This Compact Terrace House in Vietnam Maximises Cross Ventilation and Privacy for the Occupants

The B House designed by I House Architecture is a stellar example of how to bring the outdoors in. Located along the Noisy, dusty and hot outskirts of Saigon, Vietnam, the home, in its design stage, faced the challenge keeping these elements that characterise the site, out, while letting the good stuff in and this required a different approach.

Described as “open but introverted”, the approach was to to have a “double-skin” round the perimeter of the house with the outer ‘skin’ serving as a barrier and buffer zone of concrete perforated blocks as well as green vegetation surrounding the building core to keep the undesirable elements out while the inner skin would permit the desired elements in to a large open space. The outer skin would also provide some degree of security and privacy for the occupants. The inner skin carries large windows and sliding doors that create a seamless flow to the vegetation within the outer buffer zone.

This approach made it possible for the users to interact with the trees and vegetation surrounding the house, while effectively keeping out all things unwanted. Also, the approach offers plentiful natural lighting and ventilation with little or no need for airconditioning, resultantly reducing energy consumption. Unique local materials were also used to make the house eco-friendly and preserve the regional identity and aesthetic.

One feature that is however, more prominent than the “double skin” walls is the central court/garden. Its a beautiful site to behold. You welcomed in through the entry foyer, past the small home office into a bright airy space that is the heart of this home. Once there you walk in between a row of bamboo plants and a stone garden where a moderately sized tree sits pretty with natural sunshine coming in from the mobile glass roof / skylight above. The garden also doubles as a playground with a simple rope swing hanging from a simple, but contemporary, steel and wood staircase. Adjacent to this indoor oasis is the kitchen and dining area which also opens up to the garden to create one big seamless space to cook, eat, play and relax.

The stair case takes you  to steel and wood bridge connecting the activity areas on the first floor. On one end you find a cozy T.V. Room /living area and bathroom, while the other end leads to 2 cute bedrooms, likely to be the users of the bathroom located in the Living area across. The second floor, leads you to a spacious master suite, an altar room as well as a laundry.

the private office space
the heart of the home
swing with me
a seamless flow from outside to inside
the dining area
looking outside,..from inside
T.V./Living area on the first floor. Open those large windows and VOILA!! nature comes in.
a bold bathroom, privacy may not entirely be an issue, as its on the first floor
the first floor bridge
yet another seamless flow from the bridge to the T.V. area with loads of natural light
the second floor with a view of the glass roof that brings in all that natural daylight
The Master Suite, soon to be furnished.
The striking approach elevation
The resultant ‘lightwell’ thanks to the glass roof.

The house is designed not just as a structure with functional domestic spaces, but as an intimate home that connects space, light and air with users for which it was designed.


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