The idea of building homes using 3D printing is not a new phenomenon – the KamerMaker proposed a similar idea last year. But as with any original notion, developments and adaptations are bound to emerge.
Indeed, the WikiHouse concept, the brainchild of Alistar Parvin, who presented at TED2013 on this recently, is doing just that and proposes a free online resource that will allow people to produce and build new homes for themselves.
A completely open-source project, Wikihouse offers a downloadable construction kit that lets people create and share home designs and then “print” the required pieces using machines available for as little as a few thousand dollars.
Parvin, a British architect, is obviously passionate about what he is doing. He is one of a number of altruistic, volunteer professionals looking to democratize design for construction — with a particular focus on slum areas across the world. One of his projects, in Rio, has garnered much attention, and as he says, “Slums are being built anyway. If people are going to build things for themselves, wouldn’t it be cool if what they make is not rubbish?” During his TED presentation in California, he went on to say: “Two or three people working together can build a small house in about a day … It is kind of like making a big jigsaw puzzle.”
Parvin credits the enabling factors behind this project as being a growing and inclusive “maker movement” together with with more accessible and affordable technology and tools such as CNC machines and 3D printers. His long term view — for this century — is the “democratisation of production.”