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WikiHouse: Democratising Architecture Through Open Source Design and Manufacturing

May 14, 2024

We have recently been chatting with the team at WikiHouse about their new Skylark system for house building. 

WikiHouse is an open-source construction system that allows anyone to design, download, and CNC-cut house parts from standard sheet material. Inspired by the principles of the open-source movement, WikiHouse democratises architecture by making building designs freely accessible to all. From small backyard studios to full-scale residences, WikiHouse empowers individuals and communities to create customisable, sustainable, and affordable housing solutions.

From the start, the system was designed to be CNC manufactured by SMEs in “microfactories” exactly like Duke Makes. The benefits of this approach are flexibility and resilience to market shocks with many of us not limiting ourselves to servicing one industry. Decentralised manufacturing also has the benefit of reducing the distance parts have to travel to site, improving and retaining skills within the vicinity of the project, and allows greater opportunity for feedback and improvement from a range of suppliers.

So why CNC machining? 

• Precision: CNC machining guarantees parts manufactured to high precision at any quantity

• Customization and Flexibility: CNC manufacturing allows a huge number of different combinations of pre-designed WikiHouse “blocks” which are stored online, allowing the simplification of the design process for the builder.

• Speed and Efficiency: Traditional construction methods often entail lengthy lead times and labour-intensive processes. In contrast, CNC machining streamlines production, significantly reducing construction timelines.

• Sustainability: Sustainable building practices are at the core of WikiHouse's mission. CNC machining optimises material usage, with components nested onto sheets in a way that reduces waste. The specification of UK-produced sheet material also means that buildings produced are carbon-negative.

To find out more about WikiHouse, head to their site here. If you'd like to discuss your project with us, get in touch at

Main image credit: Rory Gardiner

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