Stealth-stage startup Higharc has begun rethinking how new homes are designed and built without hiring an architect. Founded to reinvent new home design for the digital age, the company aims to make custom-fit homes accessible to anyone by automating home design and customization online. Taking on pre-made plans, the team wants to bring design back to housing options and make customization more accessible.
As Higharc states, the company can “give you the home you want without hiring an architect.” The company has created a web-based home design app for everyday users and homebuyers that is trying to embed architectural intelligence directly into the software. Michael Bergin, cofounder and director of architecture at Higharc, said that, “People spend their entire savings, everything that they have, on something that’s not fit for them.” The team wants to address inefficiencies and structural challenges in home building while utilizing procedural generation to generate its graphics. The software can even create construction-ready blueprints. One day, Higharc hopes custom builders can provide spec plans to consumers through the app, and these plans can then be tweaked as they see fit.
As Bergin states, the company takes the international building code and prescriptive span tables into consideration so all homes are buildable. Higharc pulls in GIS data so users can pick plots from Google Maps. The software uses these public data sources and a program called Mapbox to fetch terrain data, and it also uses building code data from the International Code Council. From there, users can test to see if their new home fits on a plot and makes sense. Users can choose options like number of bedrooms, size of rooms, or aesthetics, and the web app allows users to simply drag and drop rooms and select the options from a drop-down menu. In turn, the custom algorithm provides pricing from all these factors and takes into account the local labor market.
Higharc is currently beginning its first role out in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with plans to expand into new markets. Late this summer, a house in Chapel Hill will be the first constructed using the program’s plans. Another round of beta testing will take place in November.