WikiHouse – Build an open-source house

Posted filed underArchitecture, Design.

Wired.UK presents the “WikiHouse , the ultimate self-assembly kit: an open-source construction set that lets you build your own home from online templates. Download the plans, source the parts and get building — your new home can be up by dusk. The designs require no formal skills: assembly is a 3D jigsaw, with numbered pieces that slot together and are hammered down. And there’s no need for power tools — even the included mallet is computer numerical control (CNC) milled.

Alastair Parvin, architect at 00:/, the London design practice behind WikiHouse, says the logic of economist John Maynard Keynes (“it’s easier to ship recipes than cakes and biscuits”) applies to these homes. By putting design into the public domain, WikiHouse hopes to incite real change. “That’s the ambition of the project,” says Parvin. “To lower the threshold to making your own house.”

00:/ built its first WikiHouse at the Gwangju Design Biennale in South Korea last summer, followed by another at the October launch of Hub Westminster, a work space jointly run by 00:/ and Westminster City Council for like-minded entrepreneurs to meet and foster collaboration. Having milled the parts (WikiHouse’s Google SketchUp plugin lays out the components, which you can mill from plywood panels), a ten-strong team constructed the house.

The practice is exploring using the model for post-disaster recovery, where for speed and cost WikiHouse principles could be invaluable (including sourcing materials from debris). “Everything we do is self-consciously experimental,” says Parvin. “It’s about finding out what problems are worth solving. And we think this is definitely one of them.”

Photo: Christopher Rudquist