The circumstance for construction has many disadvantages: the former building is located on a street connecting two avenues and had no setback; 2 out of 3 sides were blocked by adjacent houses which had the average height of 3 stories; client’s request was to allocate private rooms for a family of 5 in a condition of a limited area being 3mx12 m.
With high level of usage, the house had ten major rooms (including five bedrooms) and a few supplemental rooms which were allocated along the movement axis. The building already had five stories and was over 15 meters in height, which damaged the overall composition of the neighborhood and could hardly get natural light to the lower parts. These were the two main issues that needed to be resolved immediately when preparing the design plan.
First, our proposal is to divide the building vertically and push the upper volume backwards. This setback would change the height of the facade, make the upper volume at the back could not be seen from the 4.5-meter-wide street below. In this way, the building had a good correlation to the surrounding houses.
The setback also helped increase the size of the void area, which would be bathed in the natural light on the East side.
Next, the two void areas are arranged to be located in the middle and at the end of the building. The rear void area is basically for ventilation purpose, using to shape the angular land. The main void located in the middle of the building only occupies a small area out of the 36 square meters of the floor. With the surrounding rooms – on the entire 3 floors – the vertical space layout solution will not procure the light intensity for the space beneath. Therefore, the SHIFT idea in respect of function space towards the East creates a space of “oblique”, maximizing the sunshine for the dining area and kitchen in the morning – the most active time during the day.
This method was also used for the void behind to intensify ventilation and natural light. Simultaneously, it made the upper and lower volumes homogeneous.
Staircase was altered flexibly based on heights and position of floors. The body of the stairs and the surface of the steps were made of materials that partly allowed light and laid shadow on the surroundings.
The construction site was next to Cho Lon, a place that has captured the cultural flavor of Chinese people in Saigon. In an attempt to create a new architecture which is not unfamiliar with the area, we get the inspiration for detail combinations and options on colors, materials, and decorations from the place itself.
1. Facade – Mixture of decorative and usual paint
2. Flooring – Mixture of ceramics and terracotta tiles
3. Stairs – 10mm-thick steel plate stair, with designed CNC cutting patterns
4. Doorings – Natural wood jamb, glass door, steel protector plate