Half-exposed to the elements through three decorative concrete screens, Binh Thanh House in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is a modern six-story residence for three generations of the same family. The spacious home features sweeping spiral staircases, pattern blocks for shading, and a unique design that opens it up for an enhanced connection to its tropical environment.
Enclosed air-conditioned spaces alternate with open-air terraces and courtyards throughout the interior to “accommodate two different lifestyles in a tropical climate,” say Vo Trong Nghia Architects. The glazed facades of the enclosed rooms can be opened to the rest of the home.
The duality of the urban setting influenced this hybrid design, as one side of the home faces a busy city street and the other faces a zoo brimming with greenery. The home balances traditional features for tropical architecture that enhance natural daylight and ventilation with modern comforts and conveniences.
The design enables cool, dark spaces where the occupants can escape the hot climate and chaos of the city as well as relaxing indoor/outdoor environments that celebrate the natural environment. The concrete pairs beautifully with a profusion of plants on every level.
“The plot has a bilateral character, one is facing to a noisy and dusty street in a typical developing and urbanizing area in the city and one is very close to a canal and Saigon Zoo with plenty of greenery. Against a backdrop of this duality of its setting, the concept of the house is to accommodate two different lifestyles in a tropical climate; a modern and well-tempered lifestyle with mechanical equipments such as air-conditioners, and a natural and traditional lifestyle, utilizing natural lighting and ventilation with water and greenery.”
“The house is composed of two different spaces positioned alternately. Spaces for modern lifestyle are allocated in three floating volumes wrapped by concrete pattern blocks. And the spaces between these three volumes are widely open to the exterior and allocated for the natural lifestyle where the residents enjoy wind, sunlight, green and water.”
“Three volumes are shifted back and forth to bring natural light into the in-between spaces, as well as to create small gardens on each floor. The bottoms of the volumes become the ceilings for the in-between spaces. These surfaces are designed with various curved shapes, providing each in-between space with different lighting effects.”