Showcasing their remarkable flexibility, the designers behind some of the most glorious eco-luxe bamboo structures on earth have conceived two prototypes for low income housing in Viet Nam. Responding to the reality that a great number of the country's citizens are living in shacks no larger than 10 square meters, Vo Trong Nghia Architects used bamboo and cardboard to slash the cost of building these small steel-framed homes in the Mekong Delta.
There are two prototypes. One is 22.5 square meters and the other is 18 square meters. The compact design is achieved in part by transferring the kitchen and bathroom outdoors, which will be a shared system. Steel-framed and wrapped in recyclable materials, the homes have corrugated FRP panel roofs, bamboo louvers to shield against the tropical sun and a translucent polycarbonate panel wall that permits natural light to illuminate the interior. A gap between the wall and the roof evacuates hot air.
In order to save space, Vo Trong Nghia installed folding beds that can be put away during the day. Otherwise they can be used as sofas. The idea was to demonstrate the flexibility of the design, which also features adjustable longitudinal walls to accommodate expanding families. With a modest palette of sustainable materials and clever space-saving techniques, the designers have brought the cost of this construction down to approximately $3,200. Whilst perhaps still unattainable for the very poor, with government intervention, this charming home could become the new standard for low-income housing.
Photos via Hiroyuki Oki