Blog : Vietnam

Pavi Homestay: A House Renovated as Homestay Boasts Originality and Timeless Charm

Pavi Homestay: A House Renovated as Homestay Boasts Originality and Timeless Charm

/ Ha Giang, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kangsadan K. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Trieu Chien /

Amid the ever-changing trends setting the stage for the future, there are people who feel a yearning to live a simpler, more traditional lifestyle. Their emotional attachment to family roots and cultural origins is set down in permanent forms. Here, the story of a Hmong family’s journey is manifested in a house that has since been renovated as a homestay in Ha Giang, a province in Vietnam’s Northeast renowned for its unspoiled countryside.

An aerial view of the old cluster house renovated as a homestay in relation to traditional-style homes in the neighborhood.

Beautifully restored to its former glory, Pavi Homestay offers 380 square meters of usable space ensconced in a region famous for its richness in long-standing traditions. In this remote corner of Vietnam bordering on China, misty blue mountains can be seen from miles around. It’s easy to get why every aspect of Hmong culture is jealous preserved, residential architecture included.

A side elevation view of Pavi Homestay silhouetted against the mountain peaks and wooded hillsides of Meo Vac, a rural district of Ha Giang Province.

As tourism grows, demands for accommodation increase. And that’s where the architectural firm Trung Tran Studio based in Son La is brought into play. It’s tasked with renovating this old house as a homestay and, at the same time, maintaining every distinctive feature in its original state. Before you know it, the old cluster house unique to Hmong culture transforms to take on a new role as homestay destinations.

A diagram shows the ground floor of the old cluster house before renovation. / Courtesy of Trung Tran Studio
A drawing of the ground floor after renovation shows the positioning of rooms for guest accommodations in relation to a system of roofed corridors and support facilities, including a small restaurant and bar. / Courtesy of Trung Tran Studio
A diagram shows the second floor of the main house before renovation. / Courtesy of Trung Tran Studio
A drawing of the second floor of the homestay project shows details of space utilization in the main house, the side house and semi-outdoor rooms after renovation. / Courtesy of Trung Tran Studio

Pavi Homestay is located in Meo Vac, a rural district of Ha Giang Province. Beautifully handcrafted, the buildings and the land merge into the mountain valley environment where time goes by slowly. It consists of three parts; the main house, the side house, and a system of roofed corridors for walking along.

The old house nestles warmly in an area known for considerable diversity in cultures and lifestyles. Together they convey a great deal about the ethnic communities living in the region, which also includes Dong Van and the Dong Van Stone Plateau.

The newly renovated main house is a two-story building offering eight rooms for guest accommodation. Here, the details make all the difference in design. Each room boasts the quality of being individual in an interesting way. Each one of them gives a sense of being a small stand-alone home, although they are all in one place.

Unlike the main house, the side house is designed as a family lodging. It’s easy to get why age differences in consumer behavior are factored in the house plan. This is evidenced by the way a row of three rooms are separated for privacy, each one of them fully equipped with modern conveniences.

As to be expected, the bedroom for mom and dad is located downstairs, connected to the rooms for kids by a flight of stairs. The children’s rooms are decorated with curved designs giving off good vibes, plus they create a sense of space, privacy and deep relaxation.

A glimpse into the side house made for family accommodations. The parents’ bedroom is on the ground floor connected to kids’ rooms by a flight of stairs.

Step outside, and you come to a system of roofed corridors providing access to all the rooms and support facilities, including a small restaurant and bar. Overall, the outdoor ambience is peaceful with a wonderful panorama of the mountain peaks and wooded hillsides that have made Ha Giang Province a sought-after destination for travelers.

An atrium hemmed in by a system of roofed corridors offers plenty of ample space for an al fresco luncheon and dinner, or a rendezvous with nature.

Inside and outside, Pavi Homestay is different from what is usual in that its physical appearance is pleasingly old-fashioned plus the quality of being local. For strength and durability, the original heavy timber framing, posts and beams remain very much intact. They were put together by traditional methods of construction.

A room decorated with lots of wood makes the interior feel warm and welcoming.

The building exteriors have the appearance of rammed earth walls, roofed over with unglazed, brownish colored tiles like everything else in this part of Vietnam. Such is the elegance and standard practice since times past. Together they work in tandem to make Pavi Homestay attractive in its own special way, in the meantime providing a window into ethnic Hmong culture from past to present.

The rough texture of rammed earth walls boasts the beauty of vernacular homes unique to Hmong culture.
Arched doorway openings go hand in hand with open-concept floor plans, making a modest room feel spacious.

Archway forming passages between rooms create a harmonious fusion with the natural environment.
As the evening unfolds, the atrium is aglow under the lights in contrast to the dark gray of earthen roof tiles that form the upper covering of Pavi Homestay.

In a few words, Pavi Homestay is the story of rich and subtle meanings, a travel destination embraced by nature and time-honored human tradition unique to Vietnam’s Northeastern Region.

An aerial view shows a part of the verdant countryside that’s home to a Hmong community where Pavi Homestay is located.

