Vietnam's Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently displayed its latest S House prototype at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Designed for low-income families, the simple home is nearing the mass production stage and is expected to cost less than US$1,000 to construct.

As we previously reported, it's been a long road to get the S House project to this stage. The current pre-market prototype comprises a concrete foundation and raised wooden floor, helping to protect against pests and minor flooding. It also features a galvanized steel frame, corrugated steel sheet roof, and a steel drainage gutter that looks like it has the potential to be rigged up to a basic rainwater collection system.

The interior is made up of just one large room and measures 31.6 sq m (340 sq ft). The exterior can be clad in whatever material the client chooses or is locally available, helping to reduce cost and ease transportation.

Vo Trong Nghia clad the S House prototype shown in Vietnamese thatch and coir fiber sheets, which were layered to ensure adequate insulation and protection from the weather. Indeed, Vo Trong Nghia says the home will withstand severe weather, including typhoons and hurricanes.

It's flexible too, and two or more homes can be joined together in length and width to create a large building that would be suitable to use as a community center, or shared housing, for example.

The firm also reports that, while the main structure can be assembled in 3 hours, the expected lifespan for a typical S House is rated at an impressive 30 years or more. Construction is expected to cost less than $1,000, and while we've no word on an actual retail price, the original aim of producing a sub-$4,000 home is likely to be achieved.

S House will first be available in Vietnam, then worldwide, with a particular focus on developing areas in Africa, Asia, and South America. No availability date has been announced yet.

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