Property on Paper


A new makeshift shelter has emerged in the form of resin-soaked cellulose recovered from recycled cardboard and newspapers.

Costing $5,000, the Universal World House was invented by design engineer, Gerd Niemoeller, as a quick dwelling for long-term refugees in Third World shantytowns. The paper house, developed at German’s Bauhaus University, was featured in the Times Online. It contains built-in single and double beds plus a veranda equipped with a private shower and bathroom. It’s apparently easy to assemble, earthquake-proof and stable enough to withstand strong winds. The interior features prefab panels that look like honeycomb patterns and an air vacuum fills each unit, similar to the construction technique employed in aircraft and high-speed yaghts. This allows for the combination of flexibility and strength.

According to the Telegraph, the paper houses have been tested in the worst slums of South African and one of the first settlements of the houses will be built in Zimbabwe in conjunction with the German aid organization, World Vision. Nigeria also has ordered 2,400 of the houses. Neimoeller is the founder of the Swiss company, The Wall AG, which has a patent on the mini houses.

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.