S House *

According to the statistics, the total housing area in Vietnam has increased tenfold in the last decade. However, many families still live in small houses, some of which are less than 10m². People in the Mekong Delta with an average income of less than 130 USD per month mainly live in temporary nominal houses. Ironically, poor structures result in high maintenance cost. Low-cost but permanent, quick-bulit but high-quality house is therefore an urgent social demand in the region. The serial project S-HOUSE has begun to propose a prototype for low-income classes in the Mekong Delta area against this backdrop. S-HOUSE aims at 3 targets. (a) Easy assembly: the house is assembled by owners. (b) Long life: the house is durable agaist heavy weather and natural disasters. (c) Low cost: the house is affordable for any people.

Completed in (1) 2012.Aug / (2) 2014.Apr / (3) 2014.Oct

Program: Prototypical house

Gross floor area: (1) 22.5m² / (2) 20m² / (3) 30m²

Location: (1) Dong Nai / (2) Long An / (3) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Design: Vo Trong Nghia Architects  ( * Niko worked as a partner )

" Affordable house for the Mekong Delta's poverty "

Precast concrete was chosen as the main structural material for S-HOUSE 2, due to its accuracy and durability against severe climates. Nipa palm leaves and corrugated cement are combined to form a double layered roof, which helps to protect the dwellers from excessive rain and provides insulation. Polycarbonate panels allow natural light to penetrate, reducing the need of artificial lighting. The gap between the roof and the walls promotes ventilation, but does not allow rain to get inside thanks to the deep eaves. Since nipa palm leaves cost next to nothing in Mekong Delta, it is not only a familiar material to the locals but also in harmony with the surrounding scenery.

Combining the advantages of the first and the second prototypes, S-HOUSE 3 realized a higher level of durability, flexibility, and easier construction process. The main structure is made of galvanized steel. Slender lattice walls support and rigidify the whole frame so that the number of beam is minimized - this structure only weights 1,200kg. Pedestal incorporated with foundation is made of concrete. This makes the steel structure isolated from the ground, ensuring durability of the building even in a climate of high temperature and humidity. Lightweight cement board with cement paste coating is applied for the wall finishing as installed easily without special technique.

Two houses were experimentally constructed for S-HOUSE 1. The one is designed as a model house and the other is as a construction site office, presenting the flexibility of this prototype. The structure of the building is a lightweight steel frame. Considering the recyclability of materials, wet joint is avoided as much as possible. The roof is supported by truss-beams composed of steel bars, which minimize the amount of steel and give an ideal pitch for waterproofing. The envelope of the house is composed of polycarbonate panel walls and corrugated FRP panel roof to take in daylight to reduce artificial lighting usage while inside bamboo louvers block harsh heat gain from the sun.

S House 1

S House 2

S House 3


© Photograph by Hiroyuki Oki

© Drawing by Vo Trong Nghia Architects (modified by Inrestudio)