Light and Shadow Help Shape This Modern Brick House in Vietnam

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Drawing from traditional architecture, Long An House in Southern Vietnam allows natural elements like light, air, and water to influence each space.

Ho Chi Minh City–based practice Tropical Space has designed a contemporary, red brick home in the province of Long An in Southern Vietnam. Taking its cues from the archetypal stilt homes of the region, the residence weaves together traditional elements to create a dramatic, two-level dwelling that frames enigmatic perspectives and encourages an intriguing interplay of light and shadow. 

Designed by Tropical Space, Long An House uses strong, modern, architectural language to update the concept of the traditional Vietnamese house. From the street level, the house looks like an ordinary, pitched-roof building.

Designed by Tropical Space, Long An House uses strong, modern, architectural language to update the concept of the traditional Vietnamese house. From the street level, the house looks like an ordinary, pitched-roof building.

Clay brick flooring in the front yard helps drain rainwater and reduce heat.

Clay brick flooring in the front yard helps drain rainwater and reduce heat.

The architects adapted the vernacular wide, sloping roof form into what looks like a pyramidal structure with the top section removed. 

Plenty of interior and exterior apertures bring in light and cool breezes.

Plenty of interior and exterior apertures bring in light and cool breezes.

To maximize ventilation, they divided the roof structures into two parts, creating a central courtyard that's dominated by a large rectangular pool.

The open-plan living and dining room.

The open-plan living and dining room.

A large expanse of blue sky is seen from the courtyard.

A large expanse of blue sky is seen from the courtyard.

This central courtyard, along with sections of perforated brick wall, brings sunlight and fresh air indoors, and gives the interiors an open, resort-like atmosphere. 

A buffer space between the living area and the front yard creates a safe play area for the kids.

A buffer space between the living area and the front yard creates a safe play area for the kids.

At the entrance is a front yard with a clay brick floor that can drain rainwater and reduce heat.

The courtyard at the center of the house opens up to the environment.

The courtyard at the center of the house opens up to the environment.

The architects created a buffer space between the functional areas inside and outside the house so that the children can play safely "outdoors" while staying within the confines of the house.

The simple interior furnishings leave plenty of space for movement.

The simple interior furnishings leave plenty of space for movement.

The mezzanine bedroom looks down to a buffer space between the front yard and the living areas.

The mezzanine bedroom looks down to a buffer space between the front yard and the living areas.

The ground level is divided into three compartments: a living area with a library to the west, the central courtyard dominated by the pool and flanked by a kitchen, a terrace in the midsection, and a bedroom to the east. 

A bedroom on the upper level.

A bedroom on the upper level.

A corridor on the upper level connects the two roof structures.

A corridor on the upper level connects the two roof structures.

On the upper mezzanine level are two bedrooms, a leisure and reading area, and a wraparound corridor that connects to two staircases that wind through both ends of the residence.

Staircases are placed at either end of the residence.

Staircases are placed at either end of the residence.

"The Vietnamese traditional house is stretched from front to back, creating continuous, functional spaces," says Tropical Space's cofounder Nguyen Hai Long. Variations in light and darkness act as natural boundaries between each space; wind directions also help carve out the layout of the site-sensitive home.

The house employs "open architecture" and passive cooling techniques.

The house employs "open architecture" and passive cooling techniques.

A pool in the middle of the house conveys balance in accordance with yin and yang principles.

A pool in the middle of the house conveys balance in accordance with yin and yang principles.

Light and Shadow Help Shape This Modern Brick House in Vietnam - Photo 15 of 15 -


Project Credits:

Architecture, structural engineering and interior design: Tropical Space

Builder: Nguyen Van Linh