Bb House

Vietnam's geography makes it particularly vulnerable to yearly floods, rainstorms, and other natural disasters.

Bb House

Floods and landslides plague the country, damaging housing and infrastructure.

Bb House

Hanoi-based H&P Architects have developed a housing prototype capable of withstanding 1.5-meter-high floods.

Bb House

The Blooming Bamboo House (Bb House) is designed as an inexpensive, modular structure that can be constructed quickly and for about $2,500.

Bb House

To combat flood waters, the house rises above the ground plane, poised on slender but stable stilts.

Bb House

The structure consists of bamboo-framed units fastened to the ground by steel poles. The roof raises to create natural ventilation.

Bb House

Exterior screens and interior partitions are made of thin bamboo modules that are stacked in different configurations.

Bb House

The screens are adjustable to control exposure to sunlight, wind, and rain.

Bb House

The roof panels are angled to shed water, but also function as transoms...

Bb House

...which occupants can raise to evacuate heat or lower in the event of rain.

Bb House

Coconut leaf and plants are used to cover the exterior, and can be arranged by the occupants in any number of combinations.

Bb House

Occupants can also add bays onto their homes, or in other cases, combine units to transform them into temporary medical centers or schools.

Bb House

The architects envision whole clusters of Bb houses that arise in the wake of disaster to shelter the affected.

Bb House

The architects are experimenting with the modular system and hope to devise a model that is resistant to increased levels of flooding (up to 3 meters).

A Bamboo House That Weathers Storms

Vietnamese Firm H&P Architects builds a prototype house to keep inhabitants safe from floods, rainstorms, and more.

Every year, floods, storms, and landslides plague Vietnam’s cities and countryside. These natural disasters, though not always devastating enough to attract international media, take a toll on the country, wreaking damages that are above the world average. In economic terms, Vietnam loses 1.2% of its annual GDP to mother nature, while large areas of development are swept away. Then, of course, there’s the human cost, which can peak around 500 casualties, with several thousand more forced to live in extreme circumstances after the fact.

For Hanoi-based H&P Architects, there is a viable architectural solution to this urgent problem. They have produced a new housing prototype capable of withstanding floods and powerful rainstorms and nimble enough to be assembled in about 25 days and for as little as $2,500. Elevated on stilts, the Blooming Bamboo--or Bb House--keeps occupants safe from elements, withstanding, according to the architects, up to 1.5-meter high floods.

The structure consists of cubic bamboo-framed bays stacked side-by-side and pinned down by steel poles and recycled oil drums. Interior partitions and exterior screens are fabricated from thin bamboo shoots--what the architects term "modules"--that are then strengthened by bamboo wattle and fiberboard.

Inside, the architects created a user-friendly interior environment where residents can move screens integrated into the walls to adjust for sunlight and heat, or wind and rain. Operable skylights function as transoms that evacuate heat via natural ventilation, a critical consideration when power is out and temperatures run high.

The architecture itself mixes vernacular and contemporary forms and skillfully manages the predominantly bamboo material palette by breaking up the walls into segments that vary the composition. The bamboo poles of the screens are angled diagonally, creating a rhythmic counterpoint to the horizontally-stacked poles of the fixed walls. Planters suspended on the sides of the house have perforated poles filled with soil for plants. The ceiling panels, when raised, lend the structure a stylized effect, similar to gull-wing doors on a sports car.

With its modular composition, the Bb House can be erected quickly in the aftermath of a storm and the structure can be enlarged or combined with other units to accommodate different programs, including classrooms, a wellness center, and an infirmary. H&P says that the structures could potentially contribute “to [the] ecological development as well as economic stabilization” of affected regions. They are now working on a version that could sustain 3-meter-high floods with hopes that the Bb Houses would one day compose entire villages capable of sheltering thousands displaced by natural tragedies.

Add New Comment

5 Comments

  • Joel McMillian

    Was the Bb house intended to be a form of short-term or long-term housing? What is the lifespan of one of these house?

  • Trubbs DelVecchio

    Are these hurricane proof and will they be available in the us?

  • Vikas Majumdar

    Use a thin, finely-woven mesh made of bamboo shavings, which can be incorporated into the basic structure at the time of the build...