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T3 Architects - Hippo Farm

Hippofarm Bioclimatic Dormitories Banner

T3 was invited by Hippo Farm to design dormitories to welcome “green classes”, students and families who want to learn more about nature, permaculture, horse riding, sustainable construction and all activities which make sense to reconnect with the essentials: education, teamwork, to share meaningful time with friends and reconnect with the natural environment.

The building had to reflect all those ideas to be in line with the Hippo Farm concept. T3 decided first to propose a bioclimatic design, playing with sun orientation and studying carefully the wind direction both during dry season (to get the maximum benefits of the natural air flow) but also during the rainy season (to protect the façade from water infiltration). Then, T3 decided to demolish some existing horse boxes in bad conditions, and reuse them to raise the building above the floodline (and keep the insects and wildlife in the natural soil). Reusing existing materials is part of our frugal approach to do more with less.

The building has a simple steel structure that was custom-made near the site, the walls are made with local bricks covered with a natural lime plastering mixed with local red sand. The insulation of the roof uses Vietnamese bulk rice husk mixed with diatomaceous earth which help to prevent against insects. Rice husk being full of silicate, it resists the high levels of humidity in this tropical climate. All doors and windows are solid wood from Vietnam (thermo-wood for the deck) combined with bamboo mats, both cheap, water resistant and help keep the natural ventilation of the building.

To save water, T3 proposed dry toilets made by OSB panels and an inox bucket under with a hatch on the back façade to make operation easy for staff. Push-buttons also help to save water for all sinks which will be used by kids and teach them about the importance of saving water! Handrails and pergolas are made with Melaleuca wood (also from South Vietnam and water-resistant). A solar heater on the roof faces south to be as efficient as possible and produce hot water when necessary.

All plants around the building are local species which are low-maintenance and bring shadow and freshness. This building is the perfect 'manifesto' of a project in line with happy and creative frugality adapted for a tropical country (countryside).