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Paper House

A new invention could soon change the face of disaster tent cities and shantytowns across the globe. Called “Universal World House,” the structures are light, cheap — and made of paper. The prime purpose is to create intelligent housing settlements almost instantly for the displaced and the urban poor. The price for the 36 square meter (387.5 square foot) structures won’t be more than $5,000 (£3,375), each. Already road-tested in some of the worst slums in South America, the paper house has passed with flying colors.

Gerd Niemoeller, its inventor, is a co-founder of the Swiss company The Wall AG, which holds the patent for material used in the construction of the mini-homes. Designed together with the German development aid agency GTZ, and with the architect Dirk Donath, from the Bauhaus University in Weimar.

Niemoeller, says that the Universal World House weighs barely 800 kg (1,763 lb) — lighter than a VW Golf. “Without the foundation block, the whole house actually weighs in at about 400 kg,” says the design engineer. It will not, however, simply blow away. The basic material is resin-soaked cellulose recovered from recycled cardboard and newspapers.paperhouse-2

The paper material used in the construction of the houses mimics the honeycomb pattern used in the manufacture of airplanes and other products for which both weight and strength are important factors. Add heat, pressure, and an air vacuum filling in each of the panels. The result; is a strong and stable wall, well insulated, rain resistant, and flexible, making it appropriate in earthquake-risk zones.

The house has eight built-in single and double beds and a veranda with a sealed-off area housing a shower and a lavatory.

Take Hurricane Ike, that annihilated the Texas Gulf Coast four months ago. People are STILL living in tents and lean-to’s down there. First enduring unbearable heat and mosquitoes and now living with unbearable wet, freezing cold. Fighting bureaucratic red tape to acquire a $20,000. FEMA trailer when we could get up to 32 people into four of these houses for the same price!

It’s time for a change, and the good thing is, with innovations such as this, I can see light of a new dawn breaking.

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18 Responses to “Paper House”

  1. Says:

    Paper House | Forced Green…

    A new invention could soon change the face of disaster tent cities and shantytowns across the globe….

  2. Paper House | Forced Green - ezineaerticles Says:

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  3. Heath Says:

    When dad was in China and the areas from the earthquake, he said they had a steel frame with walls silmilar to these mentioned here. It was quick and easy to put up and easy to transport to a disaster area in a short abount of time. It sounded very similar to this deal.

  4. choopixie Says:

    This is great! I heard something similar and I believe it may be solar too, but I could be wrong. But this is really wonderful!

    choopixies last blog post..What Happened to the Red Planet?

  5. anajz @ the sustainable backyard Says:

    What a great idea. I want one of these at our farm.

    anajz @ the sustainable backyards last blog post..Monogram Teacher Giveaway

  6. wilson Says:

    The appearance looks like a Lego, Linda. I think it’s a pretty good concept, as we also can use it as the camping tent as well!

    wilsons last blog post..My Blog Has Been Featured on RedOrbit!

  7. Sean Says:

    We may start to need those in the states soon for regular housing!

    Seans last blog post..Abu Dhabi does not allow England to buy more Barclays

  8. Maureen Says:

    It’s definitely an interesting concept. It seems like there could be a number of uses. 8 people in this tiny structure doesn’t seem like a good idea though. You would basically be living on your single bed. I think cramming that many people in a tiny space after a disaster would be very difficult.

    Maureens last blog post..4 Phases to Success with Online Marketing

  9. Jerry Says:

    This seems like a great idea for people who cannot afford any other housing options. I wonder how the paper house would hold up in bad weather though?

  10. SYNTELIS Says:

    Iwould like to know the cost of shipping it over seas like in my country Greece and how am i going to assemblind it.Also the electicity here is 220 volts

    Thank you

    Tassos Syntelis

  11. Linda Says:

    Hi Tassos …. The only thing I can find is this: Telephone: +41 52 624 91 55
    Fax: +41 52 624 91 54
    E-Mail: info(at)

    all I can suggest is to give them a call and maybe they can direct you to the right place. If this works, let me know so that I can pass it on.

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