WikiHouse Projects Designer


Part / full time, flexible hours

When Summer 2021–
Where Anywhere, but able to regularly visit sites within the UK
Salary £30-35,000 (depending on experience)
Applications open 18th May 2021
Applications close 5th July 2021

Please do not contact us if you represent an agency.

To apply for this role, please send a brief CV / resumé, along with examples of other things you’ve worked on and (if you’d like) a brief portfolio of your design work to enquiries@opensystemslab.io



About WikiHouse 

WikiHouse is an open source, digitally-manufactured building system for homes1. The aim of the project is to make it as easy as possible for anyone to build beautiful, zero-carbon, zero-waste homes. We’re trying to transform the way society builds in the 21st century by putting the knowledge and tools to do it into the hands of every business and community, and then inviting the world to copy us. 

We get a lot of enquiries from clients and their architects interested in using WikiHouse on their project. Whilst in some cases this just involves answering their queries, and providing them with files, in many cases they also need some kind of design support. This might involve simply helping design teams check the suitability of WikiHouse for their project; or in some cases it involves designing standard house types or neighbourhood layouts and pattern books. At detail stage, even though we do not act as scheme architects, we work as chassis designers, preparing detailed cutting files and assembly manuals, connecting them with manufacturers or engineers, and supporting local teams through the project journey to help them get their scheme delivered.

And that’s where you come in.

1 Actually, it can be used to build lots of other kinds of  building too.



In this role you will


Be the main point of contact for clients and their architects

This will begin with initial meetings and presentations about using the WikiHouse system, answering their questions, then forming an agreement with them over the scope and deliverables of the design / support services they need, and then providing those services. You will be the main point of contact through the process.
Prepare production information

You will work with teams to develop their designs, then  produce detailed 3D chassis models, along with cutting files, ordering lists, outline costings and assembly manuals. Increasingly we are seeking to automate as much of this process as possible. 

Design new house types and neighbourhood layouts

In some cases you will work with clients and their design teams to design replicable house types and/or bespoke neighbourhood layouts, especially in the outline stages of design. We seek to do this by developing adaptable design patterns for successful, walkable neighbourhoods and beautiful, generous, healthy, user-centered homes that don’t look or feel ‘prefabricated’.
Create illustrations and visualisations 

Sometimes, your work on projects will include creating illustrations and good quality renders / visualisations that can help communicate the project or the house types to funders / planners / residents / stakeholders.

Continuously look for ways to improve the process

We apply the principle of ‘kaizen’ not just to the manufacturing and assembly process but also to our design and project management workflow. You’ll work with the team to continuously look for small or large ways we can improve the process for everyone involved.
Contribute to product improvements & tools

You will work with the team to continuously look for ways to improve the product, and to collect feedback and performance data. You will also help look for ways to standardise and automate design where possible.

Site visits
On occasions, you may also be involved in visiting, supervising and recording builds on site. 
Keep track of the projects pipeline

You will maintain an up to date record of all projects delivered and in the pipeline. This will allow us to plan ahead, and keep an overview of our impact, as well as to identify patterns.
Help shape strategy

The OSL team meet quarterly to discuss and agree key strategic decisions and priorities. You will play an important role in helping to shape these decisions by developing a strong understanding of the barriers that projects face, so we can help improve the system and increase the impact we have.



Requirements for the role


Project management skills

As well as designing, you will also have a high degree of autonomy and responsiblity for managing the projects you work on. This includes discipline and responsibility, but also managing relationships and issues with clients and their design team.
Architectural / urban design skill

You will need to have an eye for beautiful, timeless design. Both in terms of aesthetics, but also an instinct for building and neighbourhood layouts that work, and a knowledge of the underlying constraints, social and environmental factors that affect those designs (e.g. planning, building regulations).
A good basic technical understanding of construction and low-energy buildings

You do not need to be an engineer or an expert in anything, but you should have a reasonable working understanding of the principles and factors involved in construction and low-energy design. If terms like ‘airtightness’, ‘U-values’, ‘thermal mass’ ‘embodied carbon’ and ‘MVHR’ are unfamiliar to you, this probably isn’t your gig. 

Illustrating / rendering / photoshop

Sometimes the work may also involve producing line illustrations and visualisations. Familiarity with Adobe Illustrator, 3D modelling tools and a reasonable level of competency with Adobe Photoshop will be very helpful.


Rigour & attention to detail

Due to the stop–start nature of development projects, you’ll be running several projects at once, and sending out manufacturing information with very little scope for error. You will need to be disciplined and rigorous in tracking the progress and status of projects, and checking information before it goes out. 
Self-led

Although you will work alongside the WikiHouse team, and be fully supported, you will need to take ownership of your area of work, observe, make judgements, make suggestions without needing to be instructed. Not just being reactive, but spotting opportunities to improve things, pitching them, then going away and making it happen. 

Responsible

You wil need to have basic awareness and good everyday judgement and responsibility around things like appointment agreements / terms of service, invoicing, tort liability, warranty insurance, planning and building control and CDM regulations. If you’re not familiar with all these – don’t worry – we’ll help.
Purpose

You should be someone who is fundamentally motivated by doing great work, and leaving the world better than you found it: with a personal passion for social, economic and environmental transformation, and for creating great places, for everyone.



Nice to haves


  • Experience of managing projects in architecture, engineering or construction in the UK, including invoicing clients and dealing with disputes.

  • An awareness of (and enthusiasm for) the principles of Design for Manufacturing & Assembly (DfMA) and offsite manufacturing. A focus on opportunities to standardise or productise part of a process, and to think of buildings in terms of their whole life-cycle.

  • Skills or experience in computational design – for example using tools / platforms like Grasshopper, Dynamo or Hypar.

  • Skills or experience of working with BIM tools.

  • An enthusiasm for sustainable, human-centered design, and especially for small scale, community-led development.




What’s not required


  • A specific formal qualification




What’s in it for you


  • Work with an incredibly friendly, motivated and talented team of people in a sometimes demanding, but always kind, inclusive environment. 

  • Ridiculously flexible working.  Work where you want and when you want (most of the time at least).

  • Work on stuff that matters, with potential to have serious impact on reducing carbon emissions and creating civic infrastructure that benefits everyone.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

–– Margaret Mead




Interested? Got questions? Get in touch︎