Open source architecture: What if building materials could be made locally from natural materials and upcycled waste?


It is estimated that almost 40% of global CO2 emissions derive from the building sector. A large part of these emissions come from building materials, both the materials itself and from the energy used to freight and transport of the materials to the building site.

To adress this challenge a two year innovation project was used to come up with local and sustainable alternatives for producing natural and reused building materials locally.

The key idea was to put focus on democratic design and open source solutions both for the professional industry as well as for selfbuilders and private households interested in participating actively in the process of creating building materials. 


Together with Bornholm Municipality and the natural building specialists at Glarbo & White we developed a roadmap for testing and trying local building materials on Bornholm. A market study identified those materials most likely to succeed both in terms of accessible, small scale production technology and the properties for the materials to live up to the building code and certification standards.

As a next step the project included development work on collaborative business models and establishing partnership to launch an actual local production of building materials on Bornholm.




The project has resulted in a small production facility with machinery for producing pressed clay bricks is opening the spring 2020.

In addition a building maker-space with a CNC cutter machine is opening summer 2020.

As a result of the business model process a cooperative business association REPA – Regenerative Production and Architecture – has been founded with a series of local companies dedicated to producing local materials in collaboration.

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