Three Trees Grow Through a Tranquil Home for a Pho-Making Family in Vietnam

Three Trees Grow Through a Tranquil Home for a Pho-Making Family in Vietnam

By Lucy Wang
A pair of young restauranteurs commission a live/work home that celebrates slow living and a strong connection to nature.

The playful, nature-focused aesthetics of Gerira Architects are brought to life at the Da House, a contemporary sanctuary for a family of four where living trees grow through concrete floors.

The clients, a young couple who run the Phở Dạ restaurant chain in Thủ Dầu Một, tapped the Ho Chi Minh City–based architects to design their house after they fell in love with the firm’s work on the Ma House, a tree-filled residence in Hue, Vietnam.

"We love geometry—we believe it can help us to establish an order between ourselves and nature," explain Vietnam-based Gerira Architects.

"They wanted a house that included a small workspace for their restaurant business," explain the architects. Accordingly, the firm worked closely with the clients to create a prep area where pho—a Vietnamese soup composed of rice noodles, long-simmered bone broth, meat, and vegetables—can be made every morning and brought to the restaurant in the city.

A large lawn serves as a buffer between the main house and the rear workspace where pho is prepared for the family restaurant every morning.

The view from the workspace toward the main house. The family also uses the space to test pho recipes for the restaurant.

"They also wanted a place where their children will grow up in an environment attached to nature," says the firm. To create this connection, the clients selected an undeveloped plot in the rural outskirts of the city.

The long and linear site is divided into three main spaces: the entrance area, the main house, and the pho workspace in the rear. These areas are separated by two landscaped spaces planted with a variety of local fruit trees including plum, cherry, starfruit, and longan fruit.

Reclaimed timber was used to built the shaded parking structure in the entrance area.

The trees used in the project were salvaged and transported from a nearby orchard, which was being redeveloped.

The principal bedroom faces views of the front garden.

Three red poinciana trees—valued for shade and summer flowers—grow through both floors to provide shade on the rooftop terrace.

The bedroom for the two children includes a netted area, through which a red poinciana tree grows.

The rooftop terrace includes a small glazed altar built in honor of the client’s late mother. The tree canopy will fill out over time to create more shade and give the effect of a "miniature park on the roof," say the architects.

A view inside the rooftop altar.

While these tall trees draw the eye upwards, a wide pool of water next to the open-plan living space on the ground floor brings the eye outwards to the spacious rear lawn while simultaneously drawing cool air into the home. On sunny days, light reflects off the water and onto the ceiling, adding dynamic interest to the indoor living area.

The pool is just under a foot deep and stretches nearly the full width of the building.

Longan and cherry trees were provide shade for a small sitting area in the backyard.

Large glass doors fold open to create a seamless indoor/outdoor connection.

The countertops and cabinetry in the kitchen were constructed on-site from terrazzo and reclaimed wood.

The private spaces, including the bedrooms and family den, are located on the upper floor to allow for an open-plan ground floor that completely opens up to the backyard landscape.

Next to the entrance is a flex room framed by two ash timber partition walls that can be used to host guests.

Instead of concrete, the columns at the center of the home were built with local stone for a more tactile feel.

A water-basin skylight illuminates the core of the house—from the roof to the dining area at the heart of the ground-floor living space.

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Note the suspended swing—a favorite feature of the children.

Contemporary and minimalist, the Da House features a restrained palette of locally sourced materials set against a backdrop of concrete walls. Reclaimed wood was used for interior surfaces and furnishings, which were built on-site by local craftsmen.

Ash timber lines the walls of the second floor to lend a sense of warmth and visually separate the private areas from the communal spaces on the ground floor.

"Windows on the walls, floors, and ceilings help to connect each room with the whole house," add the architects.

"We were inspired by the way our clients live: plain and heartfelt," explain the architects. "Our main inspiration for the Da House is how the young couple lives slowly in a fast, modern society."

Da House axonometric drawing

Da House first- and second-level floor plans

Da House second-level and roof floor plans

Related Reading:

A Towering Tree Grows at the Heart of This Super Skinny Hanoi Home

A Concrete Home in Vietnam Is Topped With Trees

Project Credits:  

Architect of Record: Gerira Architects

Builder/General Contractor: Local workers / Glass Curtain

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