Architect: Trung Tran Studio

Lead Architects: Tran Mạnh Trung


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TB House: A One-Story Brick Home and Green Leaves of Summer at Every Turn

TB House: A One-Story Brick Home and Green Leaves of Summer at Every Turn

/ Son La, Vietnam /

/ Story: muanpraes / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Trieu Chien /

People change locations at some point in time, and reasons to move are aplenty. Among others, the desire for better living is pretty common. The same applies here, as this young family has discovered. Their new address is a one-story brick home made attractive by the earthy reddish brown of perforated brick facades set amid lush greenery.

One-Story Brick Home Vietnam
Perforated brick facades regulate fresh air and natural daylight streaming into the home and double as outdoor privacy screens.

Named “TB House”, it’s nestled in a peaceful residential neighborhood of Son La, a city in Vietnam’s Northwest.

For the young married couple who lives here, everything about it brings back childhood memories, those carefree days of summer and a home snug by the warmth of beautiful landscapes. Bestowed with mountains, forests and rivers, Son La comes in useful as the right location for their new home.

One-Story Brick Home Vietnam

One-Story Brick Home

The husband, who knew the geographical area very well, came across this piece of land during a weekend house hunting trip. It lies on the crest of a wooded hillside with dark green forests in the background.

Small rock formations stick out of the ground where large trees stand as if nature has left a lasting imprint. Almost instantly he got to thinking about building a humble abode here. The question was how to leave everything where it’s always been.

One-Story Brick Home Vietnam
A vaulted ceiling extends upward to the ridge beam at the apex of the roof, creating a volume of overhead space in the family living room. Underneath it, perforated brick facades admit fresh air and natural light into the interior.

One-Story Brick Home Vietnam

And that was where the design team at Trung Trần Studio was brought into play. They were tasked with creating a home that would best fit the owners’ needs, at the same time conserving all the existing natural elements in the landscape – the hillside, the trees, the rock formations and, most important of all, its friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

A diagrammatic representation shows the positioning of living spaces and functional areas disposed around greenery-filled courtyards designed to create indoor thermal comfort. / Courtesy of Trung Trần Studio

The result is a one-story, split-level brick home with breathing brick facades thoughtfully devised to regulate fresh outdoor air and natural daylight streaming into the interior. And it’s achieved without cutting down existing trees on the property.

The floor plan simply has abrupt alternate left and right turns to avoid cutting down the trees, ascending a small mound to stop at a bank of stone that makes the retaining wall protecting the backyard garden.

An open-concept floor plan improves foot traffic flow between rooms, turning a modest amount of space into clean, well-lighted interiors.

One-Story Brick Home Vietnam

A curious mix of graphic tiles on the kitchen backsplash adds intrigue and interest to interior design.

On the whole, it’s a simple house plan starting with a paved platform up front that serves as a car park.  A set of concrete steps leads to the front door that opens to the entrance hall, while the dining room and kitchen lies furthest to the rear.

There’s a playroom by the small inner courtyard that ensures the little children can be seen in full view from anywhere inside the home.

One-Story Brick Home Vietnam

One-Story Brick Home Vietnam
A set of rustic log table and bench seats lines the corridor connecting the front of the house to the secluded residential area tucked away at the farthest end.

The family living room with wood wall paneling is invitingly comfortable by any standards. At the farthest end lie three bedrooms, tucked in a calm secluded area away from noise and distractions. For privacy, all the bedrooms have windows that open to charming backyard garden views.

From an architectural point of view, the breathing wall concept offers many advantages. Among others, it creates a sense of connection between indoor and outdoor living spaces.

High above, the uppermost branches of the trees provide shade keeping the home cool during summer months. They blend with retaining rock walls that add usable land for planting and relaxation. At the same time, the roofs made of fired clay tiles are covered in slow-growing lichens reminiscent of homes in times past.

A retaining rock wall creates usable space for planting, while a roof made of clear polycarbonate sheeting protects a utility/wash room at the rear from the elements.

One-Story Brick Home Vietnam
A bird’s eye view illustrates the house plan with greenery-filled courtyards in relation to neighboring homes and lush woodlands in the background.

Taken as a whole, it’s a vintage-inspired humble abode that exudes a timeless appeal as evidenced by the use of simple building supplies sourced from within the community. Needless to say, the lush landscape makes it feel cozy and warm, while architectural details enhance the easy lifestyle and advocate for sustainability.

One-Story Brick Home Vietnam


Architects: Trung Trần Studio (www.facebook.com/ArchitectsAndAssociates)


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QAH: A Gable Front Townhouse Strikes a Balance between Work and Life

QAH: A Gable Front Townhouse Strikes a Balance between Work and Life

A gable front townhouse with a high-pitched roof stands out from the rest in a peaceful neighborhood of Phan Rang-Thap Cham, a coastal city in Ninh Thuan Province about four hours’ ride from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The limited amount of space notwithstanding, the indoor environment is surprisingly comfortable thanks to a small inner courtyard designed for improved natural light and ventilation.

/ Ninh Thuan, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kangsadan K. / English version: Bob Pitawkong /

/ Photographs: Paul Phan /

Using wood adds visual interest to the indoor environment, improves acoustics and balances out the coarseness of concrete surfaces.

