The cardboard box has always been a symbol of humble living. However, few have had the inventive mind to imagine using the material in a way that expands upon the downtrodden tropes associated with a rain-soaked vacuum cleaner box tucked beneath a freeway underpass. Meet the Wikkelhouse – a pre-fabricated modular cardboard house designed by Fiction Factory that rests on the backbone of a corrugated cardboard structure and breaths vitality into the idea of life in a box.
In English, Wikkelhouse loosely translates to ‘wrap house,’ which amicably describes the process with which the home is constructed. Cardboard ribs act as the primary structural elements, and are then wrapped from foundation to roof back to foundation with more cardboard – 24 layers, in fact, which provide thermal protection and further strength to the envelope. The system is then finished with the same waterproof membranes and roofing enjoyed by more traditional architecture.
While the Wikkelhouse can vary in size depending on the needs of each client, it is always represented by a faux-gabled tube bookended by open walls of glazing. Along the cardboard tube are a few strategic porthole windows that offer select views into whichever environment the home might be dropped in.
Each of the home’s segments weighs only 500 kilos, making it light enough to not even require a foundation (although one is still recommended to make the structure code-compliant). The modular cardboard house comes flat-packed on the back of a truck and can be assembled by anyone who has access to a few basic tools and the constitution to work through the process. It’s not quite Ikea, but it gets darn close and results in something that won’t break five days after you assemble it.
The interior is finished with thin, lightweight plywood panels that continue the ‘wrapped’ design language established by the exterior. Everything feels light, airy, and full of potential to occupy as the inhabitants see fit.
The Wikkelhouse takes a long-maligned form of personal shelter and spins it into something that is as aesthetically interesting as it is easy to understand. It is cardboard as housing, but in a way that invites imagination and inspires us all to think a little bit more outside the box.