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.
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The architects adapted the vernacular wide, sloping roof form into what looks like a pyramidal structure with the top section removed.
To maximize ventilation, they divided the roof structures into two parts, creating a central courtyard that's dominated by a large rectangular pool.
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.
At the entrance is a front yard with a clay brick floor that can drain rainwater and reduce heat.
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 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.
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.
"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.
Architecture, structural engineering and interior design: Tropical Space
Builder: Nguyen Van Linh