OpenStructures (OS) is a design methodology for open modular and collaborative construction. It facilitates circular material flows and the reuse and repair of components. By allowing for future adaptations during the design phase, OS generates building components that are widely interchangeable and objects that can be infinitely adapted and repaired.
With this project, we want to introduce the methodology to abroad public so that the system is spread throughout Flanders. Therefore, we developed a series of educational kits aimed at different target groups. The goal is to raise awareness among the widest possible audience and to teach them how to think and act in a more circular way.
In collaboration with Vooruit Arts Centre, Design Museum Ghent, the KASK and the Ostend library, we have outlined routes with accompanying workshop formulas, focusing on four target groups: schoolchildren, students, museum visitors and citizens. This resulted in four different building and design kits, each tailored to the specific competences of each group. All kits and components were tested and evaluated on location by both participants and facilitators.
PartnersKunstencentrum Vooruit, Design Museum Gent, KASK – Koninklijk Conservatorium van de HOGENT-Howest
The OS_Modular games are six game kits with some 300 components aimed at primary school children. The kits were tested in four workshops at the library in Ostend and at Arts & Basics for Children in Brussels.
The OS_Playstation 2.1, consisting of four floor components and some 400 building blocks, is aimed at museum visitors and was set up as a semi-permanent installation in the Design Museum in Ghent in the summer of 2021, with and without supervision.
The OS_Mobile Archive Unit is a mobile workshop kit for higher education. By developing new designs based on existing parts, students are introduced to the basic principles of circular design and co-authorship.
The OS_StarterKits consist of a lamp that can be converted into a stool and a trestle that can be converted into a lamp (and vice versa). These kits are aimed at ordinary citizens and were tested by means of two workshops in the Vooruit in Ghent.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
Thanks to this process, we now have several educational tools and workshop formulas at our disposal to introduce the most diverse target groups to circular thinking and acting, while improvising and building. We can offer these tools not only as a product but also as a service.
Waste is not a fixed given. If we invest in a qualitative context in which parts are valorised, we can change the value judgement for discarded material from 'worthless rubbish' to 'valuable raw material'.
Within the OS system, parts from a commercial context can be reused in an educational activity, possibly through sponsoring. Conversely, parts from a workshop kit can find a place in the development of a functional or commercial product.
Many people experience adapting, repairing and taking apart as meaningful and therapeutic. Moreover, building together has a binding effect across generations, competences and cultures.
20workshops and events
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Now that we have a wide range of educational products and formulas at our disposal, we want to valorise them as much as possible at home and abroad through targeted communication and promotion. To this end, we are looking for the right partners.
In addition, we would like to collaborate with institutions and companies that facilitate educational activities themselves and/or are looking for materials and formulas around circularity and sustainability.
We also want to develop OpenStructures into a fully-fledged label for circular design and production, as a hallmark for reusable objects and components. For this too, we need partners, on the one hand designers and companies who want to apply the label to their products and on the other hand architects, distributors and shops who want to market this circular offering.
Finally, we want to focus further on writing out possible reuse scenarios, linking primary to secondary users.