Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

High-performance utility solutions for traditional housing

Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

High-performance utility solutions for traditional housing

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    View of the Ger Plug-In 3.0 at completion of construction, overlooking the ger districts of Songino Khairkhan 43 in Ulaanbaatar.

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    Presentation of the Holcim Awards 2023 Silver for Asia Pacific

    For Ger Plug-In 3.0 Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (l-r): Laura Viscovich, Executive Director, Holcim Foundation; Manit Rastogi (Chair of Jury), Founding Partner of Morphogenesis, India; Joshua Bolchover, District Development Unit, Hong Kong; Dulguun Batkhisheg, Energy Efficient Design Build, Mongolia; Jersey Poon, District Development Unit, Hong Kong; and Priya Pawar, Program Manager – Holcim Awards, Holcim Foundation.

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    Holcim Awards 2023 prize announcement - Ger Plug-In 3.0

    Presenting the Holcim Awards 2023 Silver winner for Asia Pacific - Ger Plug-In 3.0.

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    Visualization of the transformation and densification of the ger districts through the Ger Plug-In and other housing types that integrate the traditional ger with key infrastructure as part of an in-situ incremental upgrading strategy.

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    Visualization of completed Ger Plug-In 3.0 and landscaping in winter used to engage residents during workshops.

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    View of the Ger Plug-In 3.0 at completion of construction, overlooking the ger districts of Songino Khairkhan 43 in Ulaanbaatar (March 2023).

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    Overview of in-situ incremental upgrading strategy for the ger districts, with different housing types that integrate the traditional ger with key infrastructure.

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    View towards the Ger Plug- In 3.0 from the community center (March 2023).

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    Site and south facade of the Ger Plug-In 3.0 (March 2023).

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    Community engagement workshop with different households to get feedback on the design of the Ger Plug-In 3.0 and upgrading strategy (August 2022).

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    Incremental approach of the Ger Plug-In 3.0 starting with a traditional ger, connecting it to core infrastructure, and extension for more living spaces.

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    Diagram demonstrating how the Ger Plug-In 3.0 changes how residents live through introduction of infrastructure and new spaces.

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    Interior view from the extension area of the Ger Plug-In 3.0, looking towards the kitchen area and out across the ger districts to the south (March 2023).

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    View of the Ger Plug-In 3.0 at completion of construction, overlooking the ger districts of Songino Khairkhan 43 in Ulaanbaatar.

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    Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

    Project authors (l-r, top): Joshua Bolchover, Dulguun Batkhishig, Erdembileg Nemekhbaatar and (l-r, bottom): Jersey Poon, Minjmaa Enkhbat, and Uurtsaikh Sangi.

  • Awards Silver 2023 Asia Pacific

A housing prototype upgrades Ger (traditional felt tent) dwellings to provide affordable and energy efficient housing with integrated infrastructure that improves air quality, health, and wellbeing.

By Joshua Bolchover - District Development Unit, Hong Kong and

Over 840,000 people in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia live in sprawling districts of gers (traditional felt tents) and self-built houses. Their energy supply is based on coal or coke briquettes for heating each winter as temperatures can drop below -30°C, sewage or sanitation infrastructure is non-existent, 95% of residents use pit latrines, and only 1% have access to piped water.  The architects propose an energy efficient housing prototype that provides the ger houses with sanitary infrastructure such as toilet, shower, septic tank, and electric heating system. They further propose the addition of living and sleeping spaces. The core unit is available at a relatively low price which can then be extended depending on their financial resources.

Ger Plug-In 3.0

Project authors

  • Joshua Bolchover

    District Development Unit, Hong Kong

  • HA23-AP-GerPlugIn-Enkhbat
    Minjmaa Enkhbat

    Energy Efficient Design Build

    Mongolia

  • HA23-AP-GerPlugIn-Nemehkbaatar
    Erdembileg Nemehkbaatar

    Energy Efficient Design Build

    Mongolia

  • HA23-AP-GerPlugIn-Poon
    Jersey Poon

    District Development Unit, Hong Kong

  • HA23-AP-GerPlugIn-batkhisheg
    Dulguun Batkhisheg

    Energy Efficient Design Build

    Mongolia

  • HA23-AP-GerPlugIn-Sangi
    Uurtsaihk Sangi

    Ger Hub

    Mongolia

"Creating a different mechanism for how the city can develop."

Joshua Bolchover from District Development Unit introduces an incremental strategy to create affordable housing that supports the sustainable transformation of the city.

The architecture of the Ger Plug-In 3.0 is prefabricated and based on the cheapest traditional way to build a house while upgrading its performance to meet the challenges of its change from a nomadic to urban context. Further, the household’s energy mix changes from raw fuel to electricity. The energy use intensity is reduced by 36% when compared to self-built houses that use coal, which represents an estimated 7.8-ton CO2 emission reduction. The Ger Plug-In 3.0 prototype is currently under construction as part of the in-situ incremental upgrading strategy for the ger districts to improve air quality, health, and wellbeing through access to affordable and energy efficient housing with integrated infrastructure.

Project Status: Under construction since January 2023. 

Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

Visualization of the transformation and densification of the ger districts through the Ger Plug-In and other housing types that integrate the traditional ger with key infrastructure as part of an in-situ incremental upgrading strategy.

An exemplary model for building conservation initiatives that advocates for a re-evaluation of the significance of existing vernacular structures - favoring repurposing over demolition. Holcim Awards 2023 Jury for Asia Pacific

Holcim Awards 2023 prize announcement - Ger Plug-In 3.0

Presenting the Holcim Awards 2023 Silver winner for Asia Pacific - Ger Plug-In 3.0.

Project authors

  • Main Author

    Joshua Bolchover

    Director, District Development Unit

    Hong Kong

  • HA23-AP-GerPlugIn-Poon

    Jersey Poon

    Project Architect, District Development Unit

    Hong Kong

  • HA23-AP-GerPlugIn-batkhisheg

    Dulguun Batkhisheg

    Director, Energy Efficient Design Build

    Mongolia

  • HA23-AP-GerPlugIn-Nemehkbaatar

    Erdembileg Nemehkbaatar

    Co-Founder and Construction Manager, Energy Efficient Design Build

    Mongolia

  • HA23-AP-GerPlugIn-Enkhbat

    Minjmaa Enkhbat

    Architect, Energy Efficient Design Build

    Mongolia

  • HA23-AP-GerPlugIn-Sangi

    Uurtsaihk Sangi

    CEO, Ger Hub

    Mongolia

Jury appraisal

The architecture of the Ger Plug-In 3.0 is prefabricated and based on the cheapest traditional way to build a house while upgrading its performance to meet the challenges of its change from a nomadic to urban context. Further, the household’s energy mix changes from raw fuel to electricity. The energy use intensity is reduced by 36% when compared to self-built houses that use coal, which represents an estimated 7.8-ton CO2 emission reduction. The Ger Plug-In 3.0 prototype is currently under construction as part of the in-situ incremental upgrading strategy for the ger districts to improve air quality, health, and wellbeing through access to affordable and energy efficient housing with integrated infrastructure.

Project Status: Under construction since January 2023. 

Ger Plug-In 3.0 in Mongolia

View of the Ger Plug-In 3.0 at completion of construction, overlooking the ger districts of Songino Khairkhan 43 in Ulaanbaatar (March 2023).

Project updates