Doan Thanh Ha

Vietnam suffers from a relentless cycle of floods, landslides, earthquakes, and more. Because much of the country’s housing stock is poorly constructed—and unsanctioned—the natural disasters destroy thousands of families’ homes every year.

To minimize the risk of destruction, Hanoi-based H&P Architects developed the Blooming Bamboo House, a residential housing model that utilizes local materials and can be built by laypeople at a low cost.

The 62-square-meter (670-square-foot) prototype is the first structure in Vietnam to be built almost entirely out of bamboo, according to H&P principal Doan Thanh Ha. The material’s high tensile strength enables the house to withstand strong winds and earthquakes, while a foundation of salvaged plastic drums will allow it to endure floods of up to 1.5 meters (4.9 feet).

Bamboo poles ranging in diameter from 8 to 10 centimeters are tied or bolted together to create the building frame, followed by smaller lengths that are tied onto the walls or lined on the floors as finishes, and sealed with bitumen to prevent water infiltration. The house can also be finished with other local materials, such as wooden planks, coconut leaves, plastic sheets, and bottles.

Doan Thanh Ha

With an open floor plan and simple structural system, the house is designed to be built in modules of square rooms quickly and inexpensively; the prototype was built in just 25 days for $2,500, and accommodates six residents. Owners can adapt and expand their homes to include porches and veranda windows. Along with its storm resistance, the house’s cubic shape and pitched roof establish an eye-catching vernacular that alludes to the traditional homes of the region.

Juror Mic Patterson called the house “a reminder of what can be realized with indigenous materials and building practices sensitively handled.”

See all the 2016 R+D Award winners here.

Design Firm: H&P Architects, Hanoi, Vietnam · Doan Thanh Ha, Tran Ngoc Phuong, Chu Kim Thinh, Erimescu Patricia, Nguyen Van Manh, Nguyen Khanh Hoa, Nguyen Quynh Trang, Tran Quoc Thang, Pham Hong Son, Hoang Dinh Toan, Pham Quang Thang, Nguyen Hai Hue, Nguyen Khac Phuoc (project team)
Fabricator: H&P Architects
Photography: Doan Thanh Ha
Cost: $2,500
Special Thanks: Nguyen Tri Thanh