top of page


Siphathay Phanphengdy, Matthew Phanphengdy



Model for Modern Lao Vernacular Living

Vernacular architecture -- the use of local resources to provide shelter responsive to the environment and climate. Because of this, vernacular architecture has been categorized as primitive and substandard. This is very true in Laos, where the influx of development has led to the construction of new homes; the vast majority of which are built to resemble Greco-Roman Style buildings. With modern construction techniques and materials, gone are the vernacular designs unique to the region; a past many new home owners are trying to leave behind, resulting in a loss of Lao architectural identity.

In Laos, there are two seasons: the hot and the rainy season; Lao people has created unique vernacular designs in response to their environment. From these styles, reoccurring techniques can be compounded to identify Lao vernacular. These techniques emphasize natural ventilation to combat heat via open space living areas, verandas, windows, and stilts; and rain resistance with the use steep roofs with overhangs and stilts.

Today vernacular design can be more than design out of necessity to cope with the environment; it has the opportunity to make a statement. In Laos, excessive deforestation has caused major environmental concern. The World Wildlife Fund reported that in 2014, Laos exported 1.4 million cubic meters of timber. Reasoning for such large deforestation include conversion of forestland for agriculture and infrastructure development for roads and energy production.

With this in mind, our goal is to create a model for modern Lao vernacular living; aimed at restoring local architectural identity with the Lao traditional ideas and today’s technological notions while help to combat deforestation in Laos. This design hopes to pay homage to Lao vernacular design solutions for environmental friendly and self-sustain whilst abstaining from deforested timber, producing food, and generating electricity.


bottom of page