Blog : ho chi minh city

Floating House in Thu Duc: A Home under the Canopy That Fits Right in Nature

Floating House in Thu Duc: A Home under the Canopy That Fits Right in Nature

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki /

Here’s a midsize three-story house in Thu Duc, a neighborhood on the northeast side of Ho Chi Minh City. It’s nestled in a riverside community that’s no stranger to seasonal flooding. Houses on stilts can be found almost everywhere. This new concrete home is no exception. It’s raised on pilings about a meter above uneven ground to keep it safe from rising floodwaters. More importantly, it’s open-concept design that adds character to the home. Precisely, over 70 percent of the house plan is open to fresh air and natural daylight, a well-design outdoor living space that brings joy to the home.

Floating House in Thu Duc
The light and airy flat-roof home is ensconced in the lush greenery of a riverside community.

On the whole, the concrete-framed house plan appears light and airy. It shows how component parts are pieced together using straightforward building techniques.

Functional areas are scattered over three concrete slab floors that vary from one to the other depending on needs. The ground floor at plinth height holds a quiet, secluded space consisting of the master bedroom and lovely veranda overlooking the backyard garden. It’s positioned to be invisible from the carport and main entrance areas.

Bypassing the first-floor private space, a flight of stairs at the rear of the building leads to the upstairs living room. With traffic flow arranged in this way, the master bedroom lies hidden from view — out of sight, out of mind.

Floating House in Thu Duc

The carport lies under the concrete slab that makes the second floor. The bedroom is separated from the entry area by service spaces such as bathroom and laundry room.

Floating House in Thu Duc

Floating House in Thu Duc

Floating House in Thu Duc
The terrace along the outside of the house is an open-air space with double height ceilings on the outer edge.
Floating House in Thu Duc
Thoughtful design opens the master bedroom to natural light.

The second-floor living space contains a sitting room, dining room and kitchen. It’s made attractive by good-sized balconies that wrap around all four sides of the house plan.

The entire building envelop that encloses the sitting room is glazed using clear glass that stands tall from floor to ceiling. It’s a natural way to create a visual connection between the interior and exterior spaces on the balcony and beyond.

Floating House in Thu Duc
The stairwell at the rear of the building connects the first floor to the upstairs living room.
Floating House in Thu Duc
The living room is glazed using glass paneling that opens to take in fresh air and views of the surroundings.
Floating House in Thu Duc
The enclosed kitchen opens to a nearby hall. Large windows make it equally well ventilated.

Floating House in Thu Duc

Floating House in Thu Duc
The veranda offers ample space that merges with nearby sitting room.

The third-floor deck offers a panorama of surrounding communities. It’s accessible from the second floor via an outdoor staircase that’s built into the front façade. There’s a bar counter with outdoor grill table for the perfect barbecue. A cool place to be, it lies under the canopy of overhanging trees with luxuriant foliage reaching into the sky.

Floating House in Thu Duc
An aerial perspective shows plenty of calm and relaxing family rooms.

It is, in brief, a design where nature is front and center, a home that’s comfortable without being strikingly noticeable. It reflects the line of thought that a simple, beautiful home can be built using ordinary materials and techniques; such as concrete masonry, timber, terra cotta tiles and white walls.

A drawing shows the house’s location within the community. / Courtesy of Sda. – Sanuki Daisuke Architects
Downstairs house plan / Courtesy of Sda. – Sanuki Daisuke Architects
Upstairs house plan / Courtesy of Sda. – Sanuki Daisuke Architects
Rooftop deck plan / Courtesy of Sda. – Sanuki Daisuke Architects
A front-elevation drawing shows structural relationships between concrete slab floors and functional spaces. / Courtesy of Sda. – Sanuki Daisuke Architects

In this particular case, the concrete-framed house is built on a budget using the usual commonplace materials. There’s practically no limit, and it’s up to the person to pick and choose to beautify his home. Take for example the outdoor staircase built into the front façade. In terms of the general impression, it’s an interesting architectural feature that performs its intended function.

Floating House in Thu Duc


Architect: Sda. – Sanuki Daisuke Architects (www.sanukiar.com)

Lead Architect: Sanuki Daisuke, Nguyen Huynh Bao Ngoc

Structure Engineer: Thanh Cong Construction Design Co., Ltd

ME Engineer: Hung Viet Tst Corp

Contractor: Coppha Builders Construction Co., Ltd


This house appears in the Special Bilingual Edition (English and Thai) of Baan Lae Suan and Living Asean, titled “Tropical Suburban and Country Homes”. It focuses on designs for cozy living in harmony with nature.

We have handpicked ten houses for this special edition that serve as the perfect example of design innovations in sync with the natural world. Front and center, it’s about the pursuit of ways to live more sustainably and create a better future for all. Looking for inspiration? Perhaps a glimpse into nature-inspired “Tropical Suburban and Country Homes” is a good place to start.

