WikiHouse (aka Puzzle Place)

Macy M4960 views

We are getting SOOO close to being done with the barn. I’m not going to do a big reveal until it’s ‘done, done’ (we’re like 99.8% there). In the meantime I thought I would update you about the submissions we made to the Airbnb competition I told you about last time.

It turns out the competition got postponed until possibly next year because of the pandemic. Very understandable situation. I kind of figured it would happen. The great thing is that it doesn’t change our plans too much. We’re still proceeding forward. We made two submissions: a WikiHouse (James) and a silo conversion (Macy). For this post, I’ll tell you about the WikiHouse.

The Puzzle House

Here is our submission:

Our property is located on the “Palouse” in Northern Idaho. This unique region of the Pacific Northwest is primarily known for its rich volcanic soil and endless “rolling” hills of grass and wheat. The Palouse is often compared to an ocean landscape, but absent on this ocean is any sort of aquatic vessel. My plan is to change this, with the only house boat on the Palouse!

As an architect, my ultimate goal is to create an experiential space to learn about and physically explore different building methods and their impacts on the environment. The long term plan on our 6 acre property is to construct seven individual bnb-rentable habitations which are accessory to our goal of educating the public on sustainable practices regarding building, permaculture, agriculture and handcrafting. Each of our Airbnb’s would highlight a different natural or sustainable building method and would integrate modern technology and comfort with recycled materials as much as possible. I would start with a unique, modern floating abode situated on our 1 acre pond, offering a truly unique experiential stay.

The construction methodology I am focusing on for the houseboat is based on the “WikiHouse” concept. The WikiHouse concept uses stock building materials with open source digital CNC fabrication methods to create a structure that can be quickly and easily cut and assembled on site similar to assembling a puzzle.


The shell will be relatively rectilinear, even if at odd angles. The houseboat will have integrated solar power, off-grid water collection and filtration. There will be a central shower space located in the classroom building on site. The structure will be approximately 16’x10’ and will look like a quirky but modern tiny house, although as a boat. The Wikihouseboat will express a dynamic relationship between indoor/outdoor spaces. She’ll offer a private interior space opening up to a large, inside/outside deck space. You will enter the dwelling from a pier that interlocks with the structure at the various pond levels through the seasons, further expressing the interconnected pieces as a mode of construction. From there you could push off into a floating oasis. 


The design flexibility with a house that is cut on a CNC machine is only just beginning to be explored. Although one could design a WikiHouse to resemble any other form of construction, it is my goal to showcase the details of construction through unconventional interior material choices and push the envelope of what is possible utilizing modern fabrication methods. I’d like guests to easily see how the components actually come together to form the structure. 

My hope is to have guests leave with new ideas on what could be ‘typical’ building methods.

We will draw up plans for everything at a point down the line. For now, here is a couple cool pictures of some existing WikiHouse examples!

The Build Order

This house is in our grand plans but it was a little further down the line before the competition was announced. It’s a bit more technical than we’re ready to jump off on but we figured we could bump it up the line if we were to be considered. Right now, it feels like we will be trying to build our grain silo conversion first. Probably a treehouse second. Then perhaps the WikiHouse. Silo House description coming soon!


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