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Next, Vo Trong Nghia Architects Solve Housing for the Poor in Vietnam


From the Vo Trong Nghia Architects: “People in Mekong Delta, with an average income under $100 per month mainly live in cheap temporary houses. Ironically, poor structures result in high maintenance fee.”


Therefore, low-cost but permanent house is an urgent social issue in the region.


The aim was to provide a stable but lightweight, permanent but easy-to-build 30 sq m home within a budget of $4,000 for families in Tân An, Long An Province.


Nipa palms are abundant in the Mekong Delta, and in harmony with the surroundings.

And they are almost free.


Similarly, polycarbonate panels are inexpensive, yet allow some natural light to enter.

Prefabrication and a DIY approach keeps it affordable, while precast concrete frames and foundations guarantee structural integrity.

To cope with harsh weather of the region, the project combines Nipa palm and corrugated cement in a “double roof” that keeps out rain and offers some thermal moderation.

And lastly, because waterways are the dominant transportation in Mekong Delta, light frames were needed for families to transport the parts by boat.

Vo Trong Nghia Architects have created successful mass produceable $4,000 houses for the DIY builder.

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Minimalist Composition with Greenery in Sultry Vietnam


A facade is employed in creating a sumptuous composition of white walls vibrantly contrasted by buzzing greenery.

Walk in closer and you realize the green wall surrounds the house on the other side of the living room.


Now the interior is bright and open and cooled by the greenery without.


The glorious house in Thảo Điền, District 2, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam is by MM++ architect.


The vertical garden extends the surrounding vegetation onto the walls and makes the house disappear into the landscape.


A secluded outdoor shower is set on soft white marble absorbing the sunlight.


The green walls on both sides create private and blissfully serene bedrooms and bathrooms while allowing natural ventilation.


The house was renovated from a “pastiche” art deco villa into a contemporary villa with clean lines and open spaces while keeping the existing concrete structure.


By saving money by keeping the original concrete structure, it was possible to add new elements to the construction.


Instead of the glaring sunlight now it is dappled by extensive trellises.


And by using abundant growing life as part of the architectural composition, the structure is reshaped, but also the house is now cooled.


It is an architectural technique well suited to the local ecosystem.


The lines of the original art deco house have been extended by new portico supporting the green wall.


Now the formerly tacky architecture has been refined to its most minimal expression and has become a well-proportioned composition of a simple white cube with two vertical walls of vegetation, bringing it closer to nature.

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Design Dilemma: 5 Decor Trends On Their Way Out in 2016

contemporary bedroom how to tips advice

In our last post, we talked about trends that we expect to remain strong through 2016. Now it’s time to turn our attention to looks and ideas that are fading out of favor. Here are five design trends that will be ebbing away in 2016.


1). Rigorously mid-century modern interiors are out. 

midcentury living room how to tips advice

For a time, we became obsessed with the Mid-Century Modern era, to the point that at times it seemed that nothing but Charles Eames and George Nelson furniture was allowed into our homes.Well, we’ve all become a bit bored by that look. True, in the beginning it was a fresh response to overstuffed, over-cluttered decor, but it eventually became so overused as to become clinically predictable.

What’s in: eclectic interiors that mix eras and styles.
There’s no reason to have our creativity limited to one era when there is so much to choose from!

eclectic living room how to tips advice


2. Overstuffed and over-cluttered decor.

shabby chic style living room how to tips advice

Although we’re loosening up on the Mid-Century look, the truth is that we all have so much access to stuff and distractions that we’re looking to create an island of serenity and tranquility at home. That means we’re letting go of unnecessary baubles and objects and paring down.

What’s in: warm minimalism. We are looking to keep things simple but comforting, with texture, light, wood and special touches.

scandinavian living room how to tips advice b

3. A Predominance of Solids.

traditional living room how to tips advice

Of course solid color fabrics will always remain the basis of decor, but more of us are looking to mix up that look by using patterns in places where we may have once hesitated.

What’s in: Animal prints, tropical prints, ethnic patterns and designs on couches, chairs, rugs and curtains. Just stay away from Chevron!

traditional living room how to tips advice

4. Completely naked windows.

transitional living room how to tips advice

No one wants yards upon yards of fabric hung around windows, collecting dust and blocking sunlight. And yet, the trend in recent years has taken many people in the opposite direction — no curtains or window treatments at all.

What’s in: Minimal, ethereal and organic shades and simple panels that provide privacy and block sun glare without suffocating a room in fabric.

traditional bedroom how to tips advice

5. Mirrored Furnishings.

contemporary home office how to tips advice

For a while, the Hollywood “regency” look took the design world by storm, but we all must have realized that mirrored dressers and bedside tables was not a look that would last.

What’s In: A mix of wooden and metal furniture.

contemporary dining room how to tips advice


Other trends on their way out:

  • Desks in kitchens.
  • Over the range microwaves.
  • Whirlpool bathtubs.
  • Tiled countertops.
  • “Faux” anything.