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The Future of Building

Posted on by Patricia McLaughlin

Sometimes economic forces and trends come together in interesting ways, and at CERC we are always on the lookout for these types of developments. One such technology came to my attention recently, and I was intrigued to find out more about WikiHouse, an organization whose mission is to “put the tools and knowledge to design, manufacture and assemble beautiful, low-cost, low-carbon buildings into the hands of every citizen, community and business.”

Bringing together the trends toward open source software, sustainability, smaller homes and the need for affordable housing, among others, the WikiHouse solution has the potential to be revolutionary. It is essentially an open source method of designing and building structures using giant puzzle pieces cut from plywood utilizing a CNC router. Think IKEA for buildings.

The digitally designed and manufactured pieces snap together using a Korean-inspired wedge and peg joining method. It is wicked wiki (Hawaiian for quick) because a group of people with no formal construction training can assemble a simple house frame in less than a day!

“The future of building, by everyone, for everyone.” WikiHouse

According to the WikiHouse website, maintained by Open Systems Lab, a U.K. nonprofit, the project was started as an experiment by developers, designers and engineers looking at how to build the millions of homes that will be needed in the future in a low-energy, low-carbon and healthy way. One model WikiHouse has created uses digital design in microfactories and a distributed, flexible supply chain to enable a network of local manufacturers sharing common solutions on the web to meet these future housing needs.

WikiHouse homes and structures are popping up across the globe. Check out the website to see where. You can also review their intriguing practices and operating principles and exactly how their do-it-yourself buildings come together. Open source means all plans are shared, and you can design your own (and then share it).

Also, expect to see more WikiHouse homes and buildings popping up in the U.S. in the coming years.


Photo courtesy of WikiHouse