Adapting to The Weather: Vietnamese Homes that Float

August 1, 2023



Shan Arcega

Flooding is one of the most dangerous and common disasters in the world. In fact, floods make up about 40 percent of natural disasters whether in developing or developed countries. For instance, in Southeast Asia, flooding has been an issue, particularly in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, the Philippines, areas near the Mekong River, and Vietnam. Other countries are focusing on creating modern floating cities to cope with the effects of the climate crisis.

Vietnam has many houses that take their cues from the country’s susceptibility to flooding. Here are some of the most recent houses from all over the country.

The Hippo Farm

The Hippo Farm was designed by T3 Architects. Photo by ALISA Production.
It embodies frugal innovation and combines sustainable materials with regional materials. Photo by ALISA Production.

The Hippo Farm by T3 Architects in Binh Hoa is a collection of bioclimatic dormitories. Hippo Farm embodies “happy and creative frugality” too. Thus it uses affordable materials, adaptive building methods, as well as maximizing passive design strategies. The elevated floors work as a passage for wildlife and as shields against flooding.

Related read: Frugal Innovation Manifested In Hippo Farm’s Bioclimatic Dorms

The Floating House

External staircases connect its three levels. Photo by Hiroyuki Oki.
The home focuses on active outdoor life in Vietnam. Photo by Hiroyuki Oki.

Another example is The Floating House by architecture studio SDA located in the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. The Floating House avoids flooding with a one-meter-high elevation. The house has a simple design that prioritizes practicality. Its exposed concrete frame also balances an openness towards nature and protection against the elements. Wood-framed windows also enclose the space while around 70 percent of the home is open to the outdoors. The architects did this through cantilevering balconies and a rooftop terrace.

Related read: T3 Architects’ ‘office’ in a garden in Ho Chi Minh City

The Floating Bamboo House

The Floating House is sturdy enough to withstand unfavorable weather conditions. Photo by Le Minh Hoang.
Its roof collects rain water and solar energy. Photo by Le Minh Hoang.

Lastly, H&P Architects designed this as a sustainable housing model that adapts to the rising sea levels. The traditional Vietnamese Rông house with its tall and steep thatched roof works as the inspiration for this home. This simple design uses local bamboo pieces about three to six meters long and keeps them all together with simple latches and ties.

Related read: Against the Tides: The Floating Bamboo House in Vietnam

In countries like Vietnam, floods happen for many reasons, such as rainfall, the influence of tides, storms and tropical depressions. Poor drainage systems also add to flooding but adaptation is key to overcoming a challenge too big to instantly end.

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