Vo Trong Nghia Architects has presented its third prototype for low-cost housing in Vietnam, which combines the lightweight structure of the first model with the durability of the second (+ slideshow).
Seeking to find a solution to the country's housing crisis, the Vietnamese firm first started working on the S House project in 2012. The aim is to develop a template for affordable permanent dwellings in the Mekong Delta area.
The first prototype was for a lightweight steel-framed home, while the second was built from precast concrete to offer greater long-term stability. This third iteration combines reinforced concrete foundations with a steel frame and steel lattice walls.
"Combining the advantages of the first and second prototype, S House 3 realises higher durability, flexibility and easier construction, while maintaining the affordability and lightweight [structure] of the series," said Vo Trong Nghia Architects, whose projects also include a bamboo restaurant and a kindergarten with a vegetable garden on its roof.
"Slender steel lattice walls secure, support, and rigidify the whole frames. Thus the number of beams is minimised, reducing steel quantity greatly compared to previous prototypes – this structure only weighs 1,200 kilograms."
The team believes this new construction will help the building to withstand the extreme climatic conditions of the south-western Vietnamese region.
"Although there are many local challenges such as weak ground condition, frequent typhoons and potential earthquakes, the structure is stable enough to withstand natural disasters," they said.
The prototype was erected in Ho Chi Minh City. As with previous versions, it was built from modular components that each weigh no more than 60 kilograms so that they can be easily transported in standard-sized shipping containers.
According to the architects, the structure and roof of one house can be assembled in only three hours. This one has been clad with cement board, but different materials can be used depending on what is most readily available.
Natural lighting and ventilation are integral to the design, making the building suitable for high temperatures and extreme humidity.
The architects are now working on the fourth phase of the S House project. The next prototype will be for a larger building that could also be used as a clinic, a school or a shop.
"Starting from the Mekong Delta, the S House project is aiming to expand itself to the entire Vietnam, Southeast Asia, and to the rest of world – India and African countries – where low-income people are suffering from poorly built environment," added the team.
Photography is by Hiroyuki Oki.
Architect Firm: Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Principal architects: Vo Trong Nghia, Masaaki Iwamoto, Kosuke Nishijima
Architect: So Adachi
Contractor: Wind and Water House JSC