Named “QAH”, the three-story terraced house offering 220 square meters of living space is the brainchild of Q&A Architects, an architectural practice based in Phan Rang-Thap Cham. As to be expected in a dense urban environment, the company was tasked with creating a townhouse that would strike the right balance between work and the fast pace of city life.

townhouse
A detailed diagram shows all three levels of the house plan. As a whole, 30 percent of the total space is dedicated to open areas filled with lush greenery. / Courtesy of Q&A Architects

After examining the nature of the site and exploring public realm (a shared space in the community), the design team came up with a three-story townhouse plan with roughly 30 percent of total living and functional spaces dedicated to open areas front and back for relaxation. Plus, there’s a small interior yard under the stairs brightened up by an array of skylights built into the rooftop.

The indoor environment feels invitingly comfortable, thanks to a greenery-filled yard enclosed within the building.

That’s not all. Everywhere, smart home functions blend perfectly into convenient interior design hiding in simplicity. Take for example the terrace leading to the front door that’s covered in stone pavers and adorned with greenery thriving under tree cover. To create charm, good looks, the walls are built of wood painted an earthy dark brown that balances out the coarseness of nearby concrete surfaces.

Walk in the door, and you come into the entrance hall connected to a neat and clean dining room and kitchenette. Close at hand, the small inner courtyard lies illuminated by skylights directly above. And beyond, a quiet, secluded office nook hides in plain sight at the farthest end of the room.

Using wood adds visual interest to the indoor environment, improves acoustics and balances out the coarseness of concrete surfaces.
A bright interior courtyard under the stairs separates an office nook at the rear from the dining room and kitchenette up front.

In a nutshell, it’s thoughtfully devised to let nature permeate, yet it fits in well with the homeowner’s needs and circumstances. Among the features that create work-life balance in the home, the stairwell at the midpoint of the house plan eliminates the need for mechanical ventilation and artificial light during daytime hours.

A flight of stairs built flush with the adjoining walls separates an office nook at the back from the dining room up front.

The principal bedroom on the second floor is cozy and spacious, thanks to the vaulted ceiling that follows the pitch of the roof. The ceiling and the walls are painted a cool-toned cream, while a sofa set in dark brown and bedding in muted green accent the background colors in the room. Up front, large windows open to admit natural daylight and fresh outdoor air stream into the interior, a perfect combination of colors and textures by any standards.

The principal bedroom on the second floor feel relaxed, thanks to a sofa set in earthy brown and well-positioned large windows affording a view of the cityscape.

The stairway leading to the third floor is brightened up by skylights casting shadows and colors on rough sandy textures on the walls. Together they work in tandem turning the home into a comfortable living space despite space constraints and a narrow frontage abutting the street.

A skylight system built into the rooftop lights up the stairway and a courtyard directly below.

As one would reasonably expect, the third floor holds an ancestral shrine symbolic of Vietnamese folk religion. It’s a mezzanine with an uninterrupted view of the entire interior. Carefully thought out, the courtyard directly below can be seen in full view from here.

A system of skylights built into the rooftop brightens up the spacious, well-ventilated stairwell, a clever hack to create calm and peaceful interiors.

At the very heart of design thinking, the gable front townhouse named “QAH” is made for easy, simple living, and in the fewest possible words, a house plan that strikes the right balance between work and life in the city.

A bird’s eye view of the gable front townhouse in relation to other homes in the neighborhood.

townhouse


Architects: Q&A Architects (https://www.facebook.com/qaarchitects247/)


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Phu Yen House: A Single-Story Home Snug in the Warmth of Rural Vietnam

Phu Yen House: A Single-Story Home Snug in the Warmth of Rural Vietnam

/ Phu Yen, Viet Nam /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English version: Bob Pitawkong /

/ Photographs: Minq Bui /

Can’t wait to escape all the noise and pollution? Here’s Phu Yen House a one-story home amid lush landscapes way out in the country. It’s made comfortable by light and breezy inner courtyards with a plunge pool. Plus, ultraclean white walls give peace of mind knowing family privacy is protected.

Phu Yen House Vietnam
Immaculate white exteriors protect the single-story home from high winds, providing a safe and cozy family getaway in Vietnam’s countryside.

The house is in Phu Yen, a south-central province at the midpoint between Ho Chi Minh City and the Da Nang/Hue Region on the South China Sea. It’s the holiday getaway of a family who has lived and worked a long time in the city. Inspired by simple living, they discover the countryside has never lost its allure. And Phu Yen comes in as a handy location to reconnect with the great outdoors.

Phu Yen House Vietnam
Walk in the door, and you find a spacious courtyard under skylights, adorned with lush foliage on one side and exotics thriving in containers on the other.
The ground floor plan illustrates the feel and functionality of different areas in relation to landscapes in the front yard and at the rear. / Courtesy of Story Architecture

Named “Phu Yen House”, it’s a secluded family retreat during summer and public holidays in Vietnam. For the little children, the single-story home is a pleasant and fun place in which to grow, learn and play, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Curved symmetrical openings in the wall give access to a communal room without glass partition doors designed for good ventilation.
Phu Yen House Vietnam
Curved symmetrical openings in the walls give a sense of connectedness of all things in the house plan.
Phu Yen House Vietnam
The quiet, secluded wing holding bedrooms (left) is separated from the communal space (right) by a sheltered patio connected to the courtyard and, beyond, the front door at the farthest end.

The white house among the trees is the brainchild of Story Architecture, a design atelier based in Ho Chi Minh City. Its immaculate white walls are built high for a good reason – provide safety and protection from prying eyes. From a distance, accents of green on the front door prove an interesting complement to the perfectly neat and clean walls.

