view also in French or Spanish

“…A dozen people have come to us in the last few years and asked for a modern house… We told them it was difficult to work out individual houses, for the (amount of) work has no relation to the cost of the house… Since there seems to be a real need for such homes, we have attempted to solve the problem… The note of individuality would depend on the individual site.”

_Mies van der Rohe, Core House, Chicago Tribune, 8/1952

The architects of 100 selected residential projects worldwide are invited to publish their project on Bausource. Through the platform, the architects may offer one (or more) copyright licenses for these projects to clients in locations globally – outside of the original project’s country. Clients may want a project to be customized with the original project as a prototype. 

This is a new concept that challenges certain notions about contemporary architecture and the professional practice. Please read about the motives behind it below. The issue of exclusivity in the client-architect relationship, a key concern for architects, is also discussed below (point 3).


1                Contemporary architecture is universal

Throughout the formative decades of Modernism, namely the architecture of the early 20th century, architects attempted to develop universal solutions to generic programs. Influenced by De Stijl and Bauhaus ideas, architects such as Mies van der Rohe, Rietveld, Le Corbusier, Gropius and Breuer, developed archetypes, or prototypes to be emulated. The Case Study House Program, developed in the postwar by Neutra, Saarinen, Eames and Koenig, among others, was an explicit attempt in the same direction. Contemporary architects have followed in the footsteps of early Modernism, producing universal architecture that avoids regionalism, even if it adapts to a site’s topography and climate. A similar residential project could be built in different countries, if the site and program demands were similar.

2                Contemporary architecture is replicable

The building industry has evolved, incorporating more industrial processes – using factory-produced elements that require little work on site. The advances in documentation and visualization software have also enabled architecture to be defined almost entirely off-site, leaving fewer decisions for the construction phase. As a result, projects are no longer masterpieces requiring a master builder, but have become closer to prototypes for an industrial process that may be reproduced at faraway locations.

3                Architects own their copyrights

According to intellectual property laws worldwide, architects keep ownership of their copyrights, and clients are by definition granted a non-exclusive license for a single building. In other words, even when a design is the result of a private commission, the intellectual property for those design solutions belongs to the architect. The standard contracts by architect’s associations such as the AIA and RIBA avoid any exclusivity clause, so that architects can remain in full control of their copyrights. Similar to industrial designers and other creative professionals, architects may offer additional non-exclusive copyright licenses for their work and receive royalties. The architect may choose to deny any additional license within the country of the original project.

4                Architects are entitled to royalties

High-quality design is not remunerated accordingly, at least when compared with commercial and corporate architects who are paid the same, or sometimes more, for work that requires a fraction of their time expenditure. Design work could be financed more appropriately if architects would receive royalties in compensation for a copyright license, similar to the structure of other creative professions.

5                Replicating designer architecture

For many clients globally, even if they value design, engaging with a designer is a process with many uncertainties. As a result, clients often build mediocre projects that are available through highly commercial channels, developers and construction companies. If architects allowed a selection of some of the best contemporary projects to be licensed and replicated, more clients would have an option to build high-quality design.

6                Expanding designer architecture

The built environment is rapidly growing and the demand for new buildings is tremendous. Yet the majority of new construction—both urban and suburban— is often poorly designed. By offering a copyright license to replicate one of the selected projects, architects could improve the built environment at another location globally, gain exposure, and trigger more clients and developers to value design.

How it works

Please note: The purpose of Bausource is to facilitate contacts between clients and the selected architects. Bausource will forward any client inquiries to the architects. Bausource is not involved in any subsequent discussions and/or agreements between clients and the architects.

1              Select
Clients browse through a selection of 100 recently built residential projects. Any inquiries about the projects will be forwarded to the architects.

The architects hold the copyrights, an internationally recognized right that is granted automatically to designers without any requirement for registration or application.

To inquire about redeveloping or replicating a project, clients need to define the future project location, which may not be changed without the architect’s authorization. Architects may limit or deny a copyright license based on the client’s location.

2              Acquire

Clients may want a project to be customized with the original project as a prototype. All client’s inquiries will be forwarded to the architects, who may approve or reject an application at their sole discretion.

A contract between architect and client with strict legal terms is drafted, which takes effect once the client has completed payment through international wire transfer directly to the architect.

Before construction, clients may be required to engage a local architect to review the documentation for local code compliance, produce structure and building services projects, and supervise the construction. The original architect may propose, and must approve, who will be appointed as local architect.

3              Build

Once a contract is signed and payment is completed, the architect submits a digital copy of the project documentation to the client. By contract the documents are strictly confidential. They should be password protected and watermarked to identify the copy and prevent any unauthorized use.

Clients may not change the design, other than minor adaptations to local codes, without written authorization from the architect. Any request for changes to the design need to be produced by the architect as a request for additional services.

The architect remains the owner of the intellectual property. As a copyrights holder, the architect may grant additional single non-exclusive copyright licenses for the project.