Delve into the new book today. It’s hitting Thailand shelves now. For more details, visit https://www.naiin.com/product/detail/592504

For bulk ordering, contact livingasean.bkk@gmail.com


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MA Architects Office: Integrating Natural Features in Workspace Design

MA Architects Office: Integrating Natural Features in Workspace Design

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Paul Phan /

Overcrowding conditions in Ho Chi Minh City have given rise to both challenges and opportunities for the design team at MA Architects, a homegrown architectural practice in Vietnam. Back in the day, their office was on rental property with little to no room for flexibility. Albeit equipped with air conditioning and modern conveniences, the small workspace was lacking fresh air and ventilation, a far cry from the environment conducive to a relaxed atmosphere and creativity.

Coconut fiber coverings shield parts of the roof for best interior lighting and insulation.
The front façade in cool-toned gray stands sandwiched between a vacant lot and a tall building on the street corner.

Because of that, they decided to break out of the confined space into a home of their own. The new office stands sandwiched between two properties, a tall building on one side and a vacant lot on the other. Its front yard landscape is infused with green foliage.

Thoughtfully devised, the design atelier with an awesome cool gray façade is open to plenty of sunlight and fresh outdoor air plus trees and shrubbery. And the result of all this: a workplace ambience free from disturbance, one that’s good for staff’s ability to create and stay focused on their tasks.

The hallway holds a reception room that’s light and airy.

Bringing the outdoors inside, the office holds workspaces set on concrete slabs along one side and a strip of sand earth for in-ground gardening on the other.

The small, 100-square-meter office space is nestled in a peaceful city neighborhood. It occupies the full extent of a rectangular shaped lot measuring 5 by 20 meters.

The building has a narrow frontage to the street. Its external envelope is built of brick masonry plastered to form a smooth hard surface. In front of it, a small earthen terrace hemmed in by lush greenery provides a neat appearance.

An isometric drawing shows three principal dimensions of architectural features with elements of nature integrated in interior design. / Courtesy of MA Architects
An architectural drawing shows the positioning of natural elements in relation to upstairs and downstairs rooms. / Courtesy of MA Architects
In cross section, a side elevation drawing illustrates cross air flow patterns through the workspaces and under the roof. / Courtesy of MA Architects
Flashback: A photo collage shows stages of construction in chronological order. / Courtesy of MA Architects

Downstairs, a spacious workplace lies connected to a woodworking shop in the back of the building. The meeting room is upstairs that’s open to allow plenty of natural daylight and cool breezes into the interior.

Overhead, the trusses that support the roof are made entirely of timber covered by transparent corrugated roofing materials for best indoor lighting. Where appropriate, sections of the roof are protected by dry coconut fiber coverings for insulation from the sun’s harsh glare.

A woodworking shop occupies the back room, from which a staircase leads to the second-floor meeting room.
The woodworking shop lies on the earth floor with a kitchen and bathroom at the farthest end.

Because when it rains it pours in the Tropics, it makes perfect sense to plaster the entire building envelope. The hard and smooth surface goes to work protecting the building from extreme heat and wet weather all year round.

Although relatively small in size, the office interior crafted of wood is impressive thanks to an open-concept, well-ventilated layout. While dry coconut fiber coverings over the roof make the interior feel cool and dry, the uncovered part works like a skylight turning indoors into a well-lighted place.

Besides light and wind, the architect also integrated other elements of nature in the design, among them earthen floors that cover parts of the ground level. Only the workspace and kitchen floors are made of concrete slabs for ease of use and safety.

Nearby, earthen floors add a warm, natural feel to the interior with plenty of room for growing plants in-ground. As the architect puts it, being in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city, anything that brings a touch of nature, however small, is priceless.

The second-floor meeting room is open to natural daylight and connects to the trees.

A building material of choice, earthen flooring makes it possible to fill the interior with healthy green foliage along the entire wall. Earth and sand absorb and release some moisture, which contributes to a relaxed indoor ambience.

At the same time, vegetation in the front yard and decorative indoor plants both in ground and in containers go to work in tandem keeping the new office building cool and cozy just like home.


Architect: MA Architects (www.facebook.com/mastudiovn)


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Nha Be House: A Brick Home Infused with Memories of the Good Old Days

Nha Be House: A Brick Home Infused with Memories of the Good Old Days

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Sut / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki /

Here’s a beautiful good-sized home with exposed brick walls in subdued orange. It sits peacefully nestled among lush greenery in Nha Be, a suburban district of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. By design, it’s the perfect home size for four sisters who recently decided to come home to care for their aging Mom. A nice place for their family reunion, the brick home is filled with real warmth and memories growing up together back in the day.

Brick Home NHA BE HOUSE


Connecting Home and Garden

Designed to fit a long piece of property, the rectangular house plan holds five bedrooms plus a roomy communal space that’s the heart of family life. The architect puts the face of the building closer to the road which passes in front of the house leaving just enough room for a small front yard.

Like so, it allows a huge space for the backyard garden devoted to trees and shrubs and an outdoor sitting room.

Brick Home NHA BE HOUSE

Inside, the spacious room shared by all family members lies front and center on the house plan. To bring fresh air into the home, all the rooms are connected to the outdoor spaces in front and back of the building.

