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Architecture by the People, For the People

Who are the architects of tomorrow? Maybe all of us. Wikihouse, from British designer Alastair Parvin, lets anyone download free 3D files for...

Who are the architects of tomorrow? Maybe all of us. Wikihouse, from British designer Alastair Parvin, allows anyone to download free 3D housing files, change them up in Google Sketchup, and print out all of the parts on a CNC machine. It's an open source construction set. "Basically," Parvin says, "You end up with a really big IKEA kit."


Even the mallets used to put the parts together can be printed out. Two or three people with no experience can build a small house in about a day. Each part goes together in only one way, so you'll automatically build it correctly.

Over the course of the house's life, the DIY home owner can reprint new parts and keep changing it. Since Wikihouse is a community-led project and is shared around the world through a Creative Commons license, people are already starting to hack it and make modifications.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mlt6kaNjoeI

As Parvin says in the TEDTalk above, Wikihouse is a small answer to a very large question: the fastest-growing cities right now aren't filled with expensive skyscrapers, they're developing organically on their own. The world's biggest design team is the poorest 99 percent of the global population, not the top one percent that includes professional architects. What if there were low-cost, open-source solutions available to everyone, not just in terms of housing, but for all public infrastructure? What if we could all be our own architects?

Image courtesy of Wikihouse

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