With housing prices slumping all over the world, Gerd Niemoeller’s invention, The Universal World House, couldn’t have come at a better time. Primarily designed for refugees and migrants in the third world, the prototype costs just $5,000 for 36 sq.m, weighs a mere 800 kilos and can be set up virtually anywhere.
Gerd Niemöller said recently in Der Speigel:
” From the very beginning, our goal was to create practical, environmentally sustainable, and, most importantly, cheap living quarters for the slums of the Earth….Now, that is possible.”
So if it’s paper, will it blow away? And what exactly is it made of? Well, the answer is NO, it won’t blow away. It’s made of resin-soaked cellulose made from recycled materials – cardboard and newspapers. The material actually resembles a honeycomb and is extremely resilient to the weather when an air vacuum fills each of the units. Its being flexible also means it is virtually earthquake-proof!
Niemöller’s company who patented the house reported that thousands of orders have already been made, mostly from Africa, through organizations like World Vision. The paper house is a much better alternative to the tin and plywood shanties seen in many developing areas of the world, especially as it used recycled materials. According to an article in the London Times, it was built so that families can slaughter their dinner on the veranda, and conveniently hang the meat out to dry in the bathroom’s line:
“The house has eight built-in single and double beds and a veranda with a sealed-off area housing a shower and a lavatory. It has been designed together with the German development aid agency GTZ, and with the architect Dirk Donath, from the Bauhaus University in Weimar.
Apart from the sleeping area, there are shelves, a table and benches. It has 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. The whole wall of the kitchen can be tipped open to let air in and to blur the distinction between inside and outside. “