What architects must know about open source architecture?

The world of architecture is evolving radically and in the spirit of the 21st century, the housing industry has seen a paradigm shift. Not only styles like modernism and minimalism have gained popularity in recent times but also this century has seen a shift from the traditional construction process to empowering the people to build their own homes. 

The ‘maker movement’ or ‘DIY- Do It yourself’ concept removed the need of builders and contractors from the process and gave rise to Open Source Architecture. This movement aims towards providing freely available plans, 3D renders, BOQs and drawings to the public, thereby giving a new perspective to low-cost housing. 

Although some people in the architecture and designing field feel that open source architecture could result in the death of this profession and would generalize the design yet here are 5 firms taking forward this initiative and leaving their marking on the society  


Alejandro Aravena received the Pritzker Prize in 2016, for designing over 2,500 units of social housing. However, the architect believed that this number was clearly not enough to provide a home to everyone worldwide, and therefore he used the platform of the award ceremony to announce that his firm ELEMENTAL was going to make its signature “half a house” designs accessible to the public via its website, allowing people to be involved in the process of building the house and adapt the design according to their contexts and surroundings.  

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Open Source Architecture ©www.archdaily.com


“I wish to create a community that actively embraces open-source design to generate innovative and sustainable living standards for all.” 

With this empowering thought in mind, Cameron Sinclair set on a journey in 2006 to end the housing crisis of the world, and since then with his determination, he was able to touch the lives of 1.6 million in over 70 countries by forming a large community of building professionals. 

His only network was able to establish easy collaboration between designers facing similar challenges thereby getting in more perspective in the field of group housing and providing humanitarian-based, scalable solutions.

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Open Source Architecture ©www.inhabitat.com


Inspired by ‘Lego’, the wiki house has used the power of the internet and the web is transforming the lives of millions. This digital building system provides easy to build beautiful, sustainable, affordable, homes that can be customized, within certain rules and restrictions. 

An IKEA kit is provided with each unique designs which is very easy to install and convert into a dwelling. Their open chain system not only includes architects but also collaboration from the government, engineers, suppliers, and insurance professionals, currently the firm is working on a system to provide hands-on building tools.

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Open Source Architecture ©www.Wikihouse.com


‘My goal is to put architecture within reach, which means to destitute high-end design of its price tag and forbidden aura, and to engage people in their own project. Universal access via free licensing is the only process that simultaneously makes knowledge accessible, democratic, and amenable to a diversity of production. all things considered, open source makes complete sense’, states paperhouses founder Joana Pacheco who developed –a system which makes contemporary residential architecture freely and easily available. It challenges the perception that architecture is a closed field that touches the lives of people constantly without involving the general public in it. The program aims to create a platform for discussion and collaboration among designers, clients, and builders.

Paperhouse was the first open-source platform for architecture, allowing plans to be downloaded directly from an online platform. The designs are flexible so that they can be tailored to the needs of the user, specifications and shapes can be altered concerning the context, topology, atmosphere, ecological concerns, and material considerations. The company also provides a list of building partners who help in the completion of projects.

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Open Source Architecture ©www.archdaily.com


An online open-source database of parametric brickwork, brick source is an absolutely wonderful idea that takes its inspiration from many DIY videos on the internet, creating a platform for sharing simple construction DIY for a large group of builders.

This online platform not only provides the user with easy to use rhino files but also with excel sheets with codes and pneumatics for adjustable stencil or brickers, technical notes, and brick weaving patterns.

It allows the architect or the mason to create his parametric design by following a simple set of instructions available on their extended website: www.bricksource.wordpress.com

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Open Source Architecture ©www.Bricksource.com

Rudraakshi, architecture is an expression of values, tradition, culture and emotions. She believes in achieving aesthetics through a sustainable and vernacular approach. Through the power of her words, she aims to give a new perspective to architecture.

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