Open Source House The Context
Quality of the environment As a group of architects and development experts we
growing population open source observe that although there are worrying phenom-
growing consumption sustainable design
ena, there are also possibilities of other ways of ad-
dressing urban challenges.
more waste counteract personalize/diversity
today, especially so in developing countries. The challenge is to generate choice…
UN: ‘ A billion people, about a sixth of the world’s population, already live in slums less quality young designers energy The exchange of knowledge between designers
and the percentage is rapidly increasing’
slums thriving communities
‘The combined forces of population growth and urbanization are creating a planet of
slums, where the urban population will have doubled by 2030, according to a report -
released by the United Nations today.’ able designs of high quality, freely available?
The Independent 27 June 2007
lack of money or housing shortage.
The challenge is to generate choice…
and sustainable housing to improve the overall quality
of life in urban areas.
slums around the world cheap alternative, no choice •Supplying a platform that shares drawings and con-
struction information in an open source way;
Energy and waste
•Actively involve enthusiastic young people; open source attitude
build our houses. Most of the houses are build with expensive building material, •Inspire people, corporations and construction compa-
nies worldwide to contribute to the OShouse concept Open Source House focuses on the lower middle
and develop sustainable housing. class in developing countries. This is a deliberate
energy and creation of construction waste. choice in order to move away from donor-dependen-
Approximately 35% of all the waste created on the planet is formed by construction
waste. Contrary to the common perception, it is not only
the poorest of the poor who are in desperate need
Approximately 40% of the energy we use is used in buildings. of adequate housing. Rising property prices are one
of the main challenges, forcing even teachers and
nurses to live in informal settlements as they cannot
their way 2008).
waste social mobility
Open Source House .
Sharing global 8 Principles Development
all OS-houses should be designed according to
knowledge for local solutions
The website os-house.org hosts an Open Source platform, where smart
designs are freely available and where creativity is never lost.
design, which are freely accessible for everyone. People from all over the The design will have to be embedded in the local culture and econ-
world can use the designs and improve or adapt them to their local con- omy. Improve employment, and know-how and prevent transpor-
How to reach this? Design according to Cradle-to-cradle
The future disassembly and material-use should be an integral part
Open Source House is a revolutionary new idea, which introduces sustain- of the design. All organic and technical materials should be able to
able, modular housing through Open Source design in developing coun- be separated completely. Natural resources used should be renew-
houses. Moreover designers follow 8 principles, which stimulates sustain-
ability. For example: make use of local materials, smart climate use, cradle-
to-cradle design and sustainable energy supplies. Climate
Make optimum use of location and climate conditions. Minimize
Open Source House starts with a Design Competition. The best designs will energy consumption.
be awarded and realized in a pilot project in Ghana. The competition will
published on the online Open Source House platform as the starting point
of a growing body of knowledge. This platform is freely accessible so that Size
people worldwide can use the ideas, adapt, improve and share them again All OS-houses have to be designed on the local measurement sys-
on the platform. tem. Elements have to be transportable and exchangeable with
other local OS-houses.
The location of the pilot project is Ghana. To create a serious design as-
signment a thorough research is initiated to comprehend the situation in
Ghana. At the same time further research is done on the concept itself. The Structure
pilot will test both social perceptions as well as technical and economic Separate the load-bearing structure from the demountable build-
feasibility. ing skin.
To generate creative input for the competition several workshops are orga-
nized in Ghana as well as the Netherlands. These ideas as well as existing Connections
solutions are posted on the platform. So people joining the competition All connections between components and the structure and com- 2nd house
can build on these ideas and be inspired by them, according to the Open ponents have to be dry and demountable. This makes disassembly
Source mindset. easy and clean.
Possibilities are being explored to implement the OS-house at a
larger scale with a wide diversity of designs. After the pilot
Enviu will facilitate local entrepreneurs to produce and Building services
sell the Open Source houses in their local context.
and provide a sustainable way of living. The building services are
8 OS house principles
smart, safe, upgradeable and adapted to the local ecology. They
can function independent from the structure and skin.
All designs and ideas will be published and shared on www.os-
house.org for other people to use, improve and get inspired. The
designs, drawings and presentations are made in a clear, reproduc-
what could an OS-house look like?
Open Source House Case Study
m o d u l a r
How big should a standard house be?
For any modular building to be successful it has to be designed on a grid
In architecture there is long history of modular and prefabricated building.
The casestudy design aims to take the best ideas of the past and use them
to make a 21st century open source house.
The French engineer Jean Prouvé. In his studies in the 1950’s he experi-
mented a lot with modular building and housing for the third world. One
of his best designs is the Maison Tropicale from 1949. Experiments for Housing by Jean Prouvé 1950’s Yacht House by Richard Horden 1984 R128 by Werner Sobek 2003
In Maison Tropicale Prouvé addresses several design issues which are to
be dealt with in tropical conditions. section
The roof and the box protect the user against the rain and at the same N Z
time ventilate naturally. The veranda creates outside space which is pro- rainwater storage sun boiler
tected against the sun and, together with the roof, protects the box
house, without the necessity of extra construction.
The design of the structure should make it possible to build the struc-
beams which are bolted together connected with steel plates. The beam
maison tropicale 1949 maison tropicale 1949
supporting the roof is made out of two parts and connected in the middle.
This creates a three-hinge frame in which the beams are relatively short
and can be transported more easily.
The design of the frames is such that a second frame can be added on top detail
lation of building services is much easier The house is separated from the
ground level and thereby protected from animals, dirt, water, etc. By add-
ing a ventilation roster the house can be ventilated with cooler air which
Herman Miller assembly plant connections connection outside corner connections overview
Façade: Bath 1976 igus factory, Cologne 2000 igus factory, Cologne 2000 igus factory, Cologne 2000
with Terry Farrell. His work is inspired by the work of Jean Prouvé and is
renowned of his modular façade design.
cradle 2 cradle
The igus factory in Cologne is a good example of a modular façade, multi-
to detach separate components and replace them. This simple idea is the
inspiration for the façade in this case study, the ease to change and build.
Floor / roof panels:
The materials used in this design are supposed to follow the cradle 2
cradle philosophy, materials which are always able to be reused, without
quality loss and rest-products. cradle 2 cradle oil barrel (foundation) Holz100 c2c pannels
nection’ and because of the shifting of seem direction it insulates. These
types of components are easily producible by local factories with local
Open Source House Case Study
The Principles in practice
os-house.org os-house.org os-house.org os-house.org
roof skin structure foundation
e t c e t e r a
e t c e t e r a
e t c e t e r a
e t c e t e r a
The use of materials which are locally accessible, not expensive and easy pro-
cessed because of the low-tech detailing.
Design according to Cradle-to-cradle
used again it is possible to recycle or doesn’t damage the environment.
The steel used for the connections is reusable and recyclable. The untreated
wood in the structure is reusable, recyclable and a natural material which can
do no harm to the environment.
The panels are completely reusable for other os-houses.
The design is completely naturally ventilated and can, based on the context,
be treated for local conditions: with insulation and ventilation. Rainwater is
stored and heated on south pitched roof.
The design is completely modular, based on a system which is easy to use in
skin and roof. The skin has a separate zone in the measurement system, com-
By using only bolts to construct the structure as well as the other compo-
nents, it is possible to demount the building completely. And build it again
of the building.
By centralizing the services to a central point of the house there is less space
needed for service infrastructure. Furthermore the space between the roof
ground is useable to place equipment to store water. All the panels are able
The design will be published on the website os-house.org and fully open to
develop other solutions combined with this design.
Design by Bo Kristiaan Janssen, Vincent van Sabben and Vincent van der Meulen
Open Source House International Design Competition
The Design Competition starts 15th of
January, 2010 and is open for team or in-
The challenge is to design a sustainable
house in an expandable way. The mod-
ular construction should be suitable for
1. Sign Up for the competition.
2. Discover the OS House platform while becoming an active member
3. Start Design Competition January 15th, 2010
4. Deadline for submission May 17th, 2010
5. Award event and start Pilot
6. All designs will be published on the Open Source House platform
Joining in is your chance to establish your
name as an architect and to witness your
design being built and sold to its new res-
idents through our pilot in Ghana.
The Open Source House is an initiative of Enviu and Vincent van der Meulen
this still is your opportunity of becoming
part of an online community of interna-
tional architects that are excited about
sharing solutions -
For more info visit www.os-house.org