A BRITISH designer has developed a concept that will allow people to download plans to print and build their own bespoke earth-friendly house over a few days.
The inventor say the plans, named WikiHouse, will herald a digital building revolution, letting anyone design a high-performance, low-cost and energy-efficient home and assemble it easily themselves. Individuals and housing associations around the world are already experimenting with the technology.
Now visitors to the Edinburgh International Science Festival will have the chance to get their hands dirty and spend an afternoon helping to construct a prototype in the capital next month. There will also be an opportunity to get a closer look at the first ever community WikiHouse, which was erected over three days at a new canalside development in the capital’s Fountainbridge area last October.
Designer Alastair Parvin, who co-founded the non-profit WikiHouse Foundation, says the idea is to give control to the buyer and encourage local collaboration.
“It’s all about putting power and choice into the hands of the consumer at the end of the chain,” he said. “We have already created the digital hardware you need to make a house. The next part of the project is about creating the software – an online process that will help you through the process of designing your house, manufacturing and assembling it. The key thing throughout that is making it simple. Yes, there are aspects of WikiHouse that you can literally do for yourself with friends, but you don’t have to. You’ll be able to choose which bits you want to do for yourself and which parts you want to pay a company to do.”
He says digital technology means it is easy to make a customised house.
“Gone are the days when we had to have cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all houses. Every place is different and every person is different, so why should all our homes be the same? For no greater cost, it becomes possible with the tools we are creating to allow each house to respond to you and to the place that it’s in.”
Festival creative director Amanda Tyndall said: “We are delighted that Alastair Parvin is a part of the 2016 Edinburgh International Science Festival, in which we challenge our speakers and audiences to collectively explore how we might build a better world.
“In the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, it’s fitting that we are hosting the man who champions architecture by the people, for the people.”