Text description provided by the architects. 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.
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.
Two prototypes were experimentally constructed in Dong Nai province, on the construction site of a Kindergarten project designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.