Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Q10 House in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Studio8 Architecture & Urban Design
February 2nd, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Studio8 Architecture & Urban Design
The house is located in a dense residential alley at the heart area of District 10, Ho Chi Minh City (in Vietnamese is “Quận 10” that’s why the house named Q10). Like many other typical row houses in Vietnam, Q10 House faced a challenge of creating something different but feasible with very limited budget, other saying is to balance between creativity and efficiency, and more importantly, works well with living style of the owners.
Q10 is a home for a family of four: retired parents live with a son and a daughter and this really are a soon-to-be a 3-generation family. The house plot size is a bit odd, the width of 5 meters is quite wide for a standard room but the length of 9 meters is too short to create internal court yard like normal concept of typical row house. Therefore, the strategy was to create about 1-meter wide void spreading throughout the house that calculated to maximize natural ventilation and lighting by allows them to go deeper into the house interior so that most of the rooms was lid up during the day and cooled down in very typical hot and humid tropical urban climate of Southern Vietnam, as the result, energy consumption for lights and air conditions will be minimized.
Located at the ground floor was a small garage enough for at least 4 motorbikes – a very common traffic means of Vietnamese – and behind was a small living room mainly for guests or can be used as a spare room for the future’s needs. A precast concrete staircase on the left side goes independently straight up to the first floor (or mezzanine) where kitchen, dining room and a family room located. 3 functions were packed in a quite small space (due to the construction certificate that the first floor or mezzanine has to be receded from the construction line) but still designed to be very cozy and comfortable. From the first floor, the staircase changed to other direction left the entire 3-floor height void above a big airy and bright space. With limited budget, the interior was designed with minimalist and keeping locally raw material as much as we could. The internal background was mainly grey color of cement, white painted brick wall, accented by small amount of black painted steel details and dark brown red laminated wood furniture.
From the second floor, the typical layout consisted of one master bedroom and other open space played as a common, multi-functional area that is now the son’s open working studio. A 12-square meter bedroom is a bit small but designed to be flexible, fully functional and more, this room privately offers a big tree-green balcony. On the third floor where staircase stopped, other steel spiral staircase lead to the top floor where worship room and laundry room located facing a big courtyard where family members can take exercise or grow their own vegetables and trees.
Along with spatial organization as well as ecological strategies, one of very special feature that creates totally differentiation of the house with surrounding neighbor was its curtain facade. This curtain was built with light cement blocks supported by steel frame and covered the whole house front elevation; it plays as double-skin facade protecting the house from direct sun light but still let the air flow into the rooms as well as maintains view to the outside. At night, the facade was cleverly lidded up by the light from the interior, standing out from other houses in the alley. This lantern facade was just enough to keep the privacy for the family but also fascinating to all neighbors.
Some said “It was an interesting amusing giant lantern, lid up the small dark alley that no other houses can”.