S HOUSE project, designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects and Kosuke Nishijima, aims to provide affordable, durable, and easily constructible houses for low-income bracket in the Mekong Delta area and other tropical regions.

Prior to the exhibition at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, three prototypes were experimentally constructed in Vietnam. Through these, the design of S HOUSE has been continuously updated based on the feedback after the realization of each prototype. S HOUSE 3, the latest prototype, was completed in 2014, combining the advantages of the previous prototypes. It realized easier assembling and higher durability without losing affordability: the main structure was assembled in 3 hours, the lifespan is expected over 30 years, and the construction cost of a single house aims at less than USD 1,000.

Vo Trong Nghia - S House

Whilst the main structure ensures the basic performance, the finishing material can be chosen by residents, resulting in cost reduction by using available ones under each individual condition. For the exhibition, Vietnamese thatch and coir fiber sheets were experimentally installed. They are fixed to the steel structure with appropriate thickness of layers for waterproofing and insulation purpose.

Vo Trong Nghia - S House

Photos by Steve Hall, Tom Harris ©Hedrick Blessing, Courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Biennial

S HOUSE project is currently moving from the prototype phase to the mass production phase to be distributed not just in Vietnam but also overseas. In the wider context, S HOUSE can potentially adapt to shops, schools, clinics and be deployed in situations of need or emergency.

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