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By : Nicholas Wilkinson

The Support and Infill concept has been generally accepted and adopted by the design disciplines as well as the construction and manufacturing industries. Support and Infill were developed as an alternative to mass housing (Habraken 1961) The author argued that mass housing made no sense because of the absence of the user as a player in the housing process. This led to all sorts ills and wasted opportunities. This was mainly a relationship problem between the inhabitant and the dwelling itself resulting in identical units in identical blocks in identical neighborhoods which never changed nor ever moved until the mass demolishers came in to make way for something better which often was 'supports'. Overlapping with this concept, Open Building emerges describing decision making levels of the urban tissue, supports, infill and all their spatial and physical properties and components. Now Time Based Architecture (TBA) (Leupen 2005) has come to the front. It is, as the name suggests, an Architecture which does not resist change but which embraces it. It is something close to Supports and Open Building but slightly different. All Supports are TBA edifices but not all TBA edifices are Supports? To explain this it is perhaps sufficient to say here that Supports did not deal in flexibility per se but with restructuring the building industry, to re-orientate decision making and also a large amount of attention was paid to modular co-ordination. TBA addresses this but also crosses borders into high tech buildings, flexibility and explores the use of contemporary materials and the flexible nature of glass and steel construction. So we must learn to juggle with Supports, Open Building and TBA. A Support is a positively set up structure to encourage and suggest further action by other non professionals. An empty Support is a 'finished area of building' and is Architecture itself. Infill parts/components/materials are the items to place in a support to make the support space into a recognizable system of use e.g a shop, apartment, hospital ward or office. Open Building and Supports are finished areas of building. A Support is animate, is architectonic whilst a TBA building under construction is inanimate, is a frame and part of an unfinished project. You can only judge a TBA building for its aesthetic value and its architectonic value when it is finished. All Support buildings are TBA buildings but not all TBA buildings are supports. In Open Building there is a point where building ends and occupation activity begins. Thus in support type housing this occupation activity begins when we see the users and infillers moving in, in shopping malls when we see the shop fitters and retailers come in, in office blocks when the outfitters and office people come in and in the case of the hospital INO project in Bern, Switzerland when the nurses and surgeons come in and determine whether they want linear or cluster concepts for their surgery areas. (Geiser 2005) We have come a long, long way since the1960's from the first Open Building projects yet we must stick to our true principles. Corbusiers Domino house is not a support (Habraken 1970). But it is a TBA building. Why? Because if you put a lay person in a Domino frame who is not an architect or technician he or she would be at a decision making loss as to what to do. A building frame is just that; fun for architects but for nobody else but still can result in a strong TBA. In the Autumn of 2007 the first issue of TBA International will be published. The main criterion for publishing in TBA (you can guess it) is that the building must address the time factor. Whether it is a 'frame' or a 'finished area of building' will not determine whether it will be published or not. On an educational note it would be worth conducting design studio programmes which address the time factor and come up with sound proposals which accommodate different layout solutions which can be generated by the non-professional. In this issue, Vol.32 N03 2007, the first article by JIA Beisi deals with the work of a practice in Austria. The housing projects here can be said to lie between a Support and a TBA building. An open plan typology has been used with "…an operable façade system to deal with the changing needs of the user.." Next comes Hadjri and Boussa who deal with existing urban environment in the UAE and show different approaches implemented over the last two decades and how they have been evaluated. Articles three and four are urban by nature. The Urban Design Discourse attempts to define the strands of thought that define this subject today. The Urban Merge looks at the media and its full potential over the last decade as a tool

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