Located in the center of Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam, the house was designed for two families; a couple in their sixties and their son’s couple with a child.
The plot has a bilateral character. It is in a typical developing and urbanizing area in the city, facing to a noisy and dusty street. But it is also very close to the river and the Saigon Zoo with a 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; one is a natural and traditional lifestyle, utilizing natural lighting and ventilation with water and greenery, and the other is a modern and well-tempered lifestyle with mechanical equipments such as air-conditioners. 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. Between volumes are two in-between spaces covered by glasses and widely open to the exterior, where the residents enjoy their natural life with 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 light effect.
Bedrooms and other small rooms are contained in the floating semi-closed volumes to enhance security and privacy. On the other hand, the open in-between spaces are designed to be independent living spaces for two families.
Pattern blocks, which used to be a quite popular device in Vietnam to get matural ventilation, are made of pre-cast concrete with 60cm width and 40cm height. It helps a lot not only to prevent the harsh sun-light and heavy rain but also to enhance the privacy and safety.
While this house looks different from the stereotypical townhouses in Ho Chi Minh City, all the architectural solutions are derived from the local lifestyle and wisdom. The house, in which modern life and natural life are compatible with each other, offers an interpretation of the ecological lifestyle in the modern tropical city.