A formerly empty courtyard in Hi Chi Minh City, Vietnam is now filled with five oversized rectangular pots planted with trees that stretch up high above the rooftops of the surrounding buildings. Those ribbed concrete ‘pots’ are actually architectural volumes making up ‘House for Trees,’ a two-bedroom residence for a family of three.
The separate spaces each have their own function. The smallest is an altar room, while the other four have communal areas on the ground floor and private rooms on top. The kitchen is in one volume, the library in a second, a dining room in the third; the fourth has bathrooms on both levels.
This creates an open plan that requires residents to venture outside to get from one section of the home to another, encouraging an open-air lifestyle that follows the local tradition. Metal bridges connect the top levels of some of the structures, which have few windows on the exterior to preserve privacy, opening instead onto a small, sheltered outdoor space.
Vo Trong Nghia Architects chose banyan trees, which have shallow aerial roots, for the roofs of each ‘pot.’ The concrete structures had to be reinforced to support the weight of nearly 5 feet of soil, the storm water that it collects and the trees themselves.