Although the majority of Vietnam’s population relies on agriculture, rapid industrialization and a skyrocketing population in recent years has led to urban sprawl and the decimation of fertile agricultural land. To combat these trends, local architecture firm H&P Architects has made mending the relationship between people and nature one of the main guiding principles throughout its work. In its latest example of eco-friendly architecture, the firm created AgriNesture, a green housing prototype that can be clustered together in vulnerable rural areas to revitalize the local population.
In Mạo Khê, a town a few hours from Hanoi in northern Vietnam, sits one of the first prototypes of AgriNesture. Likened to a “cube of earth cut out from a field,” the boxy building is clad in locally sourced materials including plant fibers, rammed earth and bricks. The two-story structure is also built with a reinforced concrete frame — which cost VND 150 million (equivalent to USD 6,500) — and topped with a green roof, where agriculture can be practiced. The structure is also integrated with a rainwater collection system for irrigation. A light well brings natural light and ventilation deep into the home.
The AgriNesture structures can be clustered in blocks of four around a central courtyard. These building clusters lend themselves to multipurpose uses, such as multigenerational housing, education, health or community centers. Because the cost-effective architecture only relies on two main parts — the reinforced concrete ‘Frame’ and the locally sourced ‘Cover’ materials — owners will not only be able to select their own surface materials best suited to their local conditions, but also customize the interior to their liking and add additional floors if desired. This hands-on and site-specific building process will help create jobs and bring economic stability, according to the architects.
“AgriNesture will be, therefore, a place of convergence, interaction and adaptation of various local contrasts (natural vs. man-made, residence vs. agriculture, individuals vs. communities, etc.),” the firm said, “thus enabling it to be not only a Physical space but also a truly Human place.”
Images © Nguyen TienThanh