Designing for WikiHouse


WikiHouse is intended for buildings of up to 3 storeys. This covers 95% of all buildings, and allows gentle density neighbourhoods of up to around 75 dwellings per hectare.

The main constraint on height is not gravity, but wind. In high winds, lightweight structures are more prone to slight lateral flexing, which is not allowed within most building codes. Further structural research and testing is ongoing.

1 storeys

Skylark is suitable for most single storey structures on most sites, provided your design has enough lateral bracing (see how the structure works).

2 storeys

On less windy sites, 2 storeys may be possible, provided your design is sufficiently wide, and has enough lateral bracing (see how the structure works).

3 storeys

Unless it is part of a row of houses that are bracing each other, we would not recommend using Skylark for a 3 storey building yet.


For now, WikiHouse Skylark only allows orthogonal plan forms consisting of straight edges. The reason for this is simple: 3-axis CNC machines cut at 90°. The system doesn't currently allow for curved forms, or angular plan layouts (although these could be explored in future.

Roof shape

Skylark is a flexible kit of parts but currently limited to certain building forms and compositions. As the block library grows, more roof types will be added to this list. If you feel a particular type of block is missing from the library, you can help by developing it yourself and sharing it with us, or by using our Chassis Design Service.

Skylark currently supports the following roof types:

Flat roof

The open secret of flat roofs is that they're not actually entirely flat. Skylark flat roof blocks have a pre-engineered 1:80 (0.72⁰) slope to allow rainwater to run off to a drainage channel or gutter on one side.

Flat roofs have the additional advantage of being easy to access during assembly and maintenance.

Roof terrace

One simple option is to use the upper floor beams as roof beams, creating an entirely flat and walkable roof deck. This might be handy if you intend to make the roof accessible as a terrace, locate freestanding solar panels up there, or possibly add another storey at a later date. If this is the case you will need to carefully consider rainwater drainage and waterproofing details (such as gutters, gulleys, scuppers or hoppers). You may also want to apply tapered roof insulation and/or a roof deck structure to allow water to run-off.

We don’t currently offer a block for a parapet upstand or balustrade.  Please take care to detail this in a way that will ensure it is compliant in height and strength.

Sloping roof

A sloping roof is a good option if you’re looking to use traditional roofing materials and create some additional internal height. These come pre-engineered with a 10 degree pitch, so they work with standard wall block heights. (using 2.4m (M) wall blocks on one side and 3m (XL) wall blocks on another)

Gable roof

For a more traditional gable roof form, gable roof blocks are currently available for a medium (4.8m) internal span with a 42 degrees pitch. For assembly purposes, each section of roof is made from two identical parts, which can be temporarily fastened at the apex, and lifted upwards from within the building (see the general assembly guide).

To support the gable roof blocks (and to stop the walls wanting to splay outwards) a ridge beam is required. The standard 200 & 250 series roof blocks allow for a 90mm wide glulam or LVL ridge beam with an 18mm OSB or plywood packer either side. Your structural engineer will need to specify exactly what depth ridge is required depending on the internal span and the weight of the roof. If a larger ridge beam is required, the roof block can be modified to accommodate the larger member.

In some cases, it may be possible to replace a ridge beam with steel ties, but this is likely less architecturally desirable and more complex to install.

200 and 250 series

Skylark 200 is a version with thinner wall and roof elements. It is well suited to single storey buildings, buildings with lower thermal performance requirements, or buildings that will also have additional insulation added to the outside or inside. Skylark 200 beams can cover up to 4.5 m span.

Skylark 250 is the main WikiHouse building system. The wall blocks are thick enough to contain 250 mm of insulation. Skylark 250 beams can cover up to 5.7 m.

Space grid

Illustration of the 600mm x 600mm grid

The first thing to consider when you start designing is the modular grid. Skylark wall blocks create internal spaces that follow a grid of 600mm x 600mm (0.6m x 0.6m) in plan.

Main walls in the Skylark 250 series will then add a 318mm perimeter around this (268mm in the Skylark 200 series).

Vertically, wall heights increase in increments of 300mm.

Where possible, it is best to stick within the 600mm modules when designing structural walls as this will make the process of designing and checking your chassis simpler.

Of course, if you want to make a building with a specific dimension that doesn't quite fit this grid, you can do so by making one row of smaller custom blocks.

Internal structural walls will not affect the 600mm standard grid.


Standard Skylark 250 floor and roof blocks currently range in span from S (3.6m), M (4.8m) to L (5.4m). These blocks need to rest onto wall blocks at each end.

Standard Skylark 200 floor and roof blocks currently range in span from XXXS (2.4m) to S (4.2m)

For now, these spans form the entire width of the building in one direction. For spans larger than these block types allow, a break between blocks may be required and some additional support.

In the other direction, the building can be any length you like, however you will need bracing walls at regular intervals.

Window and door openings

Illustration showing the different Skylark door opening sizes available: 0.6m, 1.2m, 1.8m and 2.4m

Skylark includes a number of blocks with window and door openings. These blocks range in size from XS (0.6m), S (1.2m), M (1.8m) to L (2.4m).

Lintels and lintel sizes - refer to Engineering guide or talk to a Structural Engineer.

Please do

A tick mark. Means yes, you can do this.

Use it

Most WikiHouse files and information are licensed under a Creative Commons–Sharealike licence, so you are free to use, distribute or modify them, including commercially.

A tick mark. Means yes, you can do this.

Check it

All WikiHouse information is shared 'as is', without warranties or guarantees of any kind. You are responsible for checking it and using it in a safe and responsible way, for example, getting it checked by a structural engineer.

A tick mark. Means yes, you can do this.

Comply with regulations

You are responsible for making sure your project complies with all relevant local regulations, including planning, building codes and health & safety legislation. If in doubt, seek professional advice.

A tick mark. Means yes, you can do this.

Re-share your improvements

If you make any improvements to the system, you must publish your files under the same type of open licence. However, you do not need to publish the plans and specifications for individual projects unless you wish to.

Please do not

A cross. Means no, you can't do this.

Call yourself WikiHouse

Do not call your company, organisation or any marketed product or service 'WikiHouse'. However, you may use the term WikiHouse to talk about the system, and you may describe your project, product, service or organisation as, for example, "using WikiHouse", "based on WikiHouse", "contributing to WikiHouse", or similar.

A cross. Means no, you can't do this.

Remove notices

Do not remove any licence notices from files if you are re-sharing them.

A cross. Means no, you can't do this.

Claim to be endorsed

Do not give the impression that you are endorsed by, or affiliated with WikiHouse or Open Systems Lab (unless you are, by written agreement), and do not claim to represent the WikiHouse project or community as a whole.