Binh House: a House for Trees and Human Beings

VTN Architects

Architects: VTN architects (Vo Trong Nghia Architects)
Location: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Date: 2016
Size: 321.6m2
Photography: Hiroyuki Oki, Quang Dam 

Due to rapid urbanization, cities in Vietnam have diverged far from their origins in low-density tropical green space. Newly developed urban areas are losing their connection with nature. Binh house is one project in the “House for Trees” series: a prototypical housing design, providing green space within a high-density neighborhood.

The inhabitants are a family of three generations. Therefore, the challenge is to create spaces which allow its residents to interact and communicate despite their differences.

Gardens are located on top of the vertically stacking spaces bounded by sliding glass doors. This strategy not only improves the microclimate by using natural ventilation and ensuring there is daylight in every room, the alternately stacking openings also increase visibility and interaction between the family members.

Section perspective

Living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and the study room are continuously open. From one room, people’s sightlines can reach beyond to the other rooms via the gardens.

Service areas such as the kitchen, bathrooms, stairs and corridors are located in the west to limit heat radiation exposure towards frequently occupied areas. The vertical variation of spaces creates a lopsided pressure difference. Thus, when the surrounding houses are built, natural ventilation is maintained. Thanks to these passive strategies, the house always stays cool in the tropical climate. The air conditioning system is rarely used.

The roof gardens host large trees for shading, therefore reducing indoor temperatures. Vegetables can also be planted to provide for the residents’ daily needs. This vertical farming solution is suitable for high-density housing whilst also contributing to the Vietnamese way of life.

Using sustainable materials such as natural stone, wood, and exposed concrete, combined with the microclimate, this house greatly reduces operational and maintenance costs. To date, residents have never used the furnished AC. The architecture is intended not only to meet the functional and aesthetic concerns, but also as a means to connect people to one another and people to nature.