The Open Source movement began in the realm of software development where developers would release software source code for free to anyone to view, modify and distribute. There are multitude benefits to this model, it enables anyone to collaborate on a project, add something they feel is missing, fix a bug they've come across and generally learn how complex software is put together.
The open source concept was drawn into other media with the introduction of the creative commons license which enabled photographers, writers, and other artists to release their works for others to freely distribute and modify provided the original copyright owner was attributed.
The concept has finally reached the world of architecture with the recent emergence of Open Source Architecture. The key concept of which is to make architectural design accessible to more than the world's richest 1%. This can be achieved by licensing architectural works under a creative commons license so rather than starting each project from scratch designers have a toolkit of existing plans they can work from. These plans could be the entire drawing package for a rural school or just a single architectural detail. This year could be something of a turning point for Open Source Architecture as in January Architecture for Humanity who led the Open Architecture Network filed bankruptcy and has since closed down. There are still, however, many ongoing OSArc projects such as WikiHouse and the just launched Paperhouses "the first open source platform that brings world-class design for free to the general public".
Banner: WikiHouse (Date Unknown) Studio. Available at: http://www.wikihouse.cc/studio/