Blog : Roof Garden

NDT-LTC HOUSE: Oozing the Charm of Raw Concrete and Lush Vertical Garden Façade

NDT-LTC HOUSE: Oozing the Charm of Raw Concrete and Lush Vertical Garden Façade

/ Bac Ninh, Vietnam /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Hoang Le /

Small space? No problem! Here’s a tall and slender concrete home built and furnished in a modern style. Plus, it transforms into a verdant oasis that’s beautiful and warm in a class of its own. Albeit small in size, the house boasts the relaxed interior ambience bedecked with houseplants thriving in containers scattered throughout. Nearby, the walls painted a cool-toned cream are lined with troughs where leafy exotics grow, creating an atmosphere for calm.

concrete home vietnam
The tall and slender concrete home rises amid shade trees in lush full bloom that provide indoor thermal comfort all year round.

Located in Bac Ninh, a city just an hour’s drive to the northeast of Hanoi, it’s a small family residence ingeniously devised to deal with space constraints and limitations. To make the most of the situation, the four-story concrete home occupies the full extent of an 80-square-meter plot. The elongated rectangle measures 4 meters wide and a whopping 20 meters long.

A street map shows the house location in relation to others in the community. / Courtesy of Kien Truc NDT

What makes the home stand out from the rest is its front façade adorned with shade trees and lush vines thriving luxuriantly, keeping the interior cool and comfortable. Walk in the door and you come to a living room with minimalist flair and a dining room in dark brown lying further inside.

One thing for sure, nature permeates through the entire home. Overall, the effect is impressive thanks to space design solutions created by a team of architects at the design studio Kien Truc NDT based right here in Bac Ninh.

Floor plans of the first and second levels / Courtesy of Kien Truc NDT
Floor plan of the third level (top), and a drawing of the roof plan (bottom) showing a garden (9) flanked by the stairway wall (7) and the skylight system with a rooftop deck (10-11) at the rear. / Courtesy of Kien Truc NDT
A side elevation view in cross section shows the rooms and functional spaces disposed around the interior courtyard with a stairway designed to improve ventilation and lighting. / Courtesy of Kien Truc NDT

The house’s external envelope boasts the simplicity of clean lines and geometric shapes with muted and earthy colors typical of modern style homes. Directly overhead, concrete beams spanning an opening at the top have an obvious rawness feel to them, creating a seamless blend with nearby shade trees in the front yard.

The principal face of the house itself is bedecked with climbing vines that provide added privacy plus freedom from noise and disturbance from the outside.

concrete home vietnam
Interior walls are covered in cement plaster painted a cool-toned cream that’s easy on the eye. They stand in contrast to the exteriors made of raw concrete and brick masonry, resulting in charm, good looks that blend with surrounding landscapes.
Illuminated by an overhead skylight, the stair chamber at the midpoint of the house plan separates the dining room in dark brown from the living room at the front.

According to the design team, by aligning the building with the sun’s path and prevailing wind direction, the house sits facing in the north direction that gets moderate amounts of sun, resulting in indoor thermal comfort even during summer months. This makes it possible to set up outdoor furniture anywhere under shade trees in the front yard.

The living room at the front of the house provides access to the dining room that lies furthest in.
concrete home vietnam
A set of stairs and surrounding areas lie illuminated by skylight systems built into the rooftop.
Skylight systems built into the rooftop provide enough light to keep indoor plants alive, creating a pleasant visual appearance.

On top of that, open-concept design admits natural daylight and fresh outdoor air into the home all day. This is achieved by positioning the building slightly toward the rear of the property, resulting in a win-win situation. The house becomes quieter and more secluded, while the front yard gains bigger space for rest and relaxation under shade trees.

A stairway painted white is built flush against the wall, rising above the foyer illuminated by skylights.
A view from the top shows the interior courtyard enlivened by natural daylight streaming in through a skylight in the rooftop that opens to admit fresh outdoor air into the home.
The bedroom with a view. A large door with transom windows opens to admit natural daylight and fresh air into the room.
The bedroom has en suite facilities enclosed by clear glass for uninterrupted visual continuity.

From a design perspective, the house plan has two parts to it, separated only by a well-lighted stair chamber occupying the in-between space.

To avoid the interior feeling stuffy typically occurring in row houses, the architects installed a skylight system in the rooftop to regulate the amounts of sun and fresh outdoor air streaming inside, turning the ordinary narrow lot home into a salubrious living space.

