The project is a small apartment with seven rooms in Binh Thanh District, a central area in Ho Chi Minh City. The site has a unique slightly curved shape that comes from merging several plots of different sizes, with a total length of around 40 meters. It is located in a high-density area surrounded by two- or three-storey buildings. On initial inspection of the site, we felt that there was much potential due to: “remaining urban open space / voids created haphazardly in the crowded city”. Therefore, on careful consideration, we concluded that this open urban space could be utilized to design an attractive and well-designed open building harnessing the natural daylight and wind.
The volume of the building is formed by an optimization of the licensed construction boundary according to building regulations. Based on the study of the cross-sectional perspective, a large open courtyard is placed in the middle of the building, and a U-shaped solid mass is created by two towers with the connection on the ground floor.
Furthermore, we created a void for connecting the garden space on the ground floor to the open-area courtyard. In addition, we prepared a “Lanai” (semi-outdoor space) for each room, exposed to the courtyard. These outside spaces (open-area courtyard, garden space, and Lanai) are organically connected with each other, ensuring fresh air circulation and deep daylight penetration for the entire building. A lot of outside space enhances occupants’ living style, with a deep connection to the outdoors found in tropical areas.
In the outside space, we planted a lot of greenery making use of the natural abundance of natural daylight and natural ventilation, creating an enjoyable outdoor space.
According to the client’s request, we tried to utilize the local materials in Vietnam for low-cost construction. The terracotta screen block is very popular in Vietnam. We combined different patterns of blocks, creating a characteristic façade and outside space in the courtyard, which makes use of natural ventilation and passive cooling by shading, while simultaneously enhancing occupants’ security.