Architecture

$4,000 home promises affordable housing in Vietnam

$4,000 home promises affordabl...
The S House, by Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
The S House, by Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
View 27 Images
Its modular design allows the S House to be transported in manageable parts by small boats (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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Its modular design allows the S House to be transported in manageable parts by small boats (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
Vo Trong Nghia Architects has been working on the S House since 2012 (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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Vo Trong Nghia Architects has been working on the S House since 2012 (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
The S House, by Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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The S House, by Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
Easily-obtained local materials such as Nipa Palm and bamboo are used to finish the home (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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Easily-obtained local materials such as Nipa Palm and bamboo are used to finish the home (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
S House sports a corrugated cement roof (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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S House sports a corrugated cement roof (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
Large polycarbonate panels allow plenty of natural light (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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Large polycarbonate panels allow plenty of natural light (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
The S House, by Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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The S House, by Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
The S House is built using a concrete frame that's bolted together, and it sports steel doors and window frames (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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The S House is built using a concrete frame that's bolted together, and it sports steel doors and window frames (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
The interior is very basic (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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The interior is very basic (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
The interior measures just 30 sq m (322 sq ft) (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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The interior measures just 30 sq m (322 sq ft) (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
There's no real modern amenities available inside, but it is safe and durable (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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There's no real modern amenities available inside, but it is safe and durable (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
The polycarbonate panels can also be opened (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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The polycarbonate panels can also be opened (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
A small gap between roof and walls also encourages air flow (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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A small gap between roof and walls also encourages air flow (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
Vo Trong Nghia Architects reports that it is currently refining the S House further (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
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Vo Trong Nghia Architects reports that it is currently refining the S House further (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
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Architectural plan of the S House (Image: Vo Trong Architects)
View gallery - 27 images

Vietnam-based firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently revealed an affordable prefabricated prototype house that could potentially offer Vietnamese people on a very low income somewhere safe and durable to live. While still a work-in-progress and thus subject to change, the S House currently costs just US$4,000 to build.

Vo Trong Nghia Architects has been developing the S House since 2012, and the design has already gone through several iterations. The firm notes that because Vietnamese wages can be very low (the equivalent of under $100 per month in some cases), many people are required to live in temporary shacks that simply don't stand the test of time and are expensive to maintain and repair. Therefore, the main goals of the S House are durability, affordability, and ease of repair.

The interior is very basic (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)
The interior is very basic (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)

The S House comprises a pre-cast concrete frame and foundation that's bolted together with steel fixings, plus a cement roof. It also features steel doors and window frames, and easily-obtained local materials such as Nipa Palm leaf thatching and bamboo are used to finish the home. Its modular design allows the S House to be transported in manageable parts by small boats, and it is designed to be easily constructed by local builders.

The interior is basic, measuring just 30 sq m (322 sq ft), and includes one long room as standard. Large polycarbonate panels allow plenty of natural light and can also be opened for access and to encourage ventilation. A small gap between roof and walls also encourages air flow.

Though there are two finished S Houses currently installed in Long An Province, Vo Trong Nghia Architects reports that it is in the process of refining the design further and that it hopes to produce a more durable and lighter version. The eventual aim is for the S House to be mass-produced.

Source: Vo Trong Nghia Architects

View gallery - 27 images
4 comments
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is really nice. I wonder if they could make it without the concrete base / foundation? I wonder if there is a way to create it for even less? If one only makes $100 a month, even $4000 seems like a lot.
BladeRunner
I totally agree Vietnam desperately as whole need affordable housing but this is not good affordable housing concept. 1, 4k is way to expensive for bare-bone shed kits that doesn’t includes like bathroom, kitchen and the biggest cost the land on top of 4k shed etc. It should cost for this entry-level shed around 2k. The author should Wright about Vietnam’s real estates in the big city that’s in the millions…
Jim Sadler
They need mosquito netting big time. I also would not enjoy the heat and dampness during the wet seasons. But the insects would eat you alive and the odd cobra sneaking in or a hungry tiger might be a real shocker in the night.
Nik
The traditional far east home uses natural materials readily available, comprising wood, bamboo, palm, and vines for lashing. They are light, airy, extremely cheap, can be erected in a day, and can be repaired from materials immediately available. In comparison, a concrete structure, with plastic windows, is heavy and extremely expensive. The structure could be wood, and bamboo, far more environmentally friendly, the floor clear of the ground for coolness, also wood. Walls and roof of woven palm leaves are insulating, and sound deadening. A corrugated roof like that shown would make a terrible noise in a rain or hail storm. I would say, 'back to the drawing board, and start again.'