The architecture of sustainable cities 3.0

Appel à Manifestation d’Intérêt

As part of the call for innovative urban proposals for Reinventer Paris, we are currently in the process of creating a unique building—the Wikibuilding. Why the name? Because the project is being developed collaboratively and the plans will be available as Open Source, but there are also many other reasons.


A building platform at the interface between architecture and digital technology

Initiated by the collective named 7 Billion Urbanists, the Wikibuilding project was conceived and developed by four core startup companies (HOST, REI, LINEAZEN, UFO) along with several dozen partners, including industrial manufacturers, associations, research centers, artists, and collectives. It initiates a new approach for urban resources to be shared without profit margins. It is an affordable and repeatable concept in which the building developer commits to selling a part of the building, at cost, in order to facilitate its use by innovative companies and organizations that are valuable to the surrounding neighborhood.

The Wikibuilding is also a reproducible example of the technical and sustainable capabilities of the wood industry. It is a place where inhabitants will be able to participate in the creation of their own living spaces and to partition them according to their needs. The building will house not only apartments but also hybrid service spaces—for example, a café-library-laundromat, a maker-shop, an innovation testing space, and a Collaborative Urbanism Center that regroups associations and companies involved in Sustainable Cities 3.0 (contributive and connected).

Conceived as a platform, the Wikibuilding is based on measures of collective intelligence that allow for collaborative innovation. It involves professionals and the community throughout the design process without limiting itself to the building. It thus functions both at the scale of the neighborhood as well as at the scale of the city. Its Open Source logic fits within international networks, such as those of Fab-Labs or Learn Do Share , and is like a fractal piece of urbanity capable of improving quality of life and territorial attractiveness.



At its origin, “a wiki is a web application that allows for collaborative creation, modification, and illustration of webpages on a website. A wiki is not necessarily modifiable by everyone.” (Source: Wikipedia) But, a wiki is subject to guidelines that are defined in advance by designers and users. The Wikibuilding is inspired by these frameworks for usage and information sharing, and adapts them to architecture and urbanism.

The objective is to associate collective intelligence and engineering, thus changing the way that architecture is designed and built.

Alain Renk
Architect and Urbanist, cofounder of HOST &
and member of the collective 7 Billion Urbanists

7 Key Points

Digital mindset

The Wikibuilding takes note of the changes in civilization due to digital technology and, in particular, the transition into an open world—a world in which Open Innovation is of central importance. For example, Wikipedia and OpenStreet Map demonstrate that the libertarian utopias of the early internet era still have a place in today’s world.

Collective Intelligence

The Wikibuilding sets up a framework of collective intelligence that allows professionals to collaboratively innovate via the successful hybridization of digital methodological opportunities (quick processes, repetitive and reflexive conception, reversibility, pivots…).

Urban Commons

ZERO PROFIT MARGIN is a prototype for new urban developments that are endowed with the agility of startup companies. Since this development model is built in a repetitive and collegiate way, with a multiplicity of viewpoints, its economic framework allows for solutions to be adapted specifically to their respective surroundings.

The Building as Platform

To think of the building as a platform means developing an infrastructure that fits the needs of industrial and academic actors perfectly. This includes technical infrastructure but also competent human resources that are attracted to the opportunity of living and working in an innovative and experimental place.

Real life / living lab

The spaces of the Wikibuilding, a portion which will be used as apartments, will be made available to industrial companies and startups in order to experiment with new tools and services. As neither formal laboratories nor showrooms, these spaces will be opened to the exterior as much as to the inhabitants, whose 70 apartments will facilitate the possibilities of its usage.

Open innovation

The principle of open innovation is based on the adaptation of perspectives and the establishment of direct contact with the people involved in the creative process. Iterative cycles are rapid and efficient. Most importantly, guidelines must be established that allow for confidence to be formed and conditions of a convivial environment to be created.

Open source

The collaborative architecture of the Wikibuilding is anchored in both its neighborhood and in Greater Metropolitan Paris, by playing a part in a connected city-world. Through social networks and press media that are sensitive to the contributive city, the concept of the Wikibuilding is preparing for its arrival into the real world.