Thursday, September 29, 2011


So the idea of Wikihouse is to help make the tools of home construction more readily available for people with access to feed-stock (plywood) and equipment (large cnc routers) to assemble by hand or with tools that can be routed out of the feed stock.  I like the idea of making sectional concepts to mix and match to assemble a house, and with an available cnc router be able to produce the components needed to make a house with out needing contractors.  So far the available designs are somewhat useless in my opinion, designed to make something akin to a cargo container.  A single story, box-like tube for a "studio."  It helps to start small and extend so while I'm not impressed by the starting work I am hopeful for extended building blocks.  Hopeful, but also a little nervous.

If you are in the US at least you will likely be aware of uniform building code and maybe you've heard of National Electrical Code, or Fire Code, Plumbing Code, Energy Code, Natural Gas code and if you are in my neck of the woods permeable surfaces is part of the permitting process.  To say the least, my first though on this whole project is it will never get forward progress with the moving target known as building code in the US.  There are so many moving pieces, I don't even know where to begin.

Roofing is some very advanced stuff, seriously look into what goes into the design of a truss any site that offers the service tells you to consult and engineer.  In Washington at least you cannot get your plans approved without getting them reviewed by and engineer.  If you hire an architect for your project generally they employ engineers that will review your plans before they are submitted for approval.  Fire code touches on lots of different aspects of home building and if you aren't careful Building code, Fire code and Electrical code can have conflicting proscriptions in them that you can avoid by changing room layouts slightly.  No examples jump to mind so I'll have to pester my old man about it, but I just cannot imagine this working well in the United States.


  1. So far, as you said, the designs are kind of useless ("I'd like a house shaped like a big ugly rhombus... oh, there it is! Awesome!"), but I can see the potential in this. I hope it gets off the ground.

  2. The last house I just moved from was built by an old man with a design similar to some of those in the link, it was a cool (and cheap) little house.