Low Cost House / Vo Trong Nghia Architects

© Hiroyuki Oki

Architects: Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Location: Dongnai Hospital, Quyết Thắng, , Dong Nai province, Vietnam
Architect In Charge: Vo Trong Nghia, Masaaki Iwamoto
Design Team: Kosuke Nishijima
Contractor: wNw House JSC
Client: wNw House JSC
Area: 40.5 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki

According to the statistics, the quantity of total housing area in Vietnam has been increased tenfold in the last decade. However, many families are still living in very small houses, some of which are less than 10 square meters. It is an important issue for Vietnam to provide houses for low-income classes.

© Hiroyuki Oki

The aim of this project is to propose a prototype house for low-income classes in the Mekong Delta area. By minimizing the functions of the house and using low cost materials throughout, the construction cost of a house can be brought down to as little as about 3200USD. Living expenses will also be reduced by using natural resources and energies.

© Hiroyuki Oki

Two prototypes were experimentally constructed in Dong Nai province, on the construction site of a Kindergarten project designed by . The first house, with a floor area of 22.5 square meters, was designed as a model home, the second, measuring 18 square meters, was designed as a site office for the Kindergarten, showing the flexibility of this prototype.

© Hiroyuki Oki

On the assumption that the bathroom and kitchen are placed outside and shared with several families, the house has minimum space for living, eating and sleeping. The plan was designed to be adjustable toward the longitudinal direction, allowing for future expansion of family members and functions. Its interior is a simple one-room space, articulated by curtains and differences in level of the floor. The floor rises higher in part, creating minimum furniture such as a desk.

The other distinctive feature is the installation of folding beds, which allow the dwellers to sit on the floor during the day. These beds can also be transformed into sofas if required.

© Hiroyuki Oki

In order to reduce the construction cost, dwellers are encouraged to participate in the construction process. The structure of the prototype house is, therefore, a lightweight steel frame, which is easy to assemble without the use of machines, nor special techniques. Considering the recyclability of materials, wet joints are avoided as possible. The roof is supported by truss-beams composed of steel bars, which minimize steel material and give ideal pitch for waterproofing.

© Hiroyuki Oki

The envelope of the house is composed of a polycarbonate panel wall and corrugated FRP panel roof, and bamboo louvers are set inside of it. Both materials are available everywhere in Vietnam and are cheap, light and replaceable. Bamboo is rapid-growing and therefore the eco-friendly material.

© Hiroyuki Oki

Translucent envelope and bamboo louvers filter harsh direct sunshine in the tropical climate. The interior is filled with diffused light and reduces the need for artificial lighting, dramatically reducing electricity consumption. There is also a gap between the roof and the wall, which has the function of evacuating the hot air. As the whole space is naturally ventilated there is no need for an air conditioner to be installed in this house. A pent roof was designed to collect rain water for daily use in the dry season. Utilizing blessings of nature, dwellers can save great amount of energies, resources and therefore money.

Cite: "Low Cost House / Vo Trong Nghia Architects" 18 Dec 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=307274>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +12

    It would be nice for temporary workplace. Doesn’t look very practical for house, no WC, no kitchen, and costs 3200 usd, i really don’t think the design makes any sense

    • Thumb up Thumb down +1

      wondering whether you read the article or not. This is a prototype of housing, which mean that it can be modified to suit to user’s needs. I have not seen any architect can design a house which can please everyone in this world.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The quality of interior light is amazing. It would be interesting to see someone adapt this wall system to a more western style home.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I see Mr.Nghia design VietNam house expo in sanghai – China and this , i dont like only cafe is ok

  4. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    mr. Ngia. In general, very good design. Green and simple! He alway has strong concept. Vietnamese people still not understand fully about him!

  5. Thumb up Thumb down -7

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    But we can see alot building of him, it is very good. i love stacking green and bin duong school.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down +10

    On my second thought, this prototype does not work at all. By looking only at the roof structure, and knowing such country like Vietnam, imagine during the monsoon season, the roof will be blow away in second, not to mention natural ventilation would probably be hell since the dweller will be exposed to sunlight all day long. In other country like US, and Europe, the best thing to do is letting a lot of daylight into the space, yet, it is the other way in Vietnam, especially in province like Dong Nai, people prefer shade than sunlight. In addition, it is said the aim of the project also include flexibility and adaptability of space. This prototype does not reflect that, with land as a scared resource, expanding horizontally/longitudinally is really the worst option to provide. Oh, and did I mention there is no privacy in the space as well? putting a structure as open as that will only invite theft and murderer into their house. Sound crazy but that is the real situation in Viet Nam. The only credit I would give to his work is his effort to create structure like that, as much as I know, there has not been such thing being done in Viet Nam. I only wish he would keep going and keep create thing with People and their Need in mind, not just create beautiful little thing.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    Form fellow function. Where is the house function? This is not a house, should correct its name or finction.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Strong concept, nice appearance but not really practical especially for fireproof !

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