Brick Home NHA BE HOUSE
The front yard holds a small garden that’s an important factor in curb appeal. The interior is comfortable thanks to double-wall construction. The perforated outer shell performs a dual function protecting the house from heat and glare and serving as privacy screens.

Overall, it’s a design that lets the earthy, woody scents of nature permeate the air. Up front, healthy green foliage transforms the communal area into a calm, pleasant place enlivened by plenty of natural light streaming in through generous openings in the walls.

Brick Home NHA BE HOUSE
Open-concept design and floating furniture ideas make the communal room feel spacious, light and airy.
NHA BE HOUSE
An opening at the center of the house plan connects the first floor with the second, resulting in good visual and spatial continuity. The absence of risers between the treads of the staircase makes the room feel spacious and well-ventilated.

On one side of the floor plan, a flight of stairs connects to the second floor and continues to the room just below the roof that acts as a buffer against the sun and heat. The absence of vertical risers between the treads of the staircase creates visual and spatial continuity, plus good air flow in the interior.

Overhead, a shaft of sunlight streams through the rooftop skylight making the home feel bright and airy all day.

NHA BE HOUSE
A semi-circle skylight lets sunlight shine through turning the home into a well-lighted place.

Brick the Material of Choice

The two-and-a-half-story brick home, including the room under the roof, is built almost entirely of bricks for the best indoor climate. Needless to say it’s designed for healthy living.

The first floor is a perfect example of communal space with plenty of room for a generous sitting area, dining room and kitchen. It speaks volumes for a culture of caring and sharing that’s the essence of humanity.

Brick Home NHA BE HOUSE
A patch of lush greenery in the front yard makes the sitting room feel warm and invitingly comfortable.

NHA BE HOUSE

For practical reason, Mom’s open-concept bedroom is on the first floor. It’s protected from the sun’s harmful rays by perforated brick walls that form the outer shell. The inside is clear of anything that might be a tripping hazard.

NHA BE HOUSE
The perforated brick wall forms the outer shell protecting Mom’s open-concept bedroom.

Brick Home NHA BE HOUSE

Meanwhile, the four sisters each have their own bedrooms on the second floor. They are equal-sized rooms connected by a balcony overlooking the communal space on the first floor. At the very top, the space under the roof becomes a devotional room for traditional veneration of the family’s ancestors. It has a quiet sitting area with a view of the surrounding landscape.

NHA BE HOUSE
The bedrooms on the second floor are plain and simple. Windows on the interior walls bring back that peaceful easy feeling.
NHA BE HOUSE
The top floor under the roof contains a devotional room for the veneration of family ancestors

Taken as a whole, the natural environment is pristine thanks to an irrigation canal that runs past the back of the property. Both sides of the waterway are covered in greenery growing luxuriantly in the wild. It’s easy to get why the architect puts in a backyard garden here, a clever hack that blends perfectly into the lush landscape.

Brick Home NHA BE HOUSE

The house is built strong using concrete frame and concrete floor slab construction, while the external envelop is made of bricks in assorted orange hues fired the old-fashioned way. Perforated brick facades enable interior spaces to benefit from natural daylight. Gaps between bricks in the house’s exterior walls admit light and fresh outdoor air into the home.

A material of choice, the vintage style bricks can absorb humidity from the nearby water body, which translates into interior thermal comfort all year round. Plus, they effectively filter out dust and pollution in the air.

The siting of the house in relation to others in the community. — Courtesy of Tropical Space

Apart from protecting against heat and glare, brick walls add a touch of timeless elegance to the home. Perforated facades double as privacy screens that prevent people from looking in and keep the home cool without air conditioning.

The light that shines through is more diffuse, while holes in the brick walls act as engine that drives natural ventilation. Plus, brick walls require little to no maintenance, and they look like new after many years later.

First Floor Plan — Courtesy of Tropical Space
Second Floor Plan — Courtesy of Tropical Space
Attic Floor Plan — Courtesy of Tropical Space
In cross section, a side elevation drawing shows the feel and functionality of the house plan. — Courtesy of Tropical Space

Backyard Garden Made for Relaxation

One of the house’s outstanding features is the backyard garden with an outdoor circular bench capable of seating several people. Built of bricks in subdued shades of orange, it’s the family’s favorite meeting place in the morning and evening.

Because it’s round, it creates more space for family members to come together face-to-face, talk together, walk together strengthening the bonds of sisterhood and relationships made in heaven.

NHA BE HOUSE
An outdoor circular bench made of bricks in assorted orange hues adorns the backyard garden designed for face-to-face family gatherings in the morning and evening.

Brick Home NHA BE HOUSE

Brick Home NHA BE HOUSE
An aerial view shows the brick house in subdued shades of orange nestled among lush greenery with a tree lined irrigation canal in the backdrop, a healthy ecosystem that helps cool the environment.

