Tropical Shade: Thong House in Vietnam by NISHIZAWAARCHITECTS

Situated in a new residential area of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, this multi-storied family residence is a reinterpretation of the local architectural vernacular, both in terms of composition and use of materials. Designed by the studio of Japanese, Vietnam-based architect Shunri Nishizawa, Thong House has the form of a stack of cubes built around a main staircase, the latter acting as the building’s spine and running continuously from the ground level all the way up to the roof garden. Various areas have been laid out around this main axis that offer an alternative to the traditional Vietnamese family lifestyle which comes about mainly through the use of large open spaces without walls, allowing the family to interact and connect in many different ways.

“The perceived quality of life in buildings should come from the geometry and how that geometry connects to human beings.”

An airy, 5-meter-high living room occupies the ground floor, which features a leaf pattern decorating the floor and floor-to-ceiling rotating windows that open out onto the lush, tropical backyard garden. While a mezzanine overlooking the living room hosts a study and a guest room, above that, a large dining and kitchen area covers the entire first floor, offering ample space for gatherings and socialising. The bedrooms on the second floor above are the house’s most private area, their exteriors covered with carved wooden panels bearing the same leaf motif as the living room floor. Minimally furnished and with generous openings to the neighbourhood and an adjacent park, the house has been rendered mostly in concrete —a material that perfectly matches the shady interior and adds to the project’s contemporary character.

Photo © Hiroyuki Oki.

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