Architectural Design Guideline for Sustainable Floating Houses and Floating Settlements in Vietnam

Thi Thu Trang Nguyen, MSc

Vietnam has a long historical development of floating settlements with a major number of floating villages, where residence and workplace are combined and people have been living in floating homes for centuries. However, these floating villages exist out of dilapidated or simple floating construction which are built on rafts, plastic or metal drums. The existence of floating villages has been facing with many drawbacks of environment, socio-culture and economy. Even, many floating settlement would be demolished by government if there are no urgent solutions to solving those problems. By contrast, due to climate change and social change, floating architecture has a huge potential to develop in Vietnam and it would be an effective solution for resilient living. Thus, new methods and innovation tools need to be studied regarding to the sustainable concept of floating houses and floating settlements.

The aim of research is not only to preserve, protect and develop the aquatic lifestyle of existing floating villages, but also to improve floating architecture for modern demands and resilient living that adapts to social and climate change occurring seriously in Vietnam. Based on the traditional experience and vernacular architecture of floating houses in Vietnam, as well as based on the lessons and innovations of floating architecture development in other countries, the goal of this research is to create architectural design guideline for sustainable floating houses and floating settlements that ensure a safe, stable and permanent living on the water for inhabitants in Vietnam. The guideline intends to guide the applicant in the principles of planning and floating building designs according to considerations of social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Keywords – Guideline, Floating houses, Floating settlements, Floating villages, Sustainability


Nguyen Thi Thu Trang is a Phd student at the faculty of Architecture, Urban planning and Construction at BTU Cottbus- Senftenberg, Germany. Since 2015, she has been studying the field of floating houses at the Institute of Floating Building of BTU. She holds her bachelor and Master degree in Architecture in TSTU, Russia. After graduation, she worked at Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning in 2010. In 2011, she had become a junior lecturer in Ho Chi Minh city University of Architecture in Vietnam.

Since 2017, she has been a research associate at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Institute of Floating Buildings. She has been working on the project Schwimmtour- and project HyPon, sponsored by BMBF and BMWi. The main goal of these projects is to exchange knowledge and transfer European floating technologies to Vietnam to develop the sustainable concept of floating buildings for urban resilience against flooding and rising sea levels.

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