BackSociety » Development » Vo Trong Nghia Brings Low-Cost Prefabricated S Houses to Northern Vietnam

Vo Trong Nghia Brings Low-Cost Prefabricated S Houses to Northern Vietnam

Could Vo Trong Nghia's low-cost prefabricated S House provide a sustainable solution for Vietnam’s architectural needs?

Such houses are now being built in Hanoi's northwestern district of Ba Vi to function as lodging space for a Buddhist meditation center, reports the New York Times.

The design has been in constant revision since 2013, and the full-scale prototype of the S House 3 was exhibited at the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Using lightweight steel frames, Vo Trong Nghia's architecture firm has aimed to create a structure that is easy to assemble and affordable, yet strong enough to endure Vietnam's many tropical storms. According to the architect, the houses are supposed to last for 30 years, and only cost between US$2,000 and US$3,000.

While the S House was previously devised for the Mekong Delta, its current system also leaves room for adaptation. Whatever material is in abundance locally could be used on the finishing layer and the ceiling height can be adjusted to provide more ventilation in warmer areas.

Nghia has his eyes on an ambitious goal: according to the Times, he wants to mass-produce and bring the S House to slums and refugee camps elsewhere in the world. Demand is especially high in the latter category, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are now 65.5 million people displaced from their homes worldwide.

Some experts, however, remain on the fence. Architecture professor Chang Jiat Hwee from the National University of Singapore shared his doubts with the news source, arguing that a universal housing design may fail to catch on because it often ignores local preferences. “Vo Trong Nghia is a very good architect and his firm has designed some really nice single-family houses,” Hwee said. “But I think designing a prototype for mass housing presents an entirely different set of challenges.”

These challenges exist in Vietnam as well. According to Pham Thuy Loan, vice president of the Vietnam National Institute of Architecture, people who live in northern provinces may be too inclined toward traditional designs to accept the idea of a steel-framed house. In this respect, she added, Nghia’s team may have better luck in the south.

Vo Trong Nghia's S House 2. Photo via votrongnghia.com.

Vo Trong Nghia's S House 3. Photo via ArchDaily.

[Top photo via New York Times]


Related Articles

- [Video] Vo Trong Nghia’s 'Rebel Architecture'

- Even With Vingroup, Affordable Housing Will Remain a Challenge in 2017: Former Official

- Saigon Housing Is About to Get the Japanese Treatment


Related Articles

in Development

Vo Trong Nghia Unveils Modular, Low-Cost Housing Concept For Vietnam

If you caught the article we featured on Vo Trong Nghia’s “Rebel Architecture” last week, you may remember the architecture firm’s low-cost housing project in development that would cost around $3000 ...

in Architecture

Vo Trong Nghia Studio Wins Dezeen’s 'Architect of the Year' Award

Vo Trong Nghia and his studio have established a reputation both in Vietnam and elsewhere for incorporating local and inexpensive materials in their designs.

in Vietnam

Vo Trong Nghia Wins Prestigious Prince Claus Award

Vo Trong Nghia, Vietnam’s resident starchitect, recently clinched the coveted 2016 Prince Claus Award, which rewards artists and organizations for their contribution to local culture and development.

in Architecture

[Photos] Vo Trong Nghia Graces Binh Thanh With 'Glass Box' Office Tower

Saigon’s Binh Thanh District is about to get a flashy new Vo Trong Nghia-designed “glass box” office building.

in Architecture

[Photos] Vo Trong Nghia's 'Bamboo House' Is a Green Oasis in Sweltering Saigon

The latest addition to Vo Trong Nghia Architects’ "House for Trees" series is a fusion between bamboo and a typical Saigon tube house.

in Architecture

[Photos] Vo Trong Nghia's Latest 'House for Trees' Is an Urban Garden on a Budget

The latest in the "House for Trees" project, Vo Trong Nghia Architects' new structure fills a tight space with greenery on a budget.

Partner Content