Architect: Tropical Space (tropicalspaceil.com)


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Shunri Nishizawa, Nishizawa Architects: Reflections on Design within the Context of the Climate and Site Limitations

Shunri Nishizawa, Nishizawa Architects: Reflections on Design within the Context of the Climate and Site Limitations

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Sut /English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki, NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS /

Mention the Tropical climate, and it calls to the mind the image of wind, sunshine after the rain and a comfortable atmosphere. But hey, what do we know? As architecture continues to advance into a fascinating modern age we live in, oftentimes these key attributes that constitute a gift from nature are sadly disregarded. Shunri Nishizawa of Nishizawa Architects looks at things from a different perspective, one that appreciates the qualities and features inherent in the natural conditions of a place. And he is able to incorporate them in the design in such a manner as to achieve a desired result. It’s a new design possibility that gives rise to the Modern Tropical style as we know it.

Here’s a glimpse into his ideas before listening to him speak at the upcoming room x Living Asean Design Talk 2023. This year’s theme is on the topic of “URBAN FUSION / RURAL FLOURISH: Interweaving Urban and Rural Designs.” It will take place at the room Showcase zone inside BaanLaeSuan Fair Midyear 2023 at BITEC Bang Na, Bangkok on Sunday August 6.


Q: Tell me, Shunri. From your point of view, how would you define Tropical architectural design?

A: Up until now, I’ve felt the role of an architect is to understand and give dignity to all the entities around.

I’m referring to things with distinct and independent existence. Any entity, including humans, animals, plants, space, buildings, you name it. They should feel welcomed and appreciated for being there.

Shunri Nishizawa
Thong House / Living in a semi-outdoor room is a way to establish a good rapport with the surroundings and realize the importance of connections between nature and

For me, the definition isn’t confined to just Tropical architecture per se. Such is also true for Asian architecture.

I’m referring to time-honored architectural design that has existed or been a part of Asian history in general for a very long time. In essence, it’s about creating design well suited to living with nature, and with water as to be expected.

Architecture that embraces Western values may not have been done in the same way as that of Asia. So the focus of attention isn’t just humans or urban developments alone.

In a nutshell, Tropical architectural design is the kind that’s done within the context of the surroundings. Everything about a culture and natural features also play a role in the design process.

Shunri Nishizawa
Binh Thanh House / Oftentimes, works done by Nishizawa Architects intentionally blurs the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces. Over time, the integration of Tropical climate features in a design became their signature.

Q: What identifies you in architectural design? What’s your signature?

A: It’s Asian architecture. Not Tropical architecture. Throughout its long history, Asian architecture has developed in close association with nature, especially with water.

No doubt about that. On the other hand, I feel that modern architecture has developed in a manner consistent with Western values. It’s design that focuses too much on humans and urban developments.

To me as an architect, it’s my duty to understand the results of all actions that take place. I take them into consideration during the design process, treat them with respect and equally. They include humans, animals, the natural environment and the context or circumstances that form the setting of a location.

In this manner, a well-planned piece of architecture is created in a warm and welcoming environment. It’s a situation where good design proves a perfect complement to the surroundings. That’s my signature.

Shunri Nishizawa
Restaurant of Shade / Sunshine, which is the key attribute of Tropical climates, pairs with timber native to Tropical countries to bring out the irresistible charms of rustic life in a design by Nishizawa Architects.

Q: Can you give me an example or work that speaks volumes for the definition you just mentioned?

A: The “House in Chau Doc” project, our most recent product. It’s one that conveys a great deal about our commitment to designs that sync with the context of a location.

The house is built on a budget. Planned by careful thought, it merges into the surrounding countryside and performs in agreement with natural events regarded as normal in the locality.

It fits the definition. Open design facilitates comfortable living with nature. The house is built with vernacular materials readily available in the area.

Basically it’s about promoting a lifestyle by which humans and the environment are all connected. Plus, it’s beautifully devised to blend the conveniences of urban living with the rural ways of life.

Shunri Nishizawa
House in Chau Doc / Building materials indigenous to a locality can be adapted to suit a new purpose in both urban and rural environments. A work of art never goes out of style.

Q: Last question. About the pressure to adapt to change that comes with expanding urban developments. What is your take on that?

A: From an ethical point of view, the architect and society both have to understand the importance of living in close touch with nature.

Its positive effects on our mental and physical wellbeing are of great value. Like so, an architect does his part in helping people reconnect with the natural environment through well-thought-out design.

However, in reality, some of us may be more interested other things; insects, fishes, animals, plants, and whatnot. No one should be busy making a living to the point he forgets to make a life.

That’s why I want to broaden people’s perception of architecture and encourage fellow architects to love nature more by devoting time and effort toward the conservation of our precious natural resources. Nature-inspired design is one way of helping to achieve a common goal.

Shunri Nishizawa
BEN THANH Restaurant / Architectural design that takes into account the context of history can help us understand the connectedness of all things. In some subtle way, it values the importance of history and the situation prevailing at a particular time about a piece of architecture.

Find out more about architectural design in sync with nature, as well as ideas for a possible course of action within the context of nature, climate and culture from Shunri Nishizawa, architect and founder of Nishizawa Architects, Vietnam, at the upcoming the “room X Living Asean Design Talk 2023.”

