Mission. Perhaps the collaboration aspect between the members is something that should be there and the workflows should be emphasized more in the sentence.

    What if we write something along these lines?

    The Open-Source Architecture Community brings together like-minded users and developers who share a common goal: that the built environment can be designed, constructed, operated, and recycled with free software, increased transparency, and a more ethical approach.
    We believe this can be achieved by sharing, testing and developing FOSS and by establishing collaboration workflows based on open standards and open formats with a user-centric philosophy

    Moultduncanpaullee
  • @Moult said:
    I understand the argument about keeping ethics out of it ... but I personally can't seem to do that, which is kind of why some FOSS developers talk about free software and some talk about open source ... similar, but different.

    Here I agree with you. I'm more talking about ethical considerations in the built environment rather than software choices. I'll take another look.

  • I would argue that there are ethical stances baked into the BIM industry about what buildings are, how they are built, and who builds them. There is no 'neutral' position that can be taken on these things, because they are quite an extreme political vision already.
    The concept that buildings are collections of pre-defined products, installed by site operatives taking instructions; this is an entire political programme for structuring society and its relationship with the environment, what James C. Scott calls 'authoritarian high modernism'.
    Also, having spent many years in this industry, the idea that designers design, and builders carry out their instructions is frankly delusional. BIM starts from the presumption that what is wrong with the building industry is that people don't do as they are told.
    I'm not asking anyone to join a crusade since none of us have that luxury, and I don't have any text that can be pasted into a mission statement, but we need to be constantly aware that reimplementing the conventional BIM wisdom as open source software carries the risk of entrenching industry practices that in software terms we would call 'dark patterns'. We should be aware that this is happening, and be careful not to preclude other ways of doing things.

    MoultbasweinglobalcitizenDADA_universe
  • edited June 6

    @brunopostle Could you please elaborate on some of the dark patterns? This would be very interesting.

    For the mission statement, may I suggest removing the 'built' environment assertion, so it's just environment and thereby encompasses garden design (planting) as well as associated landscaping as well. I think there is a HUGE amount of awesome work going on in citizen science / open source biology (eg. iNaturalist), all available as open source data (taxons, ML models, etc.), which could easily be combined with, eg. drones, for automated landscape documentation and forward-looking natural landscape projection, which itself also informs traditional built environment architecture. Besides, with the 25 year building lifetime assertion Bruno quipped, planting a tree can be a lot more permanent architecture than a lot of constructed outcomes, and nature is - after all - the very definition of open source!

    DADA_universe
  • @globalcitizen I'm coming from a place where I see our current way of building as not just profoundly ugly, but environmentally catastrophic - but that is the end result, so it is worth looking at the reasons why this has happened, obviously there are many reasons, but some of them are interlocking with 'BIM'.
    We can look at chains of consequences: the building industry, certainly in the English-speaking world, is deeply adversarial, so there is a legal pressure to make the BIM information unambiguous, layering this semantic database stuff on all parts of the building (though interestingly, it is still the PDF documents and correspondence around them that form the actual contractual information, nobody presents a BIM model in a court or arbitration). So we have these building design-as-database models that require Byzantine software like Revit, and requiring nerds to operate this software the immediate result is that the people actually modelling the building have very little experience of construction - you wouldn't believe how much money is lost in claims and delays simply because nobody at the design stage has the faintest idea what they are doing - the solution is to modularise everything and make buildings assemblies of certified 'products'. Leaving aside the likelihood that none of our greatest architectural heritage could have been built under such a system, no manufacturer is going to certify a 'product' for longer than a twenty to thirty year lifespan, which the financing is fine-with because the discounted value after twenty-five years is near enough to zero to make no difference. But the products are always supplied by the lowest bidder, who shaves their costs by actually designing the product to only last twenty-five years. By design we create a world that consumes the maximum possible amount of resources. The BIM solution is to run with this idea of built-in obsolescence and add a whole layer of decommissioning/recycling information to the IFC database, this is instead of designing long-lived adaptable architecture in the first place.
    'Dark patterns' are the things we make easy, the workflows that are optimised to feel like the natural way to do a thing when, looked-at objectively, we really ought to be doing something else. The problem with proprietary closed-source software is not just that it restricts our freedom to do what we want with our own data, but that it directs our range of actions to that envisaged by the designer of the software. If we can identify a flaw with free software, it is often that it reproduces the functionality of the previous generation of proprietary software, this is usually fine as it builds a free ecosystem, but in the building industry we have multiple ways of doing things that need urgent root and branch change.
    I actually think we are in a good place with the existing free tools, IFC is a good enough base, and where the work is funded by the industry it is ok to expect the result to reflect the industry's priorities, but where we are working on our own time there are whole aspects of the BIM industry that maybe we don't need or want.

