The editor of Open House International, Nicholas
Wilkinson died on Thursday the 28th of September, at
6.15 am in Famagusta, Cyprus. He was 75 years old
and owned and edited Open House International for
42 years, since 1975.
Open House International very important to
Nicholas Wilkinson. He felt anxious when there were
any problems around the journal’s publication.
Writing the editorials was another major concern for
Nicholas Wilkinson. He thought deeply about each
editorial and wrote them with great care. He only
experienced some difficulties in doing this during his
last month. With the exception of the September 2017
issue, he was the author of every editorial since the
journal’s start, if no guest editor was involved.
I had to write the editorial for the September issue
to support Nicholas Wilkinson because of his health
problems. It was difficult for him to write. When I completed
writing the editorial he read it and told me that
it was not good. I asked him why and he said that he
found it too conventional. Since there was no time to
alter it, we had to publish it as it stood. He also
explained that an unconventional editorial can have
any content at all and still provide information about
Since that day I have been thinking about the
meaning of unconventional. It is easy for me to imagine
myself as an unconventional person. However, it is
not that easy to produce something which is unconventional.
This situation can easily be seen as ideological.
Thinking about the unconventional character of
Nicholas Wilkinson, I started to understand that
unconventional works appear spontaneously and without
following any rigid prescription; they are simple
but they deal with the important issues of life; they
need a high level of confidence; they are not only the
products of mind and they are also not controlled by
feelings; they need ethos to relate the mind and emotions
Thinking about Nicholas` criticism of my last editorial
has made it very difficult for me to write this editorial.
At the beginning I really wanted to write an
unconventional editorial as Nicholas wanted.
However I could not do it. When Emmanuel Chenyi,
who also works for the Open House International,
called me to ask about this editorial, I could not delay
writing it any longer and decided to write about the
current situation of the journal in general and this
issue in particular..
The articles in this issue were selected by Nicholas
Wilkinson, sent to the referees of the journal and
accepted by them for publication. Nicholas said that
20% of the articles which were submitted to Open
House were accepted.
Since Nicholas Wilkinson was very interested in
the particularities of different geographies and different
cultures, it was not a surprise for me to see that the
articles in this issue bring the unique architectural or
urban characteristics of many different countries and
cultures. There are articles about Korea, Egypt,
Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Iran and Algeria in this
issue. It is a rich combination of articles which makes
us feel as if we are in these countries ourselves.
Missionary architecture in some parts of Korea, sustainable
urban mobility in a district of Cairo Egypt,
affordable housing in Malaysia, industrial parks and
vocational education parks in a city in China, rural
housing in northeast China, accessibility of open
spaces in a district of Hong Kong, pathways in the cultural
landscape of Iran, pro-poor housing in some
part of Ghana and retrofitting Berber dwellings in
some part of Algeria. These articles form nine of the
thirteen articles in this issue.
Two of the other four articles concern the design
process of double-skin facades and smart skin buildings.
Nicholas Wilkinson was also interested in new
technologies, such as double-skin facades and smart
architecture. He once published a book about smart
architecture in his publishing company called the
Urban International Press. The remaining two articles
are about the identity of traditional industrial houses
and maintaining urban character through morphology
Perusing this issue was a real pleasure for me
because it was like meeting with Nicholas Wilkinson
again. Reading about the subjects he was interested
in, reminded me of his friendly and cheerful presence
Rest in peace Nicholas.
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