Today when the property market is in doldrums, mortgages are elusive there is still hope for buyers: the paper house. It is unbelievable, but this remarkable prefabricated house, Universal World House can be used almost everywhere. It is extremely light, very easy to assembled, earthquake-proof, of course eco-friendly and a bargain ($5,000). This house is marketed towards third-world towns, for long-term refugees from disaster areas and can be transported and used almost anywhere.
The idea of houses built out of paper was discussed a decade ago when Gordon and Laura Solberg wrote a long article about innovative homebuilders erecting homes out of papercrete, essentially industrial-strength material and made of recycled paper or cardboard, sand and Portland cement.
But in our days, Gerd Niemoller, co-founder of Swiss company, The Wall AG, has patented material that can produce a 387.5 square foot structure for about $5,000, and you know what: this paper house weighs barely 800kg (1,763lb) — lighter than a VW Golf. In fact, without the foundation block, the whole house actually weighs in at about 400kg.
The basic material is resin-soaked cellulose recovered from recycled cardboard and newspapers. With the help of heat and pressure the paper becomes extremely stable.
The prefabricated interior has an air vacuum that fills each of the units, resulting in a strong and stable exterior wall. The same technology is used in aircraft and high-speed yachts industry.
There are built-in single and double beds, along with a sealed off area that houses a shower and bathroom. They have also, shelves, a table and benches. They have been designed so that a family can slaughter an animal on the veranda, wash it in the shower and hang it, along with fish, on an integrated washing line. If you want, the whole wall of the kitchen can be tipped open to let air in and to distract the distinction between the inside and outside.
The structure of the house mimics the honeycomb pattern and the concept of the paper houses will soon be tested in Zimbabwe where they will be built in conjunction with the German aid organization World Vision. Add another 2,400 houses for Nigeria.
The process is extremely cheap, and machinery can be easily mobilized to other countries, cutting down on the impact of shipping the homes and providing local manufacturing jobs.It is a hope for the people living in miserable conditions over the world, or those whose housing has been destroyed during a natural disaster.