It’s an opportunity to meet up with a panel of experts comprising four distinguished architects from three ASEAN countries. This year’s event is on the theme of “URBAN FUSION / RURAL FLOURISH: Interweaving Urban and Rural Designs.” The Talk is scheduled for Sunday August 6 at the room Showcase zone inside BaanLaeSuan Fair Midyear 2023, BITEC Bang Na, Bangkok. Mark your calendar!

For more details: https://livingasean.com/special-scoop/room-x-living-asean-design-talk-2023-urban-fusion-rural-flourish-interweaving-urban-and-rural-designs/

Register to attend at: https://amarinfair.com/…/room-x-living-asean-design-talk


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Bao Long Office: An Old Shophouse Beautifully Renovated

Bao Long Office: An Old Shophouse Beautifully Renovated

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Monosoda, Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Quang Dam /

Major renovations have given a drafty old shophouse a new lease on life. Thanks to great remodeling ideas, the tired-looking two-unit shophouse on Su Van Hanh Street, Ho Chi Minh City, transformed into a beautiful place that struck the right balance between a business and a private residence. Designed by the architecture firm H.a + NQN, the completely refurbished premises are home to a private enterprise named Bao Long Office.

Bao Long Office

As is often the case with shophouses in Vietnam, each of the two units has a frontage of 3 meters. It’s in the shape of an elongated rectangle with a whopping 20-meter length sandwiched between adjacent units.

To create ample, well-ventilated interior space, the wall separating the two units was torn down and replaced with a newer, more modern version.

Bao Long Office’s plan was redesigned to accommodate new business concepts as well as residential and lifestyle needs. To protect the building’s structural integrity, the internal framework remained intact.

The same applied to the ground floor that housed a business selling stainless steel products. For a neat appearance, the entire front façade was glazed in, giving it charms and good looks that set it apart from others in the neighborhood. By night the face of the building is aglow under the lights.

Bao Long Office
Second-floor workspace and private living quarters are clearly separated from each other.

Bao Long Office

Decorated with healthy green foliage, the second-floor balcony provides a relaxed outdoor room and protects the home from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Located in a commercial zone, the store at ground level is understandably busy and the crowded street bustling with activity.

Climb a flight of stairs to the second floor, and you come to an impressive office space. The area on this level of Bao Long Office is divided into two parts. There’s a warm and welcoming workspace at the office on one side that’s clearly separated from private living quarters on the other.

Both parts are conveniently accessible via the balcony connected to the front façade. The second-floor outdoor platform is decorated with an oasis of calm that’s very pleasant to look at.

Ground Floor Plan Courtesy of H.a
First Floor Plan Courtesy of H.a
Second Floor Plan Courtesy of H.a

 

Bao Long Office
Double-height ceiling design offers open and pleasing tranquility to a long and narrow living room.

Bao Long Office

Section Drawing Courtesy of H.a

The office consists of a workroom and meeting room with simple interior décor. The walls are painted white symbolizing a new beginning and the floors covered in terrazzo.

There’s a custom work table with drafting stools that runs parallel to the wall and stretches the entire length of the room.

The atmosphere is strikingly different from the calming space of nearby private living quarters. To create a homely atmosphere, the living room has a small beverage bar with pantries customized to the homeowner’s hosting style.

At the farthest end lies a peaceful sitting area decorated with deep colors that match the dark surfaces of terrazzo floors, concrete walls, and rustic walnut furniture.

Softened by the dim light, it’s a relaxation technique to create warmth and reduce stress in the home.

Bao Long Office
The homeowner’s sitting room on the third floor is quiet and secluded.

At the same time, a section of the upper floor was taken out to make room for an entrance hall with double-height ceiling design. Not far away, a set of stairs was installed to connect to the homeowner’s secluded living quarters on the top floor.

The private residential zone comes complete with a bedroom with en suite bath, sitting room, and dressing room.

Bao Long Office

A staircase painted orange creates an unexpected playful contrast with the calmness of a small interior space.

Painted a shade of orange color, the steel staircase leads from the ground level, where the retail store is located, all the way to the private residential zone on the top floor of Bao Long Office. Its playful design is intended to express pleasure and joy in everyday life.

You got that right! It’s part of a home improvement project designed to make life more fun. It serves the primary purpose of getting house occupants from one floor to the next, and it’s done in a unique, stylish way.


Architect: H.a (www.facebook.com/workshopha) + NQN. (www.facebook.com/nqn.architects)


The article is an excerpt from “Home Office / Home Studio,” a book that compiles ideas on integrating “home” with “workspace” to create a comfortable and suitable environment for small companies, startups, and creative individuals.

You can find it at leading bookstores throughout Thailand or order it through various online channels.

INBOX: m.me/roomfan
NAIIN: https://www.naiin.com/product/detail/582920
SHOPEE: https://shp.ee/uirj9q5
LAZADA: https://s.lazada.co.th/s.9V0vz


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Premier Office: A Nature-Inspired Brick Office Design Giving off Good Vibes

Premier Office: A Nature-Inspired Brick Office Design Giving off Good Vibes

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Sut / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Triệu Chiến /

Though we cannot count on the weather to be calm and delightful at all times, it is quite possible to bring physical ease, well-being and relaxation into the workplace, even without air conditioning. And this brick office named “Premier Office” has proved to be the case, thanks to clever passive cooling techniques and greenery giving off friendly vibes.

brick office

Handsomely nestled within a calm Ho Chi Minh City neighborhood, the building offering rental office spaces boasts the timeless beauty of brickwork in masonry construction.

