Access to affordable housing is a global need. While we spend most of our time covering the latest in aspirational architecture, we have a deep reverence to special projects like this one. The Vietnamese architecture firm Vo Trong Nghia has just completed the third iteration of the S House, an affordable prefab structure that can be assembled in a matter of hours. The third prototype by Vo Trong Nghia combines the best of the two previous models into what could become a production unit. It promises to provide low-cost housing that can be assembled quickly wherever it is needed. This could help meet the rising need for housing from a growing population, and also serve as temporary homes for disaster relief housing.
The S House 3 is as close to a complete product as Vo Trong Nghia has delivered in this series. It features a steel lattice structure that holds prefabricated concrete panels under a leaning roof. The structure is designed to be assembled quickly and easily, and its parts are low-cost and sourced in an environmentally-conscious way. The completed frame is strong, solid and smart, allowing passive light and airflow to provide interior comfort.
Here in the United States, viewers may be curious about the open roof sections and unfinished interior walls. In Vietnam and other target environments around the world, such vents are useful for passive cooling. The unfinished interior walls also leave room for customization to the occupant. The owner of an S House 3 can embellish their home as they see fit, adding interior walls and rooms in the shell structure Vo Trong Nghia has created.
A “shell” is how this home should be seen. It is a structural offering, a base living space that can be customized to fit the needs of whoever owns it. It has enough room for a family, and can be split to provide private spaces to its occupants. As it stands, it is a low-cost, easy to assemble system with plenty of promise.
Beyond its intended use for the impoverished, it could also eventually be a second home for working professionals living in Vietnam’s cities. It could be set up just about anywhere, providing a point of escape to enjoy a simpler life away from the bustle of the city. Perhaps that could be a leveraging point for Vo Trong Nghia. If they can find a market from those who could afford a second home, a portion of those sales could go to providing subsidized living spaces for those who need it most.
Nice work, Vo Trong Nghia. We can’t wait to see this project continue to evolve. [see more from Vo Trong Nghia: House for Trees has a Green Roofed Forest at its Peak]