Text description provided by the architects. We were engaged by Habitat for Humanity Cambodia to provide six alternatives to their basic low cost housing model. HFHC provide affordable housing to vulnerable families on long term, low interest loans. They currently employ two main models, a brick house and a raised timber house. The main goal of this project is to improve on these models and generate a range of options, addressing varying needs, which can be presented to future home owners.
All houses attempt to address basic issues of cost efficiency, climatic sensitivity, and cultural appropriateness. They must be suitable for a range of generic semi-urban sites across Cambodia.
We tried to develop models that addressed varied user needs and offered differing material and volumetric solutions. Three houses have currently been built and three more will be complete by August 2013. House models developed were:
- The modified house, making basic changes to the standard brick model to improve climate response.
- The big roof house, minimising enclosed indoor space and maximising outdoor roofed area for cool multi use spaces protected from the elements.
- The garden house, maximising light and airflow by setting back from boundaries.
- The courtyard house, separating amenities from main living quarters and creating a secure and private internal courtyard and.
- The flood house, fully raised for areas prone to flooding.
- The raised house, referencing a more vernacular rural stilt house with amenities and protected area underneath the raised living quarters.
Following a series of home owner interviews and site visits, 1:20 models were presented to home owners for feedback. Construction then followed with the involvement of local skilled workers, the home owner and international Habitat for Humanity volunteers. Post occupancy reviews are currently being undertaken and an ‘option book’ for house designs will be developed and used as a presentation tool for families. HFHC continue to explore new housing models, recently supporting a low cost housing competition run by Building Trust International. The winning designs will be built this year.
Here we focus on the most popular model, the ‘big roof house’. This scheme was a response to the prevalent use of shaded outdoor spaces as opposed to closed indoor areas. We aimed to maximise covered outdoor space to provide much needed protection from sun and rain and allow for varied activities; selling goods, cooking, washing, socialising, sleeping.
A smaller, enclosed area was provided for private activity and security. To achieve this, funds were focused on the roof, creating maximum area and heat protection by using thatch for insulation. A smaller, lightweight core using a timber frame, fiber cement sheeting and concrete slab floor allowed for savings on walls and foundations. Basic provisions of cross ventilation, insulated and eave overhangs were provided to deal with the tropical climate. Try Chan and her three daughters moved into the house in December 2011.