Open source sustainable architectural plans can help owner builders and everyone involved in the rather carbon intensive and polluting building industry get with the times.
What is open source exactly?
Open source projects, like Firefox and GIMP came out of software development. However the term open source refers to anything people can modify and share because its design is publicly and freely accessible.
The greatest strengths of the "the open source way" is the collaborative participation and rapid prototyping. We certainly need some rapid movement on the sustainable housing front.
Let's take a look at some open source sustainable architecture initiatives.
A quick google search could bring up a number of popular architecture and design zines referencing Paperhouses, which was a standalone website, but has since moved their open source housing plans here.
The picture at the top of this open source architecture house plan post comes from Dekleva Gregorič architects from Ljubljana, Slovenia. Here's there take:
Open source architecture has the potential to reach users that would never even consider finding an architect and starting a design–build process that can deeply affect a sizeable amount of territory and population. It also offers potential for the process to go from generic to highly specific, and provide an opportunity for user customisation to become collaborative design. Unknown users, their needs and behaviour, together with an unknown context (physical, climatic, economic, technological, material) generate the need for customisation.
No doubt you are familiar with wiki, but how about wikihouse?
Head over to Wikihouse for more information and to get the files. Important to take note of the ethos of this open source building project.
Can I really use WikiHouse files for free?
With this project and others it would be great if other sustainable ie straw bale, cob and other natural builders and architects could contribute to their development. We need these plans to use bio-based materials like hemp along with these incredible design ideas.
Digitally-manufactured building system - Blackbird Structural Construction Set developed by Wikihouse.
Here is a very ambitious and exciting directory of open-source sustainable design blueprints from EXX. And remember as they say, "You don’t have to be an expert architect, engineer or agronomer to “hack” your community’s built spaces. The eex toolkit makes it accessible to anyone with a smartphone." Check out and add to their repository on Wikifactory.
Open Source Ecology has a straw bale house plan along with their rather incredible treasure trove of other open source designs and tools. Their goal is to create an open source economy – an efficient economy which increases innovation by open collaboration. Check out their CEB or compressed earth block house.
Married together, quite literally with Open Source Ecology is the Open Building Institute. See the story and here from both founders. You have to love their mission: Our mission is to make affordable, ecological housing accessible to everyone, while fostering collaborative and regenerative practices.
If you are looking for some free home plans then have a look at:
Your Home Australia
Our free Design For Place home designs will help you create an energy-efficient, sustainable home that suits your climate and lifestyle.
Download Home Design Plans
In 2016, the City of Phoenix Mayor and Council adopted ambitious 2050 Sustainability Goals, its roadmap to becoming a carbon-neutral, zero-waste city. As a step towards achieving these goals, the City of Phoenix wishes to encourage the construction of ultra-low energy use homes.
- Open Source Home: Studiolada
house plans—for free. (in French).
- Rammed Earth House by Earth Dwellings
Sweet Home 3D
Free interior design application which helps you draw the plan of your house, arrange furniture on it and visit the results in 3D
Open-source Sensory Hub
This one isn't a house, but wow is it touching.
If you want a bit more reading why this is important have a look at an architecture guide to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals which state that;
Architects can provide basic ideas and proposals for regulations that make it possible for us to have sustainable cities and communities in the future. Architects can facilitate an open dialogue and work in partnerships to give us good solutions, and they can encourage authorities to make the regulations necessary to move forward. This publication is a very valuable presentation of ideas and projects about just that.
Please leave comments with any other open source sustainable architecture plans.