Monday, March 04, 2013

Wikihouse Rio

I wonder what, actually, is the point of Wikihouse Rio.

If anyone knows how to build their own homes it's the inhabitants of the favelas. They have a huge expertise in vernacular construction from cheap bricks, breeze blocks, cement and plastic. There are problems ...particularly lack of sewage system. Some issues about lack of deep foundations and a lot of issues about the potential for mud-slides when it rains. Favelas typically perch on the side of the hill.

I like the Wikihouse idea a lot. I'm intrigued by the technologies involved etc. But I don't see it solving any of these real problems. Seriously? Large pieces of expensive CNC cut (hard?)wood? For the favela?

The Wikihouse project is designed for people who have money, materials and expensive technology but no information. It packages up information as open-source designs. Fantastic. But the faveladas are the opposite. They have plenty of knowledge, but lack resources and have an awkward construction site. Neither of which, wikihouse solves.

Poor Brazilians have plenty of problems, but lack of European architecture is not one of them.

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