An overhead skylight illuminates the stair chamber separating the home office from a cozy reading nook at the far end.
A quiet, secluded reading nook benefits from natural daylight streaming in through a glass-glazed skylight in the rooftop.
The reading nook opens to a small garden with a set of stairs flush against the wall (left) leading to the rooftop deck.
concrete home vietnam
An outdoor room bedecked with lush exotics under raw concrete beams affords a vista of the city landscape.

concrete home vietnam

concrete home vietnam
A drone’s eye view shows a small garden oasis overlooking the street in front of the house.

To create rough textured walls, the home is built of structural concrete with exterior walls made of exposed brickwork that allows climbing vies to thrive. This contrasts with the indoor living space that’s covered with plaster and painted a cool-toned cream, an entirely different story.

concrete home vietnam
Serene surroundings in the semi-outdoor bathroom without a ceiling provide a salubrious atmosphere well-ventilated and well-lit by natural daylight.
concrete home vietnam
An outdoor room showcases the rawness of concrete beams and a garden oasis hemmed in by exposed brick walls, a beautiful sight that blurs the boundary between inside and outside.

In the big picture, it’s a beautiful concrete home made possible by dealing with space limitations in the most practical way. For the design team, because the land is long and very narrow, the only way to go is up and hence the tall and slender home bedecked with lush vegetation as you see it.

More importantly, it’s made for a green lifestyle that’s simple, power efficient and architecturally pleasing.

Architects: Kien Truc NDT (

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The Red Roof: A Suburban Home Enlivened by Rooftop Terraced Gardens and Old Ways of Life

The Red Roof: A Suburban Home Enlivened by Rooftop Terraced Gardens and Old Ways of Life

/ Quang Ngai, Vietnam /

/ Story: Ektida N. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Courtesy of TAA Design /

Named “The Red Roof” for its external envelope and roof deck covered with tiles in a goldish-red tone, a row house-style suburban home acts as a focal point for life on a suburban housing development in Quang Ngai, the capital and namesake of a central Vietnam province.

the red roof Suburban Home vietnam
The house façade under a rooftop terraced garden shows a modest appearance that blends with nearby homes in the neighborhood.

As might be expected, urbanization and land use change has brought a new, refreshing experience to suburban architecture and its surroundings. Quang Ngai is no exception. Over the past several years, modern homes and new lifestyles have expanded into the outskirts of the city.

Inevitably some details are already impacting the old way of life in a profound way. Among others, the once familiar sight of locals growing vegetables in the fields is gradually diminishing.

the red roof Suburban Home vietnam

Content in the existing circumstances, a couple in their mid-50s are resolved not to change, preferring to live life the old-fashioned way. They were born and raised here, after all. And that’s exactly where a capable team of architects at TAA Design came in to produce desired outcome.

The result is a suburban home that’s neither too big nor too small offering 190 square meters of usable space, one with the power of storytelling about their youthful exuberance having grown up in the area.

A charcoal sketch shows the house’s location in the context of surrounding suburbia. / Courtesy of TAA Design
In cross section, a perspective drawing shows the layout of the rooftop terraced garden in relation to the center courtyard and other areas of the house plan. / Courtesy of TAA Design



Seen from a distance, the house façade rises flanked by neighboring homes that are part of a continuous row in a uniform way.

There’s a narrow street on one side typical of a village in the countryside, which gives the home a favorable position in terms of design. This allows generous openings in the side wall to admit light and fresh outdoor air into the home, resulting in a comfortable indoor environment.

A drawing shows different areas and functions in the house plan. / Courtesy of TAA Design
The drawing shows the mezzanine floor area. / Courtesy of TAA Design
A side elevation drawing shows different areas and functions of the house plan, starting from the water tank at the top to the lowest point abutting on the street in front, a natural way to keep the terraced garden well supplied using water flowing from high to low. / Courtesy of TAA Design

Step inside, and you find multipurpose double space rooms scattered at three different locations. Together they add a sense of space and interaction in the interior, providing physical ease and relaxation all the way to the second floor.

The first room holds sitting areas with a bicycle workshop situated at the front, while the second contains a place for boiling water and cooking meat over an open fire like old times. The third room is an open area located at the rear bordering on the bedroom that opens to reap the full health benefits of a backyard landscape.

the red roof Suburban Home vietnam
The interior appears light and airy thanks to rooftop skylights and generous openings in the exterior walls.

At the front, the bicycle workshop is protected by a folding gate system with wire mesh infills. There are sitting areas located further inside, connected to a kitchen in the middle of the house plan that serves as the center of everyday life in the family. For privacy, the bedroom is situated in a quiet and secluded area at the back.

