Gallery: Wall House: Durable $5000 Home Made from Recycled Paper


The Wall AG recently unveiled a remarkable prefabricated house that is made from recycled paper and can be built for less than $5000. Constructed from an innovative cellulose-based material, the Universal World House is light, cheap, well-insulated, and remarkably strong, making it an incredible asset to developing countries, the homeless, and those displaced by disasters.

Invented by Gerd Niemöller, the Universal World House measures 390 square feet, weighs about 1,763 pounds, and is built to last for generations. It comes complete with plumbing, eight built-in single and double beds, and basic facilities. Its versatile structure allows its walls to open up to take advantage of daylight and natural ventilation.

The modular prefab is constructed from Swisscell, a material made from cellulose extracted from recycled newspaper and cardboard. The material is impregnated with resin and formed into honeycomb walls that provide excellent insulation and offer a a great strength-to-weight ratio.

The process is extremely cheap, and machinery can be easily mobilized to other countries, cutting down on the impact of shipping the homes and providing local manufacturing jobs. Niemöller has stated: “From the very beginning, our goal was to create practical, environmentally sustainable, and, most importantly, cheap living quarters for the slums of the Earth.”

+ Swisscell

Via The London Times


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  1. Herb Bennett July 12, 2015 at 8:45 am

    With all these great systems, technologies and solutions why is there still so much ‘pain’ in providing shelter as a basic need for healthy living in our world? Have we given up our will and power to be human and have allowed materialistic and corrupt profit motivated forces to manipulate our lives. With the global consciousness evolving and the ‘Paradigm’ shifting to basically educate us as we seek ways of translating the wisdom derived from these spiritual experiences and the growth they represent and affords us what do we still need to awaken our compassion and arise to our human responsibility to respect our selves one another and the only world we have.

  2. sophiagabriella195 October 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

    How is the paper strong enough to resist through rains, and what is one of the wall made of?? like the inside??? its it cardboard on the inside, honeycomb on the middle, and paper facing the out side??? If so how hard it that paper that is on the outer layer, how can it under go fire, snow, and rain???

  3. monuwalia October 17, 2011 at 4:33 am

    hiii this is gurdeep walia from northern india .well iam into realestate development. right now planning to work on a project in my local hilly region its a beutiful lacation .so wondering if u could help me in knowing ur concept of building homes.

  4. Mandie August 15, 2011 at 10:53 am

    In response to, I would say No. Most of the time a building offers safety in so many ways like for example,… prevents women from being hurt, warmth and it offers mental comfort too. Now imagine you have all that but your shelter gets washed away in the rain… Annoying and your back to square one.

    yes, it is soooo annoying when they dont add any details on how its weather proofed!

  5. July 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Building codes be damned!! Is it better for homeless people to live out in the elements?

  6. zs June 28, 2010 at 10:25 am

    can I build me a cardboard palace? 😛

  7. kaki February 7, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Could these homes be a solution to the Haiti crisis? Would they stand up to the rains?

  8. Kaci July 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    It’s sad when an article like this doesn’t mention the common questions it raises. Like how is it waterproofed, fireproofed, windproofed and how it would deal with the simplist of building codes.

  9. jakes April 1, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    If we could make these for homless people 99problems would actually help. support is all everyone needs

  10. davidwayneosedach January 24, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    We live in San Diego. I can easily envisage entire villages of these houses just south of Tijuana. Even if you had to put 20% down ($1000.) – even the por could afford it.

  11. LaMar January 24, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    I like the idea of small inexpensive homes but question the integrity of the material in high wind and storm areas.

    I built my solar cabin which is 400 sqft for under $2000. It was built from all new wood materials (except for doors and windows which were salvaged) and because its solar I have no house payment and no monthly utility bills.

    You can see my solar cabin for ideas here:


  12. yellow eyes January 24, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    It still makes me wonder why the small cardboard building is $5000?

    Maybe a dozen “refrigerator” shipping boxes, a platform, additional cardboard insulation, colored waterproofing paint…………$800-$1500??

  13. lkaxe January 23, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Like the idea, but what about fire danger? Are the materials treated to be fire resistant?

  14. professorzed January 23, 2009 at 6:58 am

    I also agree that this is a brilliant idea.

  15. carver January 22, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    There are many homeless families as well as individuals in the US that could benefit tremendously with houses like this, even if it is only for temporary housing. The one problem I see for urban areas will be the inevitable NIMBY for homes of this type.
    They are, however, sort of cool and they are a whole lot better than living under a bridge.

  16. chrisp68 January 22, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Why does it need to be just for the slums of the earth? If we all lived smaller we could live in one of these and not the typical McMansions. For $5000, that is great. I paid more than that just in for my house this year. Yes the house is basic, but do we really need more. Put some PV panels on the roof and now you have free power. Life is simple. Why have we made it so complicated and expensive?

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