Incremental House may be a house prototype that allows the examination of Cambodian contemporary housing taking into account today’s needs.


The project








With the Cambodian Sustainable Housing’s competition launched by the NGO Building Trust International in 2012, we sought design that provided a sustainable future for housing in the South-east Asian country and in particular in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.





Classic location on the outskirts of large cities.



The proposal had to keep below a budget of $2000 and deal with the yearly flooding that affects most residential areas. We presented our project “Incremental House”, awarded but not constructed. 





Incremental Up House!



The concept of the house is based on several elements:


1/ the involvement of the local residents in the construction process, from the beginning;

2/ a response to a need of safe and affordable housing on the outskirts of Phnom Penh;

3/ a research for architectural design quality, based on the study of the evolution of traditional Cambodian housing;

4/ the improvement of living standards, but also its social, economic, environmental impact at a bigger scale;

5/ the development of a process rather than a predetermined project, in order to create a useful exchange for all stakeholders.






Question of modernity.



Find financings to make this project comes true.


Today, we would like to build our awarded prototype in the outskirts of Phnom Penh. This would be also an opportunity for a broader reflection on the living condition of migrant workers in Siem Reap. (Rural residents migrate to city for work. Seasonal migrants in particular end up living in shantytown)


More than just the construction of the prototype, we wish to put in place methods which would develop, for the inhabitants, a sense of ownership in the process. As they already know the construction process of traditional Cambodian housing, they also need to appropriate the construction process of contemporary housings.

With the construction of this 2000$ prototype with the inhabitants, we also intend to elaborate a self-building manual. 



Who are we ?





Tuk-Tuk ! (Arnaud, Jordan and Marine)



Since 2010, while we were still students, we participate to an urban planning specialization on South East Asia at school. We made a lot of researches and works on this territory undergoing redevelopment with the tourism boom. We have spent time in Thailand and Cambodia, in the touristic cities but also in their outskirts to see and meet the inhabitants. We made surveys of traditional houses and we developed territorial projects. 


In 2011, as students, we were part of a workshop in Cambodia with Cambodians architecture students (Royal University of Fine Arts of Phnom Penh). We worked on the potential developments for Kep Province.

This project, after 3 years of studies will be part of an exhibition in Phnom Penh in 2014, KepExpo. Its ambition is to present an urban thinking taking into account the inhabitants and their habits as the main elements for the constitution of the territory.




In 2012, the NGO Building Trust International launched a competition for a house for 2000$. By using our experience, we decided to participate. Ten projects were awarded and three houses were chosen to be built by the NGO.



We presented our project « Incremental House » (awarded but not constructed). It is based on the essentials principles of vernacular construction that we observed in situ. We spent a lot of time in the Cambodians countryside to make surveys, to meet the inhabitants, to observe their constructive and social habits.




Incremental Up House in campaign.



This prototype is based on the traditional Cambodian house and has the particularity to be extendable in time following the extension of the family.  Incremental House is an evolving and upgradable house for little money. 




Traditional House, Chi Pat




In 2013, after our graduation, we founded a nonprofit association, the 4D° // Laboratoire d'Expérimentation Pluridisciplinaire.


The 4D° is an experimental laboratory created after our studies of architecture, design and engineering. Multidisciplinary, we try to propose responsible projects that contradict the idea of short term profitability by integrating as many stakeholders as we can, the inhabitants in the first place. 


We assume that exchange and observation are the necessary components of the constitution of sustainable territories.


Today, if we really want to build this prototype, it is because we truly believe on the capacity of the project to be a good way of generating a constructive dialogue.





Discussion with a village chief, Kep.



Entirely based on studies of traditional housing and discussions with people, we think that this project could be a good base for the constitution of a methodology of territory production that could be reused and useful for other peripheral situations like Siem Reap. 






Discussion with a inhabitant, Kep.


Incremental House may be a prototype that allows the examination of Cambodian contemporary housing taking into account today’s needs. 



Why fund it?

What will it use the money for?


Le prototype is made up of the following elements:




Project scheme.



The house has a scalable ground floor, which is initially left open; a first floor with a large terrace and 2 rooms with mezzanines.


Each unit is equipped with the barest of necessities, and once the house is completed, residents can customize their spaces at their own expense and at a pace that their incomes allow them too.

We decided to gather all the different functionalities related to water inside a “water core”. This core works with a tank that collects rainwater. Therefore, the water needs are met by the tank during the rainy season and supplemented with a low supply from collective neighborhood wells during the dry season.




Water management according to the seasons.



But the main interest of the project is the possibility to extend and multiply the house.

Our strategy, for this project, is to prepare this evolution. The water core become the center of the houses and allows a collective use of the water.


The separation of the living area and the water core offers an opportunity to lower the cost.

The first house costs 1875$, living area (1030$) + water core (845$), but the second house will costs only 1030$ as the water core will be shared. One house costs 1875$, two houses costs 2905$, three houses costs 3935$!




Economic developments.


We want to build this prototype (the first house 1875$) with the local community of Phnom Penh outskirts in order to put in place strategies with the inhabitants to propose a model for the migrant workers of Siem Reap area.




Construction StoryBoard.



The main materials will be bamboo, brick, concrete and again…bamboo! But no wood because Cambodia has a problem of deforestation.




Calculation note.



After the construction, we would like to make a manual of construction that has to be translated in English and in Khmer. It has to presents our approach and a story board that could allow everyone to build his own incremental house based on traditional construction.

The cost associated with this publication is assumed to be around 1500$.


The estimated counterparties are about 500$.


+ 8% of fees from KissKissBankBank.


The collected money on KissKissBankBank doesn’t cover our travel costs. This money will be used for the constructions of the houses and for the construction manual printings.


(but if you know how to get discounts on flight, we take it!)



Thank you for your help !






Section on natural ventilation.

4D° // Laboratoire d'Expérimentation Pluridisciplinaire

Le 4ème Degré s’est formé en 2011, il se veut être un laboratoire d’expérimentations. Pluridisciplinaire, il cherche à réinterroger les schémas économiques et professionnels liés à nos domaines d’études respectifs. Il vise à expérimenter, via le projet et ses multiples échelles, pour inventer de nouvelles combinatoires collaboratives.

Newest comments

Merci beaucoup Pat44 et Alain, on vous donnera évidemment à tous et à toutes des nouvelles du projet ! D'ici le mois de mars on aura avancé sur l'organisation du chantier. A très vite !
Bravo les architectes et bonne énergie pour la construction. Tenez nous au courant. Alain
Pour une chaise longue de plus.... Bravo, si je pouvais, je viendrai avec vous !!!! N'hésitez pas à donner des nouvelles