Designer Alastair Parvin presents a simple but provocative idea: what if, instead of architects creating buildings for those who can afford to commission them, regular citizens could design and build their own houses? The concept is at the heart of WikiHouse, an open source construction kit that means just about anyone can build a house, anywhere.
WikiHouse is his project to create an open-source library of houses which can be downloaded, manufactured with a CNC machine and assembled in a day – an idea which he hopes will democratize the production of housing and the city as a whole – as he puts it, “In a way it should be kind of obvious that in the 21st century maybe cities could be developed by citizens”.
This year though, he elaborates on the potential of his open-source model: while WikiHouse focuses on structures, he sees a possibility to make this kind of freely available kit-of-parts available for all types of crucial infrastructure, mentioning solar powered air conditioning, off grid energy and off-grid sanitation as some areas where similar ideas could be used. He hopes in the future this “Wikipedia for stuff” will enable people from all backgrounds to access basic services in a way that subverts the current consumerist system.