Flatpack cure for London’s housing hangover

flatpack house, flatpack assembly
Wikihouse during assembly. Picture: Alex Lentati

Londoner’s could be Flatpacking their way out of the housing shortage, if a new self-assembly house project by WikiHouse runs it’s course.

WikiHouse, an open-source platform which encourages designing and sharing of house designs that anyone can manufacture and assemble in a matter of mere days and without construction skills, have unveiled their first ever two-storey design ‘WikiHouse 4.0′  at this year’s London Design Festival. Built by a team of volunteers and costing less than £50,000, the new prototype was on display at The Building Centre until the 26th September and also demonstrated the possibilities of other open source systems, with the code for the electrics, ventilation system and sensors all being made available via open-source platforms.

2nd Day of Construction for the Wikihouse Team
2nd Day of Construction for the Wikihouse Team

The prototype’s aim was to educate visitors to the London Design Festival about how the WikiHouse works, with the interior layers of the building exposed at various points to show how the CNC-manufactured timber structure fits together, and how it becomes air-tight and waterproof through the use of Tyvek waterproofing and Equitone (a combination of high grade cement and cellulose fibres which are combined with water and pressed at high pressure into boards) fibre cement cladding. The building is also equipped with a rooftop terrace, perfect for those balmy London evenings, the first time that a WikiHouse construction has incorporated a second storey.

wikihouse, flatpack homes, flatpack construction
Looking good! WikiHouse 4.0 nears completion


Among the open source technologies used in the prototype is Open MVHR, an open-source heat recovery unit developed by Arup and built using 3D printed components and aluminium sheet from beer cans. The electrical components in the prototype are all low-voltage “plug-and-play” components, allowing easy and safe installation and adaptation. These electrical systems are also adjustable with a browser-based control system that works through the building’s wifi.

flatpack house,flatpack assembly, flatpack assemblers
Open for visitors

With space at a premium in the capital these days and other cities around the country also starting to feel the pinch, the potential exists for a low cost easy-build alternative to our housing shortages, and many of the alternatives, like the WikiHouse 4.0 offer a glimpse into a creative, attractive and sustainable future. If you’d like one built or just a quote for your wardrobe assembly – we’re always happy to help – 0845 388 5252 or look up our website www.wedoflatpack.co.uk



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