A few months ago the firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects of Vietnam unveiled the prototype of the so-called S House, which was aimed at providing a decent and affordable home for low-income families. The home is now about to go into mass production, and each unit will cost less than $1000 to build.
The path to mass production of this home was not easy, nor quick. The current version of the prototype features a concrete foundation, and a raised wooden floor, which works to protect the home from pests and keeps it dry during floods. The house also has a galvanized steel frame and a corrugated steel sheet roof, which make it sturdy and protect it from the elements quite well. The roof also sports a steel drainage gutter, which seems like it could become a part of a rainwater collection system.
The S House measures 340 sq ft (31.6 sq m) and is comprised of a single large room, which could be subdivided with screens, I suppose. The exterior cladding is made of whatever is locally available, though the customer can also choose it for themselves. However, locally sourced materials are used to build the home as much as possible in order to keep the costs down and make transportation easier.
The S House prototype is clad in Vietnamese thatch and coir fiber sheets. The latter were layered to provide proper insulation. According to the architects, S House is sturdy enough to withstand typhoons, hurricanes and other severe weather conditions. The design is quite flexible too, since more of the houses can be joined together lengthwise and in width, which yields larger buildings. In this way, the S House can also be used as a school, community center, or shared housing.
According to the designers, an S House can be erected in just 3 hours, but it has a life span of 30 years or more. There is no word on price yet, but the aim of the architects is to keep it under $4,000. The availability date has not yet been announced.