Not only do bricks blend nicely into the surrounding landscape, but they also provide interior thermal comfort by absorbing moisture to some degree.

When wet, they dry out by evaporation thereby keeping the ambient temperature pleasant during the daytime.

brick office

The seven-story building with a parking garage below ground level offers vacant office spaces for lease that let tenants do their own setup and decorating.

Unlike the usual design offering the same old same old typical of everyday commercial real estate, the rental business spaces at Premier Office are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations, each of which is unique in its own special way.

brick office

brick office

brick office

As the architect intended, the new office block centers around the concept of climate-responsive design whereby forms, functions and nature blend together into one perfectly coordinated business property.

There is a courtyard-like open area at the center that affords an airy and bright atmosphere on every floor. It’s an architectural feature that goes together well with building facades made of ventilation blocks.

By design, the breathable envelope doubles as a passive cooling system that draws fresh outdoor air into this brick office and dissipates excess heat into the sky by rooftop ventilation.

brick office

brick office

Façade and Ventilation Conceptual Diagram Courtesy of Tropical Space
First Floor Plan Courtesy of Tropical Space
Second Floor Plan Courtesy of Tropical Space
Third Floor Plan Courtesy of Tropical Space
Fourth Floor Plan Courtesy of Tropical Space
Fifth Floor Plan Courtesy of Tropical Space
Sixth Floor Plan Courtesy of Tropical Space
Seventh Floor Plan Courtesy of Tropical Space

For the health benefits of natural light, the building envelope is constructed with spaces in between bricks. These little openings in the wall work in tandem with the skylight over the courtyard-like area at the center.

Together they create interior thermal comfort by admitting a defused light to illuminate the room, meantime protecting it from the sun’s harsh glare.

It’s a clever hack to promote well-being, by which only the indirect light filtered by brick walls and surrounding trees is allowed.

brick office

The architect believed that by integrating physical comfort in the design of this brick office, it would double as second home for many tenants working here.

To avoid invading people’s privacy, the business space for each and every tenant is easily identifiable and clearly defined by a brick masonry wall.

Even with that, all the rental spaces appear bright and airy, no doubt, a nature-inspired place in which to conduct business.


Owner: Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh
Architect: Tropical Space (https://tropicalspaceil.com/)


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Urban Farming Office: VTN Architects’ Office Gives Back Lush Greenery

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Urban Farming Office: VTN Architects’ Office Gives Back Lush Greenery

Urban Farming Office: VTN Architects’ Office Gives Back Lush Greenery

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki /

The design studio of VTN Architects (Vo Trong Nghia Architects) sits comfortably ensconced in a plant-covered six-story building in Ho Chi Minh City. The 1,300-square-meter office block is adorned with balconies containing lush green gardens that combine to create a vibrant building shell. It’s a design based on an understanding of the challenges facing big cities and the importance of environmental conservation.

VTN Architects

Far and wide a lack of recreation areas and green spaces, coupled with rapidly worsening air pollution, is causing serious health problems for people in urban areas. It’s for this reason that living trees and shrubs are integrated into the ‘ building’s external envelope.

The result is a green office block that brings fresh air to the design. Here, easy-care trees cool the air, provide shade, and filter out dangerous, fine particulate matter. It transforms ideas into solutions as Vietnam, a developing country, joins a global network of advanced manufacturing hubs.

Precisely, it’s a design rooted in good environmental management practice that aims to minimize human impacts on surrounding ecosystems – a fact that’s easy to overlook when planning a building. Also known as the Urban Farming Office, it communicates a message that failure to do so will have unpredictable and often undesirable consequences.

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

The Urban Farming Office isn’t just home to a design studio. It’s also a perfect example of innovative companies driven by a desire to go green in the workplace.

Plus, it gives back healthy lush foliage and a breath of fresh air to the city. That’s not all though. It draws attention to many possibilities of vertical gardening – techniques to grow more in less space.

From the outside looking in, the building façade looks like a botanical laboratory lined with decorative concrete containers where trees and plants grow. They are mostly easy-to-care-for native plants that thrive in local ecosystems. Where appropriate, seasonal vegetables, herbs and spices are grown organically to meet family needs. It’s a way to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

And it’s safe, eco-friendly, and even energy efficient.

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

From a distance, thriving vegetation turns the bland building shell into a lushly planted living façade. Overall it’s a straightforward concrete construction with outdoor platforms attached to the side of the building.

These balconies are filled with modular concrete planters designed to be moved easily depending on the height and growth of trees. This ensures that each particular species gets sufficient amounts of sun to grow.

Combine biodiversity in the balcony and rooftop gardening with the surrounding landscape, and you get an expansive urban forest that amounts to 190 percent of the total project area. As the architect puts it, this translates into 1.1 tons of vegetation including native edible plants, vegetables, herbs and fruit trees carefully chosen as being the best and most suitable.

