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Affordable Prefab Prototype in Vietnam

By Dwell @dwell
A compact Vietnamese prefab housing prototype features local materials. Slideshow The S House Prefab Prototype in Vietnam

Costing just under $4,000 to build, the S House prototype provides affordable, durable shelter in a region where homes often need to be rebuilt every few years. 

Image courtesy of Hiroyuki Oki.

On a site surrounded by bamboo and banyan trees, Vietnam’s Vo Trong Nghia Architects may have figured out how to make a home flexible and affordable, yet strong enough to stand up to the flooding and climate challenges of the Mekong Delta. The S House prototype, the second in a series built by the architecture firm, seeks to fill a gap in this tropical region’s housing stock, which lacks a large-scale solution for cheap, permanent homes.

Built this April in southern Long An province, the S House combines the stability and practicality of prefab construction with affordable building techniques. A precast concrete frame—which is light enough to be taken in pieces by skiffs up the Mekong River, the dominant method of transport in the area—is finished with Nipa palm and cement board panels on site. The layered roof and natural exterior provide ventilation and natural light, all while blending into the natural environment. 

Editor's note: The beauty of this design is in its efficiency and affordability. For another take on a similar prefab silhouette, read about Jean Prouvé's prefabricated architecture.

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