Cardboard is surprisingly hard-wearing stuff and, besides packaging, has been used for such varied projects as a bike helmet, prototype bicycle, and a guitar. Amsterdam-based furniture company Fiction Factory recently released a novel modular tiny house built from cardboard that can be assembled in just a day and comes in multiple sizes and configurations.
The Wikkelhouse (roughly translated as Wrap House) derives its name from its novel manufacturing process, which involves 24 layers of cardboard being wrapped around a rotating house-shaped mold, then finished in a waterproof foil and wooden cladding.
The prefabricated dwelling is modular and made from multiple segments measuring 5 sq m (53 sq ft) each. So, if you want it to serve as a home office you might use three basic segments, or if it's going to be used as a weekend cabin, you'd make sure to add the "Home" segment which comes pre-installed with a kitchen, shower and bathroom.
Each segment weighs 500 kg (1,102 lb) for ease of transportation and the home requires no foundations, just a place to put it. Assembly is also a breeze and should only take a day on-site.
The example Wikkelhouse pictured looks like it would make for an attractive weekend cabin or vacation home and its single-floor layout includes generous glazing at the front and rear, some porthole windows on the sides, a wood-burning stove, kitchen and dining area, and a bathroom. Fiction Factory can also provide any furniture required at cost.
There are some concerns with a cardboard house. The lack of added insulation means occupants rely solely on the insulating properties of the cardboard to keep warm. Fiction Factory told us that the insulation performance falls a little short of Holland's standards but is adequate.
The other big worry with living in a cardboard house would be durability, and on this note we were told it should last at least 50 years (a good deal more than the temporary Nido House). As for fire safety, it's described as fire-resistant, not fire-proof, and comes with fire detector and extinguisher.
The Wikkelhouse's run from grid-based power as standard but off-grid capability, such as solar panels and composting toilet, can be added at extra cost.
Currently, the Wikkelhouse is available in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, the UK, and Denmark. The price starts at €30,000 (roughly US$35,600), not including shipping and assembly. There's currently a three month waiting list.