Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been updated with the most recent information.
Humble cardboard has been the unorthodox material of choice for Pritzker-winning architect Shigeru Ban, who’s already built a cathedral, pavilion, and hut from the stuff. It’s also the premise of a new micro home venture from Amsterdam-based design studio Fiction Factory.
Launched last year after years of development, the Wikkelhouse is constructed from wrapping 24 layers of high-strength cardboard around a gable-house-shaped mold (“wikkel” means “wrapper” in Dutch.) The resulting structure, which is completely recyclable and expected to last 100 years, is then topped with a waterproof coating and wood paneling.
The first Wikkelhouse builds show a simple plywood cabin, outfitted with a neat prefab kitchenette and bathroom module. The interior cladding is customizable though. And so is the total footprint of the structure, since the gabled modular units can be added on endlessly, theoretically. A complete Wikkelhouse starts from about $41,000 (excluding transportation and installation), giving new meaning to living in a cardboard box.
So far, the company has already installed the structures in both rural and urban environments, including at the edge of a Dutch national park for a Netherlands hostel chain, at Amber Lakes, a nature reserve close to London, on the rooftop of a former coal storage facility in London, and in a Rotterdam marina.