    DADA_universe
  • OSArch: developing the space between open source AEC tools.

  • @globalcitizen said:
    may I suggest removing the 'built' environment assertion,

    As a landscape designer I think what I do is encompassed in the term the Built Environment. In fact I think that it encompasses most human generated spaces. See the Wikipedia definition:

    "In the engineering and social sciences, the term built environment, or built world, refers to the human-made environment that provides the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from buildings to cities and beyond. It has been defined as "the human-made space in which people live, work and recreate on a day-to-day basis."".

    I think that it is a useful distinction from environment which in many cases is read as the natural environment.
    The line that is exclusionary of the landscape imho is this line:

    @duncan said:
    We're creating a place where everyone involved in a buildings conception and life can meet, inspire and collaborate to develop empowering digital tools.

    Here is an attempt at an edit:
    We're creating a place where everyone involved in the built environment's conception and life can meet, inspire and collaborate to develop empowering digital tools.

    Moult
  • edited June 8

    Hey all,
    Had a few thoughts to share on the question of ethics and how we discuss it in the mission statement or elsewhere after digesting the posts here and the conversation at yesterdays meeting.

    I think that the mission statement draft that @duncan and others have put together seems like a fantastic landing point for people just getting involved in this community, It's clear and concise which is great and I totally agree that including too much of a discussion on the subjects of participatory design, the ethical implications of BIM, etc. could muddy the waters a bit and make it a less effective introduction to the community.

    That said, like @Moult and @brunopostle and others have expressed I also find it hard to separate the ethical implications of OSArch from the discussion of Open Source Software, but since the ethics side is such a large and varied subject area, condensing it all into a few digestible paragraphs seems like a massive task .

    What I'd like to propose then is a community curated reading list, with resources that discuss the ethical implications and the wider impact of OSArch that we could include as a resource page on the wiki? This could help give people a way to engage with these ethical questions, without us having to spend a lot of time and effort summarizing them.

    A collection like this could also be a huge help to Architecture students who are looking for resources to discuss OSArch related issues in their projects and writings.

    If folks think this sounds like a good idea I'd be happy to start up a thread for it and start collecting / organizing suggestions. Here's a few documents that jump to mind as a start:

    Open Source Architecture - Carlo Ratti (both the book and the article in domus)

    Open Source Architecture: An Exploration of Source Code and Access in Architectural Design - Theodora Vardouli & Leah Buechley

    Dilemmas in a general theory of planning - Horst W. J. Rittel & Melvin M. Webber

    Architectures Public - Giancarlo De Carlo

    basweinMoultglobalcitizenMahmoodMohanadrodtxr
  • @baswein said:
    As a landscape designer I think what I do is encompassed in the term the Built Environment.

    That's great. However, the reality is that most people coming from outside the industry would definitely not associate foliage with 'Built Environment'.

  • great comments. anyone is welcome to make a new draft (just let me know so we don't both start). I'm a bit tied down with some personal issues at the moment so I don't know when I'll have a chance to get back to this.
    @baswein "built environment" - good discussion. I almost started using that term, it's a term i like since it elegantly avoids the discipline silos.
    @kcress FOSS ethic resource list sounds like a good idea. Then we can write somewhere something like "read more about the ethical implications of software choices ..." But do we need to make our own list? Surely there are good lists out there.

  • I’m interested to see an open source program that can do:
    1- architectural models
    2- algorithmic designer
    3- structural models
    4- structural analysis
    5- structural designer
    6- MEP
    7- soil and civil works
    8- rendering and compiling

    I know I’m asking too much but (do it all application) could be a wonderful idea specially if it’s open source, it could replicate the success of blender and change the industry to the best

  • @kcress maybe you'd like to make a reading list linked from this page? I'm thinking that page will get the vision/mission statement soon.
    https://wiki.osarch.org/index.php?title=Open-Source_Architecture_Community
    Let me know if you need help getting started on the wiki.

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