OPEN Prototype House Initiative Begins Testing

BOSTON, MASS AND WALPOLE, NH The OPEN Prototype Initiative, led by the MIT Open Source Building Alliance (OSBA) and Bensonwood Homes, has announced it will work with a roundtable of industrial leaders to develop a new model for creating more responsive, adaptable, higher quality, cost-effective homes. Over the last 60 years, while other industries have advanced dramatically, homebuilding has remained

BOSTON, MASS AND WALPOLE, NH — The OPEN Prototype Initiative, led by the MIT Open Source Building Alliance (OSBA) and Bensonwood Homes, has announced it will work with a roundtable of industrial leaders to develop a new model for creating more responsive, adaptable, higher quality, cost-effective homes.

Over the last 60 years, while other industries have advanced dramatically, homebuilding has remained relatively stagnant. In the years ahead, however, powerful demographic and market pressures will force a change in how we design, build, and integrate technologies into places of living, which are rapidly becoming centers for work, preventative health care, distributed energy production, entertainment, commerce, and learning.

The OPEN Prototype House Initiative will test the deployment of advanced designs, materials, systems, and fabrication strategies, with a goal of showing how high quality, sophisticated and personalized homes can be built more cost-effectively and in less time. The Initiative will engage industry in an investigation of how this new model may create a path to market for new products and services — potentially triggering an explosion of creative energy in the housing industry, now decades behind in the application of market-proven innovations.

As part of the ambitious program, which will design, build, test and evaluate homes using prototype models, MIT and Bensonwood Homes will build one home every 18 months, starting in the spring of 2006 and continuing through 2010. Minimizing field labor and maintaining the highest quality design and construction criteria, each home will be completed in less than 30 days.

The first prototype, constructed with innovative building technologies, will be located on the grounds of the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield, N.H. Crotched Mountain is a highly regarded organization providing extensive rehabilitative, educational, clinical and support services in a creative, inspiring environment. The prototype will be designed to respond to a wide range of physical and cognitive abilities of the center’s clients, reflecting the complexities of the future baby-boomer housing market.

In the first and all subsequent prototype homes, the multi-disciplinary team and industry partners will collaborate on the development of innovative design concepts, fabrication processes, and new home systems. A central goal will be to create personalized residential environments that can be “mass-customized” from highly engineered, integrated systems produced with advanced manufacturing processes, mirroring innovations found in other industries, from automotive to consumer electronics.

At the completion of each prototype, a symposium will be held to discuss and evaluate the result, and to set increasingly challenging goals for the next prototype. OSBA will provide advanced academic research while Bensonwood will access its sophisticated design and production processes to build the homes.

“It is exciting to be at the forefront of the process of bringing homebuilding into the 21st century,” says Tedd Benson, president of Bensonwood Homes. “We welcome this opportunity to work with leaders such as Kent Larson and his colleagues at MIT. It will ensure great outcomes that will greatly benefit the consumer.”

For more information on the OPEN Prototype Initiative visit http://www.openprototype.com.