Overall, the interior emphasizes simple design with floating furniture arrangement intended for easy updates. The floors are paved with tiles in light shades of gray that blend with the color and texture of unfinished concrete walls. To avoid looking too plain, window trims are done in black, which in a way adds a distinctive visual emphasis to the interior.

the red roof Suburban Home vietnam

The second floor holds more bedrooms thoughtfully devised to connect with the outdoors. It performs a dual role, providing skylights that illuminate the living rooms directly below and, at the same time, giving access to rooftop terraces where herb and vegetable gardens are grown.

Terracing is a long-established farming practice that turns sloped ground into farmlands by building raised bands across a surface to contain water for agriculture. In this particular case, the same idea and knowledge of soil and water resource management is applied to the rooftop instead of the usual mountainside.

the red roof Suburban Home vietnam

the red roof Suburban Home vietnam

Despite its simple appearance, the suburban home with a rooftop terraced garden is designed and built by a team of experts, each specialized in a particular branch of science using meticulous calculation to produce the kind of load-bearing structure and foundation that’s right for the purpose. Plus, attention to detail is given to prevent water leaking from containers and pipes in the system.

For the look that’s pleasing to the eye, the same kind of ceramic tiles in earthy red tones of uniform shape and size are used to build both the exterior walls and the rooftop terraces.

the red roof Suburban Home vietnam
Growing herb and vegetable gardens on rooftop terraces provide practical solutions where space is limited, plus it’s a clever adaptation of traditional knowledge to modern lifestyle needs.
the red roof Suburban Home vietnam
An aerial view of the house shows an unroofed center courtyard on the first floor in relation to other areas on the second floor and a terraced garden on the rooftop.

In a nutshell, it’s a beautiful suburban home where second-floor living spaces and third-floor terraced gardens merge seamlessly into one gentle slope descending from the apex of the roof to its lowest point abutting on the street in front. It’s a show of humility and friendly attitude to blend with others in the community. In the end, it’s a blessing to have a good neighbor.

the red roof Suburban Home vietnam

Architect: TAA Design (

Principal Architects: Nguyen Van Thien, Nguyen Huu Hau

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Envelope House: Big Family Makes a Modern Space Feel Cozy

Envelope House: Big Family Makes a Modern Space Feel Cozy

/ Singapore /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: KHOO Guo Jie /

Here’s a home with a Modern space designed for a big family in Singapore. Its generous interior provides great sensory pleasure with fresh air and plenty of room where plants grow luxuriantly. Unique and neatly planned, it redefines the meaning of Tropical design, which in this instance is manifested in an intriguing combination that makes the home feel more comfortable.

Modern space

Because Singapore is an island, every square inch counts and it doesn’t come cheap.

To build a good home, one must ponder the question of what functions and useable spaces it offers, plus all the modern conveniences.

At the same time, it’s nice to bring nature inside to create powerful psychological effects. And from this point of view, this beautiful oasis with in the city is truly a gem.

Modern space

Modern space

The multigenerational household comprises three families. Naturally, it makes sense to accommodate the needs of every age group without sacrificing the common area that’s available to everyone.

Done right, it allows interactions to take place in the family. To facilitate the socialization processes, greenery space is added to the mix to let house occupants reconnect with nature wherever they may be.

The well-planned common area gives the gift of healing and the human touch that everyone craves coming home at the end of the day.

Taking everything into account, the contemporary cube-shaped house is in a league of its own. It celebrates the simplicity of open living spaces conceived and developed by the Singapore-based architectural practice ASOLIDPLAN.

Among other things, what makes it unique is the use of rectangular openings in various dimensions to make the building façade aesthetically pleasing. Done right, the openings in the walls and rooftop admit light and air and allow people to see out.

In this particular case, the building sits facing west, so every precaution is taken to protect the interior from the sun’s harsh glare keeping it nice and cool all day.

The answer lies in a complete rethink of the building shell design, hence the name “Envelope House.”

Modern space

Modern space

Modern space

Step inside, and you come to a gorgeous center courtyard with triple-height ceilings and skylights on the rooftop. It’s a clever hack to reconnect with nature by bringing the outdoors into every nook and cranny of the interior.

Houseplants perfect for miniature landscaping thrive everywhere, even under the staircase. Nearby, young trees with healthy lush foliage stand front and center next to a garden water feature with stepping stones that decorates and refreshes the room.

