Remote 'mud' house claims architecture award

By Pham Van   March 16, 2016 | 01:27 am PT
Surrounded by pristine forests and terraced paddy fields, Nam Dam (Nậm Đăm) is a remote minority village in Ha Giang – Vietnam’s northernmost province – but its rural isolation has not stopped the village from winning an architecture award.


Early this month, the Swallow Community House and Homestay, designed by architect Hoang Thuc Hao and partners, was named the joint first runner-up at the SPEC GO GREEN 2015 architecture awards in the Young Architect category.


Designed to be a community hub, the house is expected to improve living standards and cope with transport and infrastructure issues caused by geographical isolation.


The two-storey house will also function as a space for meetings, local and tourist activities and a small museum with five bedrooms.


Integrating between traditional and modern construction techniques using local materials, the architects, with help from local people, created an energy-efficient building that will long benefit the area.


- The foundations are constructed from local stone.

- First floor: The 80cm thick earth wall is built directly on the stone foundations. It plays an important role in preventing erosion, and also keeping the indoor space warm in winter and cool in summer. Inside the building, the walls are coated in a mixture of earth and additives in order to enhance the strength, prevent cracking and keep the surfaces clean.


- Second floor: The frame is a combination of timber floor panels and reinforced concrete beams and columns. The walls, panels and trusses are made from natural wood that is environmentally friendly.

- Roof: The timber structure of the roof was made useing traditional methods enhanced by steel joints to maximize the span, creating an unique and innovative shape.


Once fully operational, the Swallow Community House and Homestay promises to bring a true taste of Ha Giang to tourists in a civilized and aesthetically pleasing experience.


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