Open House: the perfect ménage à trois

Like me, the Open House architecture festival was born in London and has been in Barcelona for three years. It’s aim is to foster understanding and appreciation of architecture and urban design, and the model is fast-expanding across the world.

In each participating city, the event is organized and run by a charitable organization, in the case of Barcelona, ArquitecturaReversible, and counts on the participation of building-owners from the public and private sectors.

Ulls, mentes i portes obertes / Open eyes, minds and doors

Open House is a model of good practice for cross-sector collaboration; participants from each sector draw on and contribute their unique resources to create something greater than the sum of its parts. What is more, each participant gets something back in exchange for their efforts.

The organizing NGO works from a position of independence and passion for the goals of the event, enabling it to put together a varied programme staffed by hundreds of volunteers.

Third Sector: Casa Macaya. Visits Saturday 27th Oct 11am – 2pm, 4pm – 7pm, Sunday 28th Oct 11am – 3pm

Local and national government bodies open the doors of public buildings, thus stimulating citizen engagement and promoting government’s role in preserving our shared cultural heritage.

Public Sector: Pavelló de la República. Visits Sunday October 28th 11am – 7pm

Private institutions such as hotels, shops and theatres can harness increased footfall to boost brand awareness.

Private Sector: Hotel Santos. Visits Sunday Oct 28th 11am – 7pm

It’s when this kind of synergy of resources and goals is lacking that public-private partnerships go terribly awry. Think partnering with profit-seeking companies in pursuit of goals such as quality elderly care or a nationwide postal service.

Examining success stories such as Open House is as vital as dissecting cases where public-private sector collaboration has failed, if we are to get these partnerships right in the future.

Barcelona will host the 48H Open House architecture festival on the 27th and 28th of October 2012. You can consult the full programme here.

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