Sky in the windows
The project has an area of 4x10m and is nestled inside an alley of District 1 with the surrounding buildings being narrow and tall tube houses built close together. In the “golden inch” location in the heart of District 1, the area of the house is quite modest. It can be seen that this is also a typical urban form of Saigon.
It used to be a residential house but was renovated to convert the facility to an accommodation service business. There are five floors in which the ground floor is used as an internal office. The remaining floors above, with each floor being separate, have been designed to be used as comfortable studio apartments.
The building has a small and narrow area, but in return, it has two sides, the front and the back, that offer a great view of the outside. Notice that the front of the house is uncomfortably close to the opposite house, giving it a lack of privacy. However, the back offers a view of the open sky of both the Hoa Lu Stadium and the city center.
Based on both these positive and negative features, the design introduces a new layout plan that can use the space more effectively – moving the existing stair from the back to the front of the house. Additionally, the room needs privacy and this is accomplished by bringing the rooms to the back end of the house to offer private space and view. We also take advantage of the two facades to maximize natural light and ventilation for the house.
The building has a fresh design but it is still based on the old structure – clean and streamlined lines and cubes. The combination of glass-brick is used for the purpose of allowing light to enter the bathroom and the space transition layer of the staircase which is located behind iron partitions, helping to lighten the volume of the façade. The white paint color is chosen to reflect the light that shines directly onto the house, reducing heat radiation.
We realize that with the modest area of the house, it is important to add more greeneries on the floor plan, a necessary thing to cool down the living space, and soften the concrete structure while forming a barrier preventing too much heat and sunlight from entering inside. This vertical garden is a membrane that filters out dust and noise. Behind the greeneries is a layer of iron partition with a space that allows light and wind to enter the house. With this arrangement, the space keeps a continuous connection between the inside and the outside to create a sense of openness.
This is also how architecture behaves with its surroundings and its context to the city. Architecture helps compensate for the lack of freshness in the city. Therefore, although hidden inside the alley and is not fully seen, the architectural block can still be easily recognized by the green and friendly coloring.
When entering the room, the eyes are met with a charming and comfortable interior space, with the sky showing in the windows. The studio apartment presents two types of rooms with two different layouts and décor arrangements. The two extremes of light and dark colors of each room make a difference in perception. The room with bright colors brings a feeling of coolness and open space. The room with dark colors is attractive, pushing the eyes’ focus to the scenery outside the windows, balancing the brightness between the inside and the outside to create a tranquil and relaxing space.
The whole infrastructