WikiHouse: Test buyers wanted for groundbreaking new Christchurch homes video

JOSEPH JOHNSON/Stuff.co.nz

WikiHouseNZ is developing affordable, safe housing that people can build themselves.

A Christchurch company developing innovative new houses is looking for four people willing to test the groundbreaking building technique.

WikiHouseNZ has developed a modular, timber home that can be constructed simply, quickly and cheaply using pegs rather than nails.

The plans have developed from a 10-square metre sleepout to a 40sqm home complete with solar panels, wool insulation, and tall internal spaces.

Martin Luff, co-founder and director of Space Craft Systems is looking for people to build a WikiHouse.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Martin Luff, co-founder and director of Space Craft Systems is looking for people to build a WikiHouse.

The company is holding two sold out sessions on Saturday in a demonstration WikiHouse it has built in Christchurch as part of the Festival of Transitional Architecture (FESTA).

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WikiHouseNZ director Martin Luff said the project had grown in size over the last few years.

A peek inside an early version of a WikiHouseNZ project called the BackYarder.

A peek inside an early version of a WikiHouseNZ project called the BackYarder.

"It is a more ambitious house," he said.

"We are just starting to talk to the first customers. We are looking for four early adopters at this point. These will be the very first ones we have built, so we want to see how easy each part of the process is."

He said the home would cost about $100,000 to $150,000, not including foundations. The company is working with another company to develop cheaper foundation systems and is keen to test the new home on TC2 or TC3 land in Christchurch.

Early concept of a Wikihouse with Clayton Prest, left, Danny Squires, and Martin Luff.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Early concept of a Wikihouse with Clayton Prest, left, Danny Squires, and Martin Luff.

The WikiHouse concept was proposed by London-based architect Alastair Parvin in 2011. WikiHouseNZ directors Luff and Danny Squires joined the project early and are considered co-founders.

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The concept involves homes made of plywood cut by computer-controlled machines and secured with wooden pegs rather than nails or screws. The designs are "open source", meaning they are publicly available for anyone wishing to build a WikiHouse.

Luff said they were looking for a site in Christchurch to build a full show home.

"We are already manufacturing parts for that. We want to show people what can be done."

The company has built a 2.4-metre by 6.5m cross section of one of the homes in its workshop in Hillsborough, Christchurch. People will be able to look through the structure on Saturday at two sessions being run as part of the FESTA event.

"It is a demonstration so people can get a feel for how it works."

The sessions are oversubscribed and Luff is considering holding more events.

WikiHouseNZ was granted $300,000 by the Canterbury Community Trust's social enterprise fund, which was established after the Canterbury earthquakes.

 - Stuff

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