Monday March 11, 2013
Build your own home
Here are two ways in which innovations in technology are helping to advance the science of construction.
WIKIHOUSE is putting a new spin on old-time communal house-building with a free online resource that lets people put homes together the same way they might a giant jigsaw puzzle.
The website WikiHouse.cc was designed as an open-source construction kit that lets people create and share home designs and then “print” pieces using machines available for as little as a few thousand dollars.
It is part of the effort by the WikiHouse collective of professionals who volunteer to give consumers information and tools about home design and construction.
“Two or three people working together can build a small house in about a day,” says Alastair Parvin, a British architect sharing his work at WikiHouse at a TED gathering earlier this month in California.
(TED Talks are a series of global conferences formed to disseminate “ideas worth spreading”.)
Aspiring builders have to get their own building materials, which can be cut into pieces by computer-controlled tools called CNC (computer numerical control) machines without any other tools, using data downloaded from WikiHouse, according to Parvin. “It is kind of like making a big jigsaw puzzle,” Parvin says.
“It is basically magic as far as I’m concerned.”
A growing “makers movement” coupled with increasingly affordable technology such as 3D printers and CNC machines is letting consumers become creators of goods they desire, according to Parvin.
He sees the great design project of this century as the “democratization of production”.
WikiHouse is putting itself to the test in the favelas, or shanty towns, of Brazil, hoping that a CNC machine made available for creating furniture will eventually be put to use building homes with the potential to transform slums.
“Slums are being built anyway,” Parvin says. “If people are going to build things for themselves, wouldn’t it be cool if what they make is not rubbish?”
WikiHouse is also working on a way to attach files showing people how to make foundations for homes.
“We could do it,” Parvin says. “We are at a point where it is not innovative; it is just that architecture is behind the game.” – AFP Relaxnews