Jose Sanchez

Dec 15, 2020

Architecture for the Commons

Participatory Systems in the Age of Platforms

Routledge 2020

Architecture for the Commons: Participatory Systems in the Age of Platforms (Routledge, 2020) dives into an analysis of how the tectonics of a building is fundamentally linked to the economic organizations that allow them to exist. By tracing the origins and promises of current technological practices in design, the book provides an alternative path, one that reconsiders the means of achieving complexity through combinatorial strategies. This move requires reconsidering serial production with crowdsourcing and user content in mind. The ideas presented will be explored through the design research developed within Plethora Project, a design practice that explores the use of video game interfaces as a mechanism for participation and user design.

The research work presented throughout the book seeks to align with a larger project that is currently taking place in many different fields: The Construction of the Commons. By developing both the ideological and physical infrastructure, the project of the Commons has become an antidote to current economic practices that perpetuate inequality. The mechanisms of the production and governance of the Commons are discussed, inviting the reader to get involved and participate in the discussion. The current political and economic landscape calls for a reformulation of our current economic practices and alternative value systems that challenge the current market monopolies.

This book will be of great interest not only to architects and designers studying the impact of digital technologies in the field of design but also to researchers studying novel techniques for social participation and cooperating of communities through digital networks. The book connects principles of architecture, economics and social sciences to provide alternatives to the current production trends.


Bryan Toepfer, AIA, NCARB, CAPM is the Principal Architect for TOEPFER Architecture, PLLC, an Architecture firm specializing in Residential Architecture and Virtual Reality. He has authored two books, “Contractors CANNOT Build Your House,” and “Six Months Now, ARCHITECT for Life.” He is a professor at Alfred State College and the Director of Education for the AIA Rochester Board of Directors. Always eager to help anyone understand the world of Architecture, he can be reached by sending an email to btoepfer@toepferarchitecture.

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Bryan Toepfer

Bryan Toepfer, AIA, NCARB, CAPM is the Principal Architect for TOEPFER Architecture, PLLC, an Architecture firm specializing in Residential Architecture and Virtual Reality. He has authored two books, “Contractors CANNOT Build Your House,” and “Six Months Now, ARCHITECT for Life.” He is an Assistant Professor at Alfred State College and the Director of Education for the AIA Rochester Board of Directors. Always eager to help anyone understand the world of Architecture, he hosts the New Books Network – Architecture podcast, is an NCARB Licensing Advisor and helps coach candidates taking the Architectural Registration Exam.

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