Visitors to the Chicago Architecture Biennial were greeted with the appearance of a small, 30 square meter home built of thatch and steel – the S House 3. The latest prototype in experiments with affordable, sustainable housing by Vo Trong Nghia, the exhibit allowed visitors to experience the home firsthand. Designed to be built for as little as $1,000 and last over 30 years, the exhibit challenged notions of sustainability and cost, proposing an optimistic look at the future of affordable housing.
For many years, Vo Trong Nghia has been at the forefront of sustainable design, re-imagining the vernacular of Vietnam with his firm, Vo Trong Nghia Architects. Working at the scale of condominium developments and experimental pavilions, the firm has focused on integrating nature with architecture, pushing the limits and perceptions of many atypical building materials.
Though a humble looking home, the S House 3 embodies vast possibilities for sustainable, affordable architecture. As Vo Trong Nghia explains, it is the role of architecture to bridge the gap between humans and nature, and to care for all people, not only the rich – values instilled in the design of the S House 3.