I'm finally ready to begin my WikiHouse journey. Or Am I?

After diligently saving since 2017, I’m finally ready to begin my WikiHouse journey. While I don’t have the confidence to design my own WikiHouse, I am eager to build and implement an existing “passiv haus” style two-story, 60-80 m2 design. As a non-architect/designer, is it the right time for me to get started?

I was born in Western Ukraine, around 30 years ago. My grandfather built his house, built our sheds from mud bricks and I distinctively remember the building projects with my dad. (Outdoor shower, toilet,etc.) Building your own dwelling on your own land has been the norm for many generations, however it started to change around the time I was born.

DIY was never an alien concept for me, but since I had to leave Ukraine in 2014 I’ve not been lucky enough to own any land or a home to practice it.

I always had great interest in Earthship style rammed earth homes, passiv haus design principles, sustainable and off-grid living, etc.
After discovering Alastair’s inspiring TED talk in 2018, I immersed myself in the WikiHouse world and finally joined this fantastic community forum after years of lurking on the Slack channel.

Now, after saving up abroad for many years, I feel like it’s time to make a move.
The Skylark 250 project seems very promising. However, while technically adept in nature - I’m not a SketchUP designer, and the whole design your own home is a bit frightening. (I could learn SketchUP and design it myself, but probably not a good idea)
However, the financial resources are still tight. Commissioning a design is a huge cost which would lead to more years of saving. Why re-invent the wheel when there might be something out there already?

And that’s perfectly fine! Not everyone needs to design their own WikiHouse. When I asked ChatGPT for DIY house ideas, it suggested Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). While popular, I believe WikiHouse is a more DIY-friendly solution. However, SIP home manufacturers excel at providing a variety of home designs to choose from.

Which made me wonder if there are any passiv haus style 2 story 60-80 m2 Skylark designs floating around? Or any library of designs I’ve missed? The 2 story is not a hard requirement, just keeping surface-to-volume in mind.
Efficiency and low energy costs are key for me, especially with the current Energy Crisis.

I’m sure there’s a whole generation that can confidently build a WikiHouse but may not have the expertise or resources to design one (just like me). Can a non-architect like me successfully venture into the world of WikiHouse? Any advice on using an existing design would be greatly appreciated.
As Alastair said: Architecture for the people by the people.


Although mostly still lurking like you, and unexperienced in Wikihouse, I have built our house in Belgium from a package supplied by a large SIP manufacturer in Scotland.
I would say commissioning a design is not going to set you back years in saving in comparison to the total cost of the build. Yes, it will cost you a couple of thousands, however, so will a couple of square meters of the house. There are quite some references in the Wikihouse documentation to architects and structural engineers who have been involved and who could work with you on making a design.
Also, from what I have seen, the cost of a Wikihouse is probably not significantly less than an SIP house. It’s more the philosophy which is different, and the sustainability.
Whatever you do, you will most likely need an architect and/or structural engineer to help you prepare the drawings and paperwork you’ll need for acquiring planning permission / building warrant for your project.
Best of luck, keep us updated on your progress!