Also, it’s organic farming and the quality of being diverse that give the office building a cheerful and positive personality.

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

Walk past the front façade, and you come before an inviting first impression. The window, doorframe and exterior wall are glazed entirely with glass to protect interior rooms from the elements.

On the outside, lush green vegetation doubles as a building envelope that filters out harsh sunlight while allowing plenty of fresh, outdoor air to pass into the interior workspaces. Plant watering is done using rainwater stored in catch basins strategically placed around the building.

The irrigation method that sprays water droplets overhead with sprinklers also keeps the ambient temperature cool, thereby saving money on air conditioning costs.

On every level, the open floor plan boasts clean lines that make the interior workspace look more spacious and well-ventilated all day long. All told, it’s the ingenious double wall design that makes living a whole lot easier and less stressful.

VTN Architects

VTN Architects

To give a brief summary, green architecture isn’t the only feature that makes this office building stand out from the rest. Rather, it’s also the image of organizational culture that speaks volumes for the determination of the architects who live and work here.

VTN Architects have demonstrated that humans and the environment can coexist symbiotically. This is achievable by letting nature permeate and be a crucial part of the city and any office design. It’s the way forward in creating a more equitable, sustainable future.

VTN Architects


Owner/Architect: VTN Architects (Vo Trong Nghia Architects)


 

303 House: A Narrow Townhome Inspired by Aircraft Interior

303 House: A Narrow Townhome Inspired by Aircraft Interior

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Nawapat Dusdul / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Quang Tran /

An architectural practice called “Sawadeesign Studio” has applied innovative aircraft cabin ideas to give this narrow townhome a complete makeover. The small family home sits sandwiched between two low-rise buildings in the heart of Tan Binh, an urban district of Ho Chi Minh City. They named the project “303 House.”

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

Narrow townhomes are a typical housing type omnipresent throughout central Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. By law, places of residence with a narrow frontage to the street (smaller than 3 meters across, to be exact) are not permitted to have more than one level.

In this particular case, the only way to build is arrange all the usable spaces and functions on the same horizontal plane. And the result is a renovation done right in every sense of the word.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

From the outside looking in, the entire width of the house is only 2.9 meters. With the exterior walls installed, the inside space comes to just 2.7 meters wide.

Interestingly enough, well-thought-out design turns an awkward narrow plot into a single-story home that’s simple with all useable spaces giving off good vibes. The bright and airy home occupies less than 90 square meters of land.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

The design duo, Doan Si Nguyen and Vo Thanh Phat, decided against the most commonly used construction technique. They proposed an alternative method aimed at reducing the amount of concrete used, an option that risked being rejected by investors from the get-go.

For indoor thermal comfort, the ceilings are made of Rockwool tole about 150 mm thick. The coated sheet metal is widely used in the storage industry and large warehouses for its excellent thermal insulation. Here, it’s used to make the interior living spaces comfortable day and night.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

The contemporary home interior features mixed materials. Among them, grey plaster on the wall proves a perfect complement to gray epoxy paint on the floor. Together, they provide desirable elements for a calm, peaceful home. Everywhere, furniture made of plywood is a great way to add natural touches to the interior.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

As the architects put it, the secret to creating a healthy indoor environment lies in putting multiple layers of functional spaces in neat order to shield the home from the busy street outside. This is especially true in HCMC, where many homes are prone to suffer from the negative effects of outside noise and unrestricted growth of housing areas and commercial development.

Fascinatingly, aircraft cabin ideas came in handy for the townhome built on an extremely long and narrow plot of land. It’s reminiscent to walking along an aisle between rows of seats on an aircraft.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

There’s a paved outdoor area in front of the house entrance that provides a place to socialize. Step inside, and you come into a corridor connecting to a living area, kitchen, and laundry room. Wall-mounted storage cabinets line one side of the aisle, with beautifully organized functional spaces on the other.

There are two bedrooms with a bathroom attached tucked away in a quiet place half way down, plus a third bedroom at the rear of the house accessible by a small corridor. Where appropriate, clear roofing materials provide light for houseplants, while openings in the rooftop drive air circulation keeping the interior cool and comfortable without air conditioning.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh CityModern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City

The house plan is not only tailored to the specific needs of a family of three, but it’s also a well-thought-out place of abode amid the hustle and bustle of the city.

As is often the case with most urban areas, for homeowners there’s a tendency to rent out the space in front of their houses to small retailers and businesses. But the family living at 303 House doesn’t need that kind of income. They prefer to keep the door closed and enjoy privacy in the comfort of their home. Albeit small, it’s an oasis of calm — a home sweet home no doubt.

Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City Modern House / Modern Skinny House on a Narrow Lot in Ho Chi Minh City


Architect: Sawadeesign Studio (www.sawadeesign.net)

Lead Architects: Doan Si Nguyen and Vo Thanh Phat


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A Modern Breeze Blocks Home in Ho Chi Minh City

A Modern Breeze Blocks Home in Ho Chi Minh City

      / Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Sut / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Tanakitt Khum-on /

The architecture of this Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City is perfectly suited to the hot, humid climate, with an imaginative counterpoint of plants, greenery, and airy openings keeping it shady and pleasant inside and out.

Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City

Shunri Nishizawa, architect and owner of this 5-story row house, designed the Nishizawa Architects office into the basement. Floors 1-3 are rented to a Vietnamese family with a bedroom and dining room on the first floor, living room on the second, and more bedrooms on the third. The Nishizawa family itself has its living room on the fourth floor and bedrooms on the fifth.

Levels from the basement up to the fifth floor alternate between open and closed design, according to their use. Catching sunshine and natural breezes, the second- and fourth-story balconies are edged with small gardens.

This makes the tall building less constricted while allowing for easy air circulation from the front through to the back. Alternating levels extend out from the building’s frame, with the floors above shading the ones below.

Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City
Sun diversion screens: the design comes from the hollow brick concept, but uses larger units, so the breeze enters more deeply and freely while keeping intense sun and rain from indoor areas.
Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City
A spiral staircase provides access to the second floor.
Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City
A comfortable work environment at the office of Nishizawa Architects.

The small gardens not only make residents feel relaxed, but also filter out intense light and cool the breezes blowing through. The second and fourth floors feature concrete ceilings sculpted with curves rather than the harsh lines found inside most buildings. This makes the light more diffuse in the interior, creating the relaxing perception of being in a natural stone cave.

Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City

Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City

Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City

Shunri says, “This house shows a true combination of ‘tropical’ and ‘modern’ architectural design coming from understanding traditional living patterns in this hot, humid Vietnamese climate as well as how to set things up perfectly for contemporary life.

“It’s safe and secure living with modern comforts such as air conditioning, yet still answers our need to be close to nature, with sunlight, breezes, and open spaces connecting to garden and plants right here in the house.”

Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City

Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City

The overall design can be adapted to many different functions. Shunri draws on his experience growing up with multipurpose spaces common in Japanese homes. Areas such as the living room are strategically partitioned to block direct light and view, simultaneously giving privacy and an open feeling.

Hollow blocks, a popular Vietnamese building material, inspired the design. They provide shade, aid circulation and effectively protect against sun and rainstorm.

More than just comfortable living, this house offers a charming blend of nature and architecture ensconced in an oasis of calm right in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City.

This breeze blocks Tropical house is actually much better described as a “house and garden” than simply a “building.”

Modern Breeze Blocks home in Ho Chi Minh City

 


Architect: Nishizawa Architects


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A Rectangular Brick Home For a Tropical Climate

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A Rectangular Brick Home For a Tropical Climate

A Rectangular Brick Home For a Tropical Climate

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Tanakitt Khum-on /

This rectangular brick home in Ho Chi Minh City is designed for a “hot and humid” climate. It’s open to natural light with cool air currents constantly streaming in and out through the brick walls. The homeowners Mr. Tung Do and Mrs. Lien Dinh are newlyweds who wanted a small house with straightforward design for pleasant living. They have found the home of their dreams.

Brick doesn’t retain heat, but insulates against it, and its porosity helps retain early morning moisture which evaporates to cool at midday.
Work corner next to the food preparation section is screened off for privacy.

The owner had seen Tropical Space’s “Termitary House,” which won, among others, a 2016 Brick Award, and admired its form and design so much that – even with their limited budget – they engaged the Company to design and build their own home.

Ms. Tran Thi Ngu Ngon and Mr. Nguyen Hai Long of Tropical Space said:

“We want to build living spaces that connect people with nature, natural spaces that are easy to understand. The beauty of nature can reach deep into a person’s spirit to improve life in ways they would not have imagined before.”

Mr. Nguyen tells us he grew up in a house of brick and never forgot his childhood vision of sunbeams flowing through open spaces between bricks to throw patterns of light and shadow on the light dust in the air, and how beautiful it was.

Little phenomena such as this connect people with their surroundings, and support the choice of brick as a building material.

The brick wall both gives privacy and provides channels for air and light to pass through.

Stair frame of rebar saves space and adds structural definition.

Most of Tropical Space’s design work makes use of brick, partly because the form has a certain beauty, but deeper than that, brick is an inherently Vietnamese material, indigenous to the area.

The designer pays attention to its true characteristics and searches out new ways of using and arranging it, creating channels for wind and light and taking advantage of its moisture-retaining quality.

Seen from outside, the home is a rectangular block that itself resembles one humongous brick. It faces north because of sun, wind, and rain directions, and without being too hot it gets good light all day long.

The ground floor living room features a wall of bricks alternating with open spaces, lighting and cooling at the same time during the day.

Outside, a little distance from the house to the east and west are walls that keep sunlight from directly hitting it, instead reflecting light through the perforated brick wall and into every inside area.

These outside walls also create channels that guide the wind in and out. Trees are planted there, too, which cool the house with their shade.

The house may look a bit severe, but in this tropical climate its architecture aligns beautifully with nature to provide an amazingly comfortable residence built on a moderate budget.

Openings above and on the sides for natural light to enter during the day.

 


Architect: Tropical Space by Ms.Tran Thi Ngu Ngon and Mr.Nguyen Hai Long


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