Over at Fast Company's Co.Design, John Brownlee takes a look at the Wikkelhouse, by the Amsterdam-based architecture firm Ficton Factory. The three-room, small modular home is light. Ludicrously light. Only about 1,000 pounds light. For an entire house.
How is that possible? It's because the entire house is made of cardboard.
Brownlee points out that architects have been interested in the use of cardboard as a building material for a long time now. Innovation godfather Buckminster Fuller experimented with it in the 1940s. But then cardboard architecture's true messiah showed up in the 1980s. Shigeru Ban started experimenting with cardboard as structural component in 1986. A decade later, he was beginning to use his cardboard-tube as structure in real projects for refugees who needed quick, safe shelter from the horrors of a natural disaster or the evils of humanity. Ban's amazing church in Christchurch, New Zealand, to replace the one destroyed by the horrific earthquake there in 2011 is a masterpiece of the genre.
Why cardboard? As Brownell writes: "What makes cardboard such a suitable house-building material isn't necessarily its strength. ... It's flexibility. Because cardboard is uniquely flexible, each Wikkelhouse can essentially be made from a single piece of cardboard, wrapped around a house-shaped mold. Not only does this increase the strength of the structure by minimizing the potential points of failure ... but it allows the structure to flex under stress while otherwise keeping its shape."
Fiction Factory says that, with the proper care, the Wikkelhouse can last a century in good condition. That would be a sight to behold.
Watch Fiction Factory make a Wikkelhouse and hear their argument for it in their video here:
Read John Brownlee's full story at Fast Company.