Sustainable.TO’s shortlisted entry to the Cambodian Sustainable Housing Competition will be built

Sustainable.TO’s shortlisted entry – the Phase House – to the Cambodian Sustainable Housing Competition responds to the needs of its inhabitants, and the ethos of Cambodian living. It presents a way of understanding the world around it, relating itself to the people who dwell within and the places and materials they have found. Its details of construction, layout, and aesthetic can be read for aspirations and ideals of the individual and country. The building shapes the lives of its inhabitants while its inhabitants, in turn, shape it.

Built to the local microclimate, the house’s sloped roofs are designed to shed the monsoons and shade from the sun. The gap between the walls and the roof allows for passive ventilation of smoke across the centre of the house, and prevents hot air from gathering within the structure. The ping-pong bamboo screens tie into the structure and provide lightweight shade and privacy, while still allowing for natural ventilation. Space for a water cistern is built into the brick core, enabling the collection and subsequent use of rainwater.

The design is customizable, affordable and secure. Its modular, independent platforms allow for construction in a wide variety of site situations, reflecting the wide variety of environments Habitat for Humanity addresses, from the shorelines of Lake Tonle to the compact urban settings of Phnom Penh. The building is inexpensive to construct in its basic form, and is easily developed further if or when funds become available. It is solid enough to feel safe, but is nonetheless respectful of the public lifestyle held by many Cambodians.

The Phase House is one of ten shortlisted winning entries, and the only Canadian submission in this group, and the intention is to build all ten winners.

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