Created by a group of young designers from London, WikiHouse is an open source construction solution that aims to make it possible for almost anyone, regardless of skill level, to freely download and build affordable housing. The WikiHouse construction system was on display during last month's Milan Design Week, where the creators themselves demonstrated how the technology can be applied.

“We believe this could herald in a new industrial revolution,” co-founder Nick Ierodiaconou told Gizmag. “The factory of the future will be everywhere and the designer will be everyone.”

The WikiHouse construction system is based on the use of plywood fins that connect together to form a robust timber frame structure. Using a Google Sketchup plug-in, users access the WikiHouse open source website, design a structure and download the template that can then be "printed" using a CNC milling machine.

Once the fins are printed or cut out, the structure fits together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Without the need for any power tools, builders simply lay out the parts for each section before bolting together the layers to create individual sections. The sections are then positioned vertically before primary connectors are inserted between the sections to stabilize the structure. This is all achieved using wooden pegs and a mallet provided. Once all the secondary connectors are in place, the external cladding panels are screwed into position. The structure is then ready for insulation, cladding, sealing and wiring.

While the WikiHouse construction set is still in its development phase, it is anticipated that the system will be further enhanced to create an end structure that is weather-tight using cladding, insulation, damp-proof membranes and windows.

“We are very much committed to achieving a fully habitable house,” said Ierodiaconou. “For the moment we are working on various prototype builds around the world, but we hope to one day see one and two storey houses deployed at scale.”

That commitment includes the completion of a fully habitable house within the next 12-months and collaborations in New Zealand and the US to use WikiHouse for disaster-relief housing in Christchurch, Haiti, and Japan.

Furthermore the current WikiHouse website offers simple structure solutions and an open invitation to collaborators who are interested in sharing open source solutions in the public domain. “The WikiHouse community is growing and through contributions from around the world we hope to crack some of the more pressing technical challenges,” explained Ierodiaconou. “We hope to one day offer tools and standards under different categories to allow teams of contributors to develop and improve these open systems.”

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