Phu Yen House Vietnam
An altar at the center of the communal space provides a means to spiritually connect with family ancestors.

Phu Yen House Vietnam

Phu Yen House Vietnam
A small sitting nook at the far end creates a relaxing atmosphere by the plunge pool.
Phu Yen House Vietnam
Everything the children need for a fun day at the pool.

Step inside. It’s a wow! The inner courtyard enclosed by the walls is spacious. There are no glass partition doors or solid structures dividing the interiors into smaller rooms.

Lush houseplants develop vigorously on one side, while exotics thrive in containers on the other. In the in-between space, a sheltered communal area with distinctive green accents lies, separating the courtyard from a nearby plunge pool made for kids.

Flanked by the patio and the plunge pool, an area behind the altar offers plenty of ample space for a dining room and kitchen.

Phu Yen House Vietnam

Phu Yen House Vietnam

For peace and quiet, the bedrooms, living room, kitchen and dining room are situated at the farthest ends. Everywhere, curved symmetrical structures span openings in the walls. They form readily distinguishable areas characterized by a plain and uncluttered appearance, making the home safe for children.

A sheltered patio provides access to the quiet, private wing containing bedrooms.

Phu Yen House Vietnam
Completely shut out from the outside world, the bedroom with an oversized bed opens to a small personal courtyard.
A young tree provides shade to the small courtyard covered in stone pavers.

More than anything else, it’s a home built on a budget, which is evidenced by the use of simple building supplies sourced directly from within the community. Plus, the house plan is uncomplicated, easy to keep clean and tidy. It’s without doubt a dream home safe and snug in the warmth of Vietnam’s countryside.

Phu Yen House Vietnam


Architects: Story Architecture (www.facebook.com/storyarchitecture.vn)

Lead Architects: Nguyễn Kava

Designer Team: Huỳnh Cẩm Tú, Vũ Thu Trang, Trịnh Quang Huy, Trần Nguyễn and Thúy Trinh


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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 (http://kientrucndt.com)


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Binh Duong House: A Home and Restaurant Combo Nestling Warmly in Nature

Binh Duong House: A Home and Restaurant Combo Nestling Warmly in Nature

/ Binh Duong, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kangsadan K. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Courtesy of k59 atelier /

Here’s a home of a dual nature that takes pride of place amidst natural surroundings. It consists of a house and a restaurant thoughtfully devised to merge into the verdant countryside in Binh Duong, a province north of Ho Chi Minh City.

To ensure privacy, the house is tucked back in a quiet nook at the rear away from the family’s small restaurant business.

The single family residence with plenty of room for a business appears light and airy to say the least. It’s warmly nestled among the trees in Thuan An, a small town famous for its abundant fruit orchards that are the pride and joy of southern Vietnam. Named Binh Duong House, it seems like the perfect escape amidst breathtaking woodlands and lush scenery of the rural area.

Time changes everything. As the farming town grows and gradually becomes more urban in character, a yearning hope to reconnect with nature grows ever strong. With it come new roads and new buildings, enough to make some people change their minds. This landowner originally had planned on building a row house, a popular architectural style ubiquitous across Vietnam. But after much debate, he decided otherwise.

The result is an interesting combination of a residence and a place of business environed by nature at the woodland’s edge. It’s the brainchild of a capable team of designers at “k59 atelier”, a homegrown architectural firm based in Ho Chi Minh City.

They were tasked with creating a design tailored to the specific needs of the property owner – a home and business space integration that fits right in nature. And they gave him exactly that.

The new home-and-restaurant combo is cool and comfortable, canopied by overhanging trees and understories of lush greenery thriving luxuriently. “Binh Duong House” offers 234 square meters of usable space. It consists of a single-detached home at the rear and a restaurant building abutting the street upfront.

A drawing illustrates the ground floor plan divided into three parts with rooms disposed around or next to the center courtyard. / Courtesy of k59 atelier
A drawing of the second floor shows the ancestor altar room at the center of the house plan in relation to trees providing shade and improving air quality. / Courtesy of k59 atelier
Roof Floor Plan / Courtesy of k59 atelier

What remains unchanged after construction has been completed is the delightful atmosphere of a home under tree cover. Together the upper branching of trees and shrubbery beneath the canopy go to work reducing the amount of sun and wind hitting the buildings.

On the ground, well connected garden pathways and drainage systems are carefully planned to carry off rainwater, thereby preventing floods and keeping the biological community safe in the long term.

Walk in the door and you find the residential wing divided into three parts. The ground floor holds a spacious living room, a dining room in the middle and a bedroom in a quiet area overlooking the yard.

Like many traditional Vietnamese homes, the second floor contains a shrine that’s a way to honor and give reverence to family ancestors. It lies flanked by bedrooms on either side that constitutes the third part of the house plan.

The ground floor holds a bright and breezy sitting room with a view of the surrounding natural and built environments.

The house exterior is full of life and energy, thanks to a center courtyard illuminated by natural daylight shining through tree leaves, creating subtle shadows on a pleasant secluded garden. Both buildings are roofed over with clay tiles fired the old-fashioned way by industries indigenous to this hideaway region of Vietnam.

