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.