Open source platform reinventing home building awarded €50,000 by European Commission
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
Visionary digital project Buildx selected as a winner in European Social Innovation Competition ‘Equality Rebooted’ addressing inequality in Europe.
The Buildx project by WikiHouse Foundation has been announced as one of three winners in the 2017 European Social Innovation Competition. Selected from a total of nearly 800 entries from more than 40 countries, the project was awarded a €50,000 prize at the Awards Ceremony in Brussels on 26 October.
In response to digitisation’s transformative effect on society and the labour market, this year’s Competition aims to ‘reboot’ equality and ensure technology is used to make everyone in Europe benefit from the opportunities created by technological change.
UK-based winner Buildx is a collaborative platform being developed by WikiHouse Foundation. Buildx aims to use automation and distributed digital fabrication to give individual citizens, local communities and small businesses the capability to develop affordable, sustainable homes and neighbourhoods for themselves. By capitalising on the transformative potential of the web and automation, Buildx aims to digitise and open up the housing supply chain, creating new digital infrastructure for investing-in, designing, manufacturing, assembling and operating buildings. The mission: to empower a greater range of people to build low-cost, high-performance homes for themselves, and to unlock an expanded market of small players who can collectively become a new force for sustainable development.
Alastair Parvin of WikiHouse Foundation said: “The web has already transformed the way we produce information and services. We believe it will also transform the way we make homes and neighbourhoods, and that has to be done in a way that benefits as many people as possible. We’re incredibly proud to win the 2017 European Social Innovation Competition. Next our job is to turn Buildx from a promising prototype into an openly accessible tool that can support innovative housing projects across the UK and the whole of Europe.”
Buildx is being developed by WikiHouse Foundation alongside WikiHouse.cc, an open source sustainable building technologies platform. The WikiHouse building technologies are currently in beta stage development, with pilot projects being delivered by architects, designers, engineers, manufacturers and builders across Europe and beyond, collaborating to develop the best, simplest, most sustainable, high-performance building technologies that anyone can use and improve.
The Buildx platform is currently at a prototype stage, and WikiHouse Foundation are seeking partners from across the construction and development sectors to test and grow it over the coming year.
Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the European Commission said: "Digitisation and automation are rapidly changing the way we live and work. There is a growing gap between those who are equipped to take advantage of this transformation and those who are lagging behind. To help close this gap, this year's edition of the European Social Innovation Competition looked for new ideas for a truly inclusive economy and society. The three winning projects have the potential to make a real difference."
As part of the Competition this year, the Buildx team attended a mentoring academy in Madrid in July where they worked with experts in social innovation to refine their idea and develop their business plan before pitching to the jury of social innovators and tech experts at the awards ceremony in Brussels.
The other Equality Rebooted winners were Slovenian project Feelif, a multimedia touch screen innovation for blind users, and peer to peer platform learning network SAGA from the Netherlands.
Three winners selected out of 10 finalists and the 2016 Impact Prize winner were each awarded a prize of €50,000 at the Awards Ceremony on 26 October 2017 in Brussels.
Organised since 2012 in memory of the Portuguese politician and social innovator Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition will help the most innovative ideas to become real, sustainable and transformative projects.
For full details of the competition please visit: bit.ly/2017diogochallenge
Follow the competition on Twitter: @EUSocialInnov #diogochallenge