On the ground, the outdoor patio floor is covered with interlocking pavers showcasing the shape, texture and color unique to local heritage. There is attention to detail in the way the doors and windows are installed.

All of them face in the right directions so as to reap the full health benefits from the natural surroundings. Plus, furniture has a rawness feel to it that blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors.

Furniture has a rawness feel to it that blends seamlessly with the fired clay tile floor in matte artisan brown.
Downstairs, the bedroom with a garden view opens to take in fresh outdoor air, while the center courtyard brings a positive impact on people’s lives.

What makes the home stand out from the rest is the high pitched roof that offers more effective drainage during heavy rains. It’s covered in overlapping rows of tiles sloped down to meet the front facade at the far end. At the risk of stating the obvious, the monsoon season can bring heavy rains that can do damage to homes in a Tropical climate.

The house’s side elevation shows a high pitched roof designed for increased privacy and more effective drainage during heavy rains.

Because cultural heritage matters, the upstairs ancestral room takes the most prominent position under the apex of the roof so as to give it a sense of space, plenty of natural daylight and aesthetic appeal.

From the ancestor altar room, the roof slants down to meet the front façade at the far end. The shrine takes the most prominent position in the house, a spot under the apex of the roof, also known as the ridge beam.

Advocating for sustainability, the design team at k59 atelier put in a waste water treatment plant on the property as a way to protect a small river skirting the north and east sides of the land. The plant has an underground tank that collects and processes waste water before releasing it to the environment. There’s also another underground tank used for storing rain water.

The growth of urban sprawl has become one of the inevitabilities of life in this part of Vietnam. Binh Duong House serves as an example of human ingenuity in residential design. At the end of the day, it’s about encouraging everyone to do his fair share in restoring the natural environment to health.

A cross section drawing in perspective shows the trees and branches, their root systems and the lush canopy protecting the home built into nature. / Courtesy of k59 atelier
An isometric diagram illustrates the coming together of different component parts to form a cohesive whole. / Courtesy of k59 atelier

It’s a product of collaboration between the architects who designed it and the family that lives in it, a home warmly cocooned among the trees and green foliage. Plus, it offers plenty of space for a family business. Awesome!


Architect: k59 atelier


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Greenery Curtain House: Simple, Pleasant and Snugly Cocooned in Nature’s Embrace

Greenery Curtain House: Simple, Pleasant and Snugly Cocooned in Nature’s Embrace

/ Quang Ninh, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kangsadan K. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Duc Nguyen /

Speaking of nature-focused design, here’s a house in Vietnam showcasing a delightful combination between exposed brick walls in light orange and the curtains of lush greenery. The façade that looks new and unusual in an interesting way gives the home its character.

The home feels cozy and inviting thanks to the perfect color palette of brickwork in the wall adorned with the curtains of lush greenery.

Wrapped inside the curtains of lush hanging vines, the house in Mao Khe, a town in Quang Ninh Province, speaks volumes about the homeowners’ desire for peace and quiet on their property.

A team of designers from the architectural firm HGAA came in handy to translate cherished aspirations into a home offering an ample 400 square meters of usable space. More than anything else, it’s salubrious just like nature intended, a peaceful place in which to relax and unwind away from the hectic work routine they left behind.

Named “Greenery Curtain House”, it’s strikingly different from everything else in the area in terms of architectural style. The town in which this house located is home to mining industries that over time have left lasting impacts on the environment.

So work is in progress to restore the town’s greenery spaces to good health. Like a good neighbor, this home is doing its part by integrating the elements such as trees and shrubbery, colors, and textures reminiscent of nature.

The house has two levels of living and functional spaces thoughtfully devised to fit into a U-shaped floor plan enclosed by the curtains of hanging vines. The vertical gardens go to work keeping the home in shade, while water ponds in the yard help reduce heat keeping the surrounding area cool.

Rooms are disposed around the center courtyard with a water pond enclosed by healthy trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
Curtains of lush greenery and water garden plants provide a little peace and quiet for the home embraced by nature.
The orange of exposed brick walls paired with the green of hanging vines energizes the home and creates a lively atmosphere.
Downstairs floor plan / Courtesy of HGAA
Upstairs floor plan / Courtesy of HGAA

On the outside, the building showcases a contrast between the curtains of fresh greenery and naked brick walls in light orange and coarse texture. There is a rawness feel to it that, in a way, communicates a desire to reconnect with nature.

The first floor holds neat and orderly living spaces on the right side of the house plan, while the left side is intentionally left wide open, providing easy access to other parts of the home. At the center lies an open-concept kitchen adjacent to the dining room.

A kitchen island is a practical addition to the home’s open-concept floor plan.

It’s conveniently connected to the living room with the view of a peaceful front yard landscape. Like nature intended, healthy trees and shrubbery thriving luxuriantly in the yard absorb pollutants and deflect noise, making the home quieter and more peaceful.

Climb a flight of stairs, and you find a quiet, more secluded living area divided into two parts with a reading nook occupying the in-between space. The first part on the left side holds an altar for the traditional veneration of family ancestry.

Windows installed in the rooftop and exterior walls illuminate a reading nook on the second floor.

The second part on the right opens to a sky garden used for growing herbs and vegetables for family use. Nearby, the upper branching and spreading part of a tree shoots through the large opening in the floorboard, turning the area into a well-lighted, cool and calming retreat.