Looking for a quiet place to lean back and chill? There’s a nice sitting room with a garden view by the window.

Modern space

The second floor contains living quarters for elderly parents, while the third affords plenty of private residential spaces for grownup children and their families.

Here, fresh greenery is never out of style. It’s an awesomely cool Modern space, where the beauty of plants is present everywhere, whether it’s on the staircase or along the corridors.

The entire interior is so well-lit by skylights that there’s no need for electric lights anywhere in the daytime. And the house plants benefit from it, too, no doubt.

1st Floor Plan Courtesy of ASOLIDPLAN
2nd, 3rd, and Roof Floor Plan Courtesy of ASOLIDPLAN

Speaking of design, there’s a special feature that makes the house with a Modern space feel more comfortable. Its thermal envelope is made of energy-saver double-layer walls that form the first line of defense against heat and the elements.

Where possible, landscaping plants thrive in between the two layers to protect the interior from the sun’s harsh UV rays. That’s not all. There’s also a rooftop deck with green grass lawns for outdoor relaxation in the cool of the evening.

Conceptual Diagram Courtesy of ASOLIDPLAN

Modern space

In the fewest possible words, it’s a perfect example of homes well suited to a Tropical climate — a complete rethink of strategies that doesn’t rely on adding or extending a roof overhang to protect from inclement weather.

Plus, double-layer wall construction makes this piece of architecture original and unique in itself simply by bringing the outdoors inside.

By integrating a green oasis into the design of the house’s Modern space, it succeeds in dealing with limitations that come with overcrowded urban spaces.

Architect: ASOLIDPLAN (

Lead Architect: QUCK Zhong Yi

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Desa House: The Renovated Artist House in Kuala Lumpur

Desa House: The Renovated Artist House in Kuala Lumpur

/ Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia /

/ Story: Panchat Changchan / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /

The place called “Desa House” belongs to 49-year-old artist Leon Leong. Located in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, the artist house clearly stands out from the rest in a neighborhood characterized by ubiquitous townhomes.

Newly added is the sky garden that extends outward from the second-floor façade. 

The most eye-catching feature is the lush sky garden that extends outward from the second floor. The structure also doubles as a carport roof. Green foliage adorns the front façade and functions as a privacy curtain.

The striking features remind us that we have reached our destination.

The sky garden platform, which doubles as a carport roof, is accessible from the second floor.

The bedroom and the studio are lit by natural light through a sliding glass that slides open to access the greenery. The same applies to the rear portion of the house, which opens to a backyard.

In the front and back, green foliage forms privacy curtains that effectively set the interior spaces apart from the hustle and bustle of city life.

artist house
Roof beams are clearly visible after ceilings are removed to make way for the new add-on.
artist house
There is no need for electric lights as the interior is sufficiently illuminated by natural energy via the second-floor skylight and the main entrance.
artist house
Lattice skylight crafted of concrete turns the second-floor living spaces into a well-lit place. /// Natural light illuminates the central court that the artist owner uses as his workstation.

The artist house’s aesthetic is achieved by putting in an add-on and other details to the existing structure.

Like other townhomes in the neighborhood, there is a central court that the occupants use for relaxation. But architect Wen Hsia of the WHBC Architects group has a better idea.

She transforms this centerpiece into something different. What used to be a seating area now becomes a lush landscape, where tall trees cast shadows on surrounding walls and much of the first floor.

It brings in the outdoor, and the atmosphere comes alive every time leaves blow in the wind. All day the light and sound show gives the artist homeowner the inspirations that he needs.

artist house
The interior spaces double as an art gallery, where Leon displays his beautiful works of art.
artist house
The artist’s favorite spot is the bookshelves composed of concrete and wood frames.
The perfect match for timeworn kitchen countertops and minimal raw wood furniture.

Leon needs plenty of light to create works of art, and he gets it all in the home studio.

To bring in natural light, the architect has tiled roofing replaced by lattice skylight, creating beautiful special effects. Concrete lattice casts striking shadow patterns everywhere.

It is cheaper, longer lasting, and easier to maintain than that made of wood. As night falls, the studio is aglow by electric light.

Interestingly the studio light alone is enough to illuminate the entire home.

artist house
The artist’s workstation is nestled underneath the stairway and behind the bookshelves.
artist house
The living room shares space with the kitchen for added convenience.
Tall trees provide a crisp, cool canopy to the backyard. Beach pebbles, concrete slabs, and a patch of manicured grass fill up the garden floor.


Owner: Leon Leong

Architect: WHBC Architects

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