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ClipHut. Building for Everyone

Is a mass customized DIY wood building system that anyone can assemble without tools.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The ClipHut is wood building system that is joined together by a wooden clip. It can be designed according to the needs of individuals, families and communities. Is an adaptable system that has been conceived with computational tools to parameterize its structure and its fabrication in a decentralized way tackling down its carbon footprint . The combination of the clip that facilitates the connections with its layer-by-layer building system ensures that the construction is always stable throughout the entire process. This condition allows non-specialized people using only a rubber hammer be part to the assembly process and it makes the system ideal in emergency and / or temporary situations. Moreover, we use the potential of technology for social issues creating a global network of fablabs, factories, producers, markers, enthusiasts and activists to respond quickly and locally to any need that arises. The large refugees settlements around the world can rely only in two solutions for accommodation, tents or containers. The first one is cheap but fragile and the latter one is expensive and poorly efficient. Neither of them are adaptable or effective to provide quality of life for the settlers. Many settlements grow faster that they can be equipped to take more displaced people and without even notice they're becoming the cities of tomorrow. This is how new societies are emerging. We can create a prosper society only when people can take part in the solution of their own needs. The ClipHut system connects people so they can build their own houses. It will give a sense of community and pride of identity that not only will provide a more sensible shelter, but also will help to heal the scars of wars, disasters and injustice ensuring that future generations will seek for equality, fairness and peace. This is how we think that we can turn a traumatic experience into a healing one that will be materialized to change our perception of refugees and settlements.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Although the system can benefit families from 4-7 members that in the actual settlement conditions cannot find a suitable shelter for their needs, the system has the capacity to adapt depending on people's needs growing from a small hut to a small building. We can work with communities to find solution for other types of needed structures, such as small schools, workshops, small health facilities, communal spaces or even recreational places for children. Beyond the structure, the system has the possibility to catalyze an economic model inside small groups of families. If the right means of production can be available for people, the system can turn in an self-replicating product due to its opensource spirit meaning that anyone can use it, improve it and benefit from it.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The main features of the ClipHut system is its adaptability in terms of design, it's low waste decentralized fabrication relying in local workshops connected by a network around the world, and Its oriented to bring people together so they can act and become aware of their own capabilities and rebuild social connections that has been broken due to events of disasters and wars . Prefabricated or out of the package system are constrained to its final solution and can have the perception of being imposed on people that are already vulnerable and unsecured. For instance, shipping containers not only suppose additional logistic challenges for placing them with cranes or other heavy duty machinery. But economically it makes no sense to ship empty containers around the world. We envision that this containers could be filled with material and CNC machines to provide the production means to organize people towards quick-on site response.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

The ClipHut Team is an international group of architects students of the Master of Integrated Design (MID) program at HS OWL Germany, that have been exploring digital fabrication and pushing the limits of current construction methods. We believe that being aware and sensitive to the contemporary and future issues of our society that have been changing and growing very fast, can allow us to bring architecture and technology together. You can find out more at

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we are a formal initiative through a university.
  • No, but we are a formal initiative through an accelerator, hub, or other entity.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

We want to take on the positive side of the historic moment and use all our tools on our disposal to create and solve real problems. We started this project working with a lot of passion and with the sense of duty and obligation that every architect carries: to think of solutions for a better, more inclusive and equal world. We stand up in the defense of the refugees, because we understand that the right to housing is universal and greater than any frontier... Think globally and act locally.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

On the 90s, the construction sector reached its peak of profitability and, from there, remained stable or even declined. So in a world with a growing displaced population, the question is how to go beyond the roof, ensuring that everyone has access to housing in a sustainable way, stimulating global prosperity? In order to improve efficiency and reduce marginal costs, we have to intervene in the production chain. Looking at the technology industry, we can argue that the digital age was designed to be distributed, not centralized. It works better when it's collaborative and the benefits come when we grow our network sharing knowledge. In short, it is design to be laterally, not vertically, and this is what leads us to a vast expansion of social entrepreneurship and global network with, in some sectors, near zero costs, which combined with an open source economy will create the balance, efficiency and equality in society.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

The first project is intended to bring visibility and presence on a group of refugees in Neiheim, a small town in Nord Rhine Westfalia, Germany. The small shelter will act as a interface device to mediate between the local community and the new meeting point building that has been assigned to the new Neiheimers. The device has been designed to perform as a dynamic object that can be adapted for different social activities. Inside will be used to display the work of the new habitant of the town and outside a set of grades can be assembled and disassembled depending on the occasion for cultural activities. The first ClipHut will be built in cooperation with the refugee project "Heimatwerker" initiated by Verein Stadtbaukultur NRW and the Detmold School of Architecture and Interior Design . The project is supported by local companies and the University of Applied Sciences Ostwestfalen Lippe as well.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

In a moment of suspicion and fear, the combination of a novel and sustainable solution, build by refuges to benefits the whole local community, brings a positive message, breaks barriers and helps us to create a new perspective for the future generations. A new world order, based in a share economy where everyone can contribute and benefits from the development of new ideas.

Geographic Focus

The platform will initially be implemented in Germany and then grow and meet new regions.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

In this first year, we will be ready to produce customized projects using the Cliphut system as a base for standardization, reducing development to its minimum. Also, there will be a fully automated web application that will allow customers to configure their own product online. From the second year on, the regions/countries of action will be expanded and in the end of the third year we aim to have the system working for two-story buildings.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


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