Outdoor room on the second floor, besides connecting with nature, provides plenty of ample space for vegetable gardening at home.

All things considered, it’s an intriguing combination between nature and a lifestyle chosen by the homeowners. As the name suggests, the house is built of simple materials available in the locality.

What makes it stand out from the rest is the curtains of greenery, thriving shade trees, lush yards and water ponds that go to work alongside one another to keep the house cool and comfortable all year round. Plus, there is beauty in simplicity that enables the home to blend well with urban landscapes and primary industries in the area.


Architect: HGAA


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Maison T: A Tiny Home Perfectly in Tune with a Vibrant City Ambience

Maison T: A Tiny Home Perfectly in Tune with a Vibrant City Ambience

/ Hanoi, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kanamon Najaroen / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Tuan Nghia Nguyen /

Like a journey through time, a narrow side street in Hanoi is bustled with people talking and going about their business. The sounds of passing vehicles can be heard rising to a deafening crescendo, among others. Together they are the qualities distinctive to the character of this city neighborhood. Amid excited activity and movement stands a tiny house named Maison T. It’s a humble abode that’s home to a young couple who just returned to their birthplace from an extended stay overseas. It’s small, yet it provides a sense of belonging and a place to relax and unwind after a long day at work.

Maison T small house Vietnam

What a pleasant surprise! The little house on a crowded street is enjoyable, quiet and free from interruption. It’s thoughtfully devised to reach out and connect with others in the community.

Small space? Not a problem! The friendly and happy homeowners show care and concern for their next door neighbors. Even their pet dog is well-liked and gets along just fine with others, thanks in part to a small well-lighted front yard made for warm greetings and bringing joy to the family.

Maison T small house Vietnam
The front yard with a tree and verdant climbing vines adds a relaxing atmosphere to the nice little house in the big city

Needless to say the overall effect is impressive. The design team at Nghia-Architect has succeeded in transforming a house that felt stuffy sandwiched between taller buildings into a light and airy living space.

As the architects put it, being located in a prime urban neighborhood, every square inch counts and every square inch amounts to an ounze of gold, to put it mildly. Hence, it’s a good idea to make the most of it and, with innovative design, turn it into a refreshing haven.

In response to a difficult situation, they put in a front yard with climbing vines on both sides the wall. Upfront, a perforate brick fence wall separates the home from the street below. Notwithstanding the limited space, the area of ground surrounded by tall buildings becomes their pride and joy, thanks to the newly added lush greenery.

The brick fence wall in dark vintage brown looks like a house facade from a distance. It serves multiple purposes. Holes in the perforate shell allow air to pass through, provide a warm and inviting atmosphere and, at the same time, protect the privacy of the family living within.

A charcoal drawing on white gives a vivid representation of the tiny home in relation to other houses in the community. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect

 

A drawing illustrates a linear impression of depth and cross flow ventilation allowing fresh outdoor air to enter through the front of the home and out at the back. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
A space utilization diagram of the ground floor shows the living room with a double height ceiling upfront. Further in lies a kitchen and bathroom at the rear that opens to a side yard. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
A space utilization diagram of the mezzanine holding a bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
In cross section, a side-elevation drawing illustrates space utilization on both levels of the house plan. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect

Walk in the door, and you find two levels of usable space; the ground floor with a double height ceiling, and a mezzanine holding the bedroom. Each level measures just 40 square meters.

Maison T small house Vietnam

As the design team intended, the tiny house perfectly balances space and maneuverability. Thanks to open-concept design, all the rooms and service areas are easily accessed.

There are no solid dividers separating the interior into different rooms, a clever hack to get rid of stale air in stuffy rooms. Plus, the double height ceiling makes the interior feel easy on the eyes, and it gives a sense of space.

A stepladder rising up to a small mezzanine on the front facade adds some fun to home decor.

Downstairs, the living room under a high ceiling is separated from the kitchen by an L-shaped concrete countertop at waist height. The kitchen space serves a dual purpose; as food preparation area, and as washing and laundry room.

The counter itself is slanted slightly inward to create extra space along the wall for a side yard illuminated by rooftop skylights. This in turn makes the home feel bright without the help of light shining in through the front facade, a nice strategy to banish stale air in stuffy rooms.

Maison T small house Vietnam
An L-shaped countertop with a distinct curvature in the middle separates the living room from the kitchen.
The ground-floor bathroom has a view of the side yard illuminated by a skylight.

Maison T small house Vietnam

To the left side, a set of stairs made of steel provides access to the mezzanine holding the bedroom under a high pitched gable roof. There are no solid dividers separating the interior into different rooms. Instead, to control the amount of light shining in, the bedroom is hung with a privacy curtain suspended from a curved railing system.

The architects chose brickwork and naked concrete finishes for the walls for an appearance that’s easy to care for and pleasant to look at.

Maison T small house Vietnam
There are no solid walls separating the interior into different rooms. Rather, the bedroom on the mezzanine is hung with a curtain to control the amount of light shining in through a rooftop skylight.
No home is too small to incorporate a natural feature in the design. Here, a cavity in the concrete slab roof provides space for a skylight illuminating the interior.
Maison T small house Vietnam
The second-floor bathroom has a treetop view of the side yard that acts as a flow acceleration channel designed to improve ventilation.
A cavity between soft and hard walls provides space for a side yard illuminated by rooftop skylights.

In a tourist destination full of people doing things and moving about like Hanoi, using every available space effectively is the key to living a happy and fulfilling life. Amid all the excitement, noises and traffic passing by, a tiny house named Maison T rises above the challenges.

For the young couple who lives here, it is warm, cozy and comfortable. Although small, it is a calm and peaceful place to rest the eye, relax and escape from the fast pace of city life. Plus, it is good to add greenery to the neighborhood.

Maison T small house Vietnam


Architect: Nghia-Architect


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Tan Phu House: From a Stuffy, Narrow Shophouse to a Multi-Floor Home with Rooftop Garden

Tan Phu House: From a Stuffy, Narrow Shophouse to a Multi-Floor Home with Rooftop Garden

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: ND24 / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Courtesy of k59 ateliers /

Row houses sharing common sidewalls are a familiar sight across Vietnam. Here’s the story of a complete home transformation. A narrow shophouse lacking fresh air and ventilation in Ho Chi Minh City is tastefully renovated as a four-story home with ample space for gardening on the rooftop. Named Tan Phu House, it’s light, airy and looking really good in cool-toned whites.

Tan Phu House
Upfront, the parking garage is bright and breezy, thanks to the upper covering that opens on one side to let sunlight shine in, thereby improving air quality through greater ventilation.

There are pros and cons of living in the big city. And Ho Chi Minh City is no stranger to air and noise pollution plus overcrowding in the downtown area. Fully aware of all that, a design team at k59 atelier, a homegrown architectural practice, succeeded in breathing new life into the once stuffy old house, turning it into a modern living space with sunny personality and charms.

A diagrammatic representation shows the house location in a city neighborhood characterized by long and narrow row houses, a familiar sight seen everywhere across the country. / Courtesy of k59 Atelier
A diagrammatic representation shows space utilization and functionality on all four levels of the house. / Courtesy of k59 Atelier
A perspective side-elevation drawing illustrates in cross section the connectivity between living spaces, service areas and greenery on all four levels. / Courtesy of k59 Atelier

First things first, they started by observing the behavioral health of the three generations that live here – grandparents, mom and dad, and the children. Then, they looked at the state of the surroundings to see if natural features such as shade trees, air quality and sunshine can be incorporated in the new design.

It’s all about creating a health giving environment. Here, though, it’s accomplished by incorporating shade trees in front of the house in the new design. Together they provide a buffer protecting the front façade against too much sun, noise and air pollution.

As simple as that! The trees and the remodeled principal face of the building now work alongside each other sheltering the interior living spaces from the elements.

Tan Phu House

And it’s achieved without blocking the air flow and natural light streaming into the home. The architects did it by creating flow acceleration channels in the building design that act as engine driving natural air circulation into and out of the home.

The result is a refreshing change on all four levels of the home. At the same time, all the living spaces and service areas are arranged in a neat, required order.

Tan Phu House
Double-skin design. The greenery-filled front façade provides a buffer protecting the inner house wall against sun heat. Meantime, louvre windows offer protection from the elements.

Take a look inside. The ground floor holds a parking garage and entry area leading to interior living spaces, which include a sitting room where Grandma babysits little children during the daytime. It lies exposed to sunlight in the morning that proves beneficial for physical and mental health, among others.

Tan Phu House
On the ground floor, a kitchen and dining space next to the welcome area provides a refreshing change.
Tan Phu House
The ground floor holds a sitting room for relaxation at the rear of the house plan.

The second floor has a living room and study room with quiet reading nooks to kids. They are connected to children’s bedrooms located further inside.

The third floor that’s quiet and more secluded contains the principal bedroom with bathroom en suite and a laundry room at the far end.

The fourth floor has a Buddha room with the altar for the traditional veneration of family ancestry and a vegetable garden overlooking the street below.

Tan Phu House Ho Chi Minh City
A well-lit family living room lies in the forward area of the second floor.
A well-lit and airy staircase connects to the second floor holding a living room and study with quiet reading nooks for children’s schoolwork.

Tan Phu House Ho Chi Minh City

Tan Phu House Ho Chi Minh City
Double height space design turns a stuffy, narrow shophouse into a well-lighted place.

The architect explained: “In the new design, air flow acceleration channels are of the utmost importance. They are the game changer that improves the existing situation in a significant way, resulting in a relaxing atmosphere in the home.

“In the meantime, all the rooms and functions are conveniently linked while the floor plan is easy to understand and suitable for Asian culture and traditions.”

Tan Phu House Ho Chi Minh City

All told, it’s practical design that comes from paying attention to detail. Tan Phu House is completely renovated as residential community living model, one that’s tailored to suit specific family lifestyle needs.

Wood colors add feelings of peace and calm to the master bedroom on the third floor.
Tan Phu House Ho Chi Minh City
Double height space design makes the laundry area lit by skylights feel spacious and airy.
The third-floor bathroom at the rear of the house is well lit by skylights providing protection against humidity damage.
The top floor has an altar room for the traditional veneration of family ancestry in accordance with Asian culture.

In the end it boils down to, as the architect put it, “a design that provides all the desirable elements perfect for good living in this day and age, a living space that’s complete and integrated in one coherent whole from our perspectives.”

Tan Phu House Ho Chi Minh City
The rooftop sundeck on the fourth floor has ample space for vegetable gardening.

Owner: Le Ngoc Hoang, Bui Thu Thuy

Architect: k59 atelier (k59atelier.com)

Design Team: Phan Lam Nhat Nam, Tran Cam Linh

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Ngói Space: A Community Center in Vibrant Orange Graces a Suburb of Hanoi

Ngói Space: A Community Center in Vibrant Orange Graces a Suburb of Hanoi

/ Hanoi, Vietnam /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Le Minh Hoang /

A good-sized community center is making its presence felt on the outskirts of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. The building stands enclosed in authentic Vietnamese fireclay roof tiles. The external envelope in exuberant shades of orange rises above a street corner surrounded by modern structures. It begs the question. Is this some kind of experiment being undertaken to test a point that has never been dealt with? “Your guess is right.”

Ngói Space Hanoi

Named “Ngói Space,” the community center building sends a strong message that exciting new architecture can be created using indigenous building materials. In this particular project, more than 20,000 thin rectangular slabs of baked clay are used to make the building facades. They are the same ubiquitous building materials as those used for covering roofs.

Ngói Space Hanoi

Ngói Space Hanoi
The immediate empty space between the perforate shell and the building wall offers semi-outdoor room for relaxation.

Ngói Space performs a dual role as recreation center promoting community wellbeing and reception area for both normal and important occasions. It’s open to everyone in the community who needs a place and time to unwind, not to mention empowering the people and strengthening the neighborhood.

Among others, it has coffee shops, multiple purpose rooms, conference venues and exhibition halls plus a rooftop garden for relaxation.

The interior space is light and airy, a peaceful place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

The unique outer surface of the building got its inspiration from trees thriving vigorously in the wild, while the interiors conjure up mental images of the atmosphere inside a prehistoric cave dwelling. The design thinking process started with interior planning. Once that’s done, the team at H&P Architects then proceeded to work on the building’s exteriors.

A pencil sketch illustrates steps in the thinking process culminating in the final design of the community center building named “Ngoi Space” / Courtesy of H&P Architects
A diagrammatic representation shows the coming together of support structures and building facades crafted of fireclay roof tiles. / Courtesy of H&P Architects
The floor plans in cross section / Courtesy of H&P Architects

To arouse people’s curiosity and interest, the facades are covered in roof tiles fired the old-fashioned way, an indigenous building material that the Vietnamese were most familiar with. In a way, it’s a design that takes people back in time by reintroducing traditional materials and techniques and putting them to good use in modern day applications.

A trio of images shows how the thin rectangular slabs of baked clay are put together creating the face of the building that houses the community center. / Courtesy of H&P Architects)

There is one incentive for doing so. As the country continues to advance, more and more old homes are torn down to make room for new ones. So now is the time to start thinking about the need to reuse and recycle as a means of preserving natural resources.

For this reason, the facades are built of fireclay roof tiles recycled from much older homes. In this way, nothing goes to waste plus it’s a creative and cost-effective way to build in this day and age.

Ngói Space Hanoi
Split level design makes for a pleasant and airy interior.

Ngói Space Hanoi

Here, the old roof tiles are put together diagonally to create one triangle after the other that in turn forms the perforate outer shell of the building. Together they go to work protecting the walls and windows behind them from severe weather.

Besides providing shade and more insulation for the interiors, the immediate cavity in between the two layers provides room for exhibitions and nooks along the walls to sit sipping coffee. That’s not all. There’s also a rooftop garden offering a wonderful panorama of the cityscape. Or just chill out and enjoy the view through wall openings anywhere in the building.

Ngói Space Hanoi

Ngói Space Hanoi
A custom loft net system offers visual continuity between upper and lower floors.
Ngói Space Hanoi
A multi-use space lies between the fireclay tile façade and the building wall fitted with panes of clear glass.
A meeting room set in theater style is illuminated by natural daylight.

Ngói Space Hanoi
Fireclay roof tiles fixed in position with abrupt alternate left and right turns add balance and harmony to interior design.

From the design perspective, “Ngói Space” takes pride of place in this part of suburban Hanoi, having occupied a prominent position among modern buildings in the area. What makes it stand out is the perforate shell made of old roof tiles in shades of orange, an intriguing combination that gives it character and the power of storytelling about the city’s past and present.

Ngói Space Hanoi
The rooftop garden affords a beautiful panorama of the city landscape.
Ngói Space Hanoi
A façade of fireclay tiles is beautifully handcrafted with wide openings for a better view of the great outdoors.
Ngói Space Hanoi
A simple opening in the building facade allows access to the building. The exterior wall covered in orange roof tiles fired the old-fashioned way provides a window into the community’s long-standing traditions.

All told, it’s a beautiful piece of modern architecture made possible by putting together little things to create a bigger thing. That being said, it takes courage and the ability to see things from a different perspective. Only then can one appreciate the value hidden inside little things and successfully turn them into a product that pleases the senses and the mind, much like an artist adeptly turning “objets trouves” into art.

Ngói Space Hanoi
The orange of the fireclay tile façade stands out from mostly white buildings in a suburban neighborhood of Hanoi.

Architect: H&P Architects (hpa.vn/en)


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