Life in This Verdant Home in Vietnam Is a Walk in the Park

Trees and vines create greenhouse-like interiors for Stepping Park House in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City’s shortage of green spaces has led to a host of environmental challenges such as air pollution, overheating, and urban flooding. To combat these effects, local firm VTN Architecture specializes in designing houses that incorporate trees and other greenery.

In a new residential development in the city, VTN founder and principal Vo Trong Nghia designed Stepping Park House: abutting a green park to the north, the residence’s lush interiors and facade that’s festooned with foliage give it a greenhouse vibe.

Stepping Park House has a park as a northern neighbor—a rarity in densely populated Ho Chi Minh City.

The permeable top floor allows greenery in to the home to spill out toward the neighborhood.

The 5,081-square-foot dwelling features a large void at the center that cuts diagonally through all three floors. "We intentionally designed the house as a continuous stepping park from the first to third floor in order to bring the greenery into the living spaces," says Vo.

Vo chose a simple material palette to highlight the green plants.

Private spaces, such as the bedrooms, are contained within the solid volumes. In the open, sun-exposed areas within the void, Vo planted trees to help improve air quality and add color to the interiors.

The family lounge area lies under a wooden, louvered ceiling that provides shade while still allowing ample sunlight to stream into the home.

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The chimney-like void that slants through the home provides natural ventilation, so its owners can reduce their air-conditioning usage despite Ho Chi Minh City’s hot, humid climate throughout the year. 

The living and dining area on the ground floor open up to a terrace.

A floating staircase connects the different levels.

"Walking through the space, one will feel the wind moving from the living room to the top floor of the house," says Vo. "The green facade eases the intense sunshine of the tropical climate. The model becomes a precedent for housing in tropical climates."

"The diagonal void is designed as a stepping park to give the living areas the dynamics of a natural space," says Vo.

On the ground floor is a single-car garage, a kitchen, a guest bathroom, and an open-plan living and dining space that opens to the park. 

White ceramic tiles line the walls that surround the void. One of the challenges was safely installing the medium- to large-sized potted trees under the floor while still ensuring proper water drainage when watering them.

On the first floor are two ensuite bedrooms. Along the perimeter of the void on this level is a corridor with two trees, which creates an experience akin to walking in a park. 

One of the bedrooms on the first floor has two study nooks.

A freestanding tub, placed near a window, enjoys a green view as well as privacy.

The master bedroom is located on the top floor, along with a light-filled, solarium-like area with various plants and trees. This area is designated as a family gathering space. 

Light filters in from all sides and falls through the home's "canopy" of trees.

Ivy plants wrap along the open grills on the top floor, and spill over from the windows of the first floor to create a vibrant green facade. The home is part of a larger project by VTN Architects called "House for Trees."

"The void incorporates both circulation elements and natural elements like plants and trees, providing the private rooms with additional natural light. It gives a feeling of continuity of the park, to all three floors of the building, creating an environment similar to an indoor forest," says Vo. 

Stepping Park House ground floor plan

Stepping Park House first floor plan

Stepping Park House second floor plan

Stepping Park House elevation

Related Reading: A Concrete Home in Vietnam Is Topped With Trees

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: VTN Architects (Vo Trong Nghia Architects) / @vtnarchitects

Builder: Wind and Water House JSC  


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