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The blueprints to these famous houses are now open source

Paperhouses features homes from internationally renowned architects and hopes to unlock the door of design to home builders.


Aja Romano


Frank Lloyd Wright’s historic William Winslow house just went on sale for $2.4 million—but what if you could simply download the blueprints and design and build your own dream house for under $300,000?

That’s the vision behind Paperhouses, a new architectural website that hopes to harness “internationally renowned” architects into an open-source design project: Paperhouses will release free blueprints to the public and connect them to a network of building resources to help them construct their dream house.

Paperhouses claims that the total cost for each blueprint is under $300,000. While this is still much more than the average American can easily afford, allowing the buyer to build on their own terms has significant advantages. As the website explains:

Paperhouses was created so that users around the world could access architecture on their own terms. By availing itself exclusively online, Paperhouses allows for free downloadable blueprints to be realized at the end-user’s own specifications, or in concert with our extensive network of building partners who can accommodate users’ needs according to topology, atmosphere, ecological concerns and/or additional material considerations. What’s more, the bulk pricing guarantees an enormous reduction in cost.

Joana Pacheco, the architect behind the project, tells Wired that Paperhouses is trying to simplify a convoluted, expensive, and scary process for home buyers and builders.

“We’re trying to bring quality to open source,” Pacheco says. “Architects that you wouldn’t normally call on to do your house are suddenly are very much within your reach.”

On the website, you can register for a look at Paperhouses’ catalogue, featuring houses designed by 12 architectural firms from across the globe.

“Open source is a door without a lock,” declares the Paperhouses website—a door that may finally be opening for the housing market.

Photo via teemu08/Flickr

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