/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /
/ Story: Ekkarach Laksanasamrith / English version: Peter Montalbano /
/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /
A lot of work and research was invested in this row house renovation project. The big question is: how to make the compact house look wider?
Like most urban residential buildings in Vietnam, “3×9 House” was formerly a shophouse built a long time ago. Only recently it was restored to a good state of repair. Looking back over the years, the old place lacking fresh air and ventilation had only a few windows and lots of solid brick walls, which made the building look dim.
A bold move was needed to rejuvenate it. The result is a modern living space that looks and feels fresher, younger and more lively, plus it helps to lift up the mood of the residents.
As land prices in Vietnam continued to rise rapidly and steeply every year, buying a new house seemed like a formidable task. So the owner thought it wise to invest in renovating his existing home.
He reached out to A21 Studio for their good reputations in the building industry, especially when it came to turning small, stuffy old houses into nice, uncluttered and environment-friendly homes.
Walk in the door, and the first thing that catches our eyes is a tree growing up through an opening in the footbridge set against the wall. It’s a sign of welcome warmly greeting visitors coming into the entryway. The overall effect is bright and airy, thanks in part to a rooftop skylight illuminating the interior living spaces and letting sunlight shine on the tree.
For indoor thermal comfort, openings in the walls let breezy wind enter through the front door and circulate inside the home. As a result of this, the entire interior feels fresh and full of life all the way to the rear section, the second floor and the room under translucent sliding panels on the rooftop.
Flanked by three-story row houses on both sides, “3×9 House” is exposed to direct sunlight only in the middle of the day. For the rest of the time, the home is full of nice cool shade, making it feel very comfortable, warm and cozy, so there’s no need for air-conditioning.
For a bigger, more open vibe in the interior, solid room dividers are avoided, with the exception of the bathroom. The ground floor consists of a living room, dining area and kitchen; all connected.
The bedroom and leisure areas are upstairs. Since the homeowner lives alone, solid room dividers are of no use. In a nutshell, it’s about integrating natural features, openings in the walls and a good ventilation system in the overall design. That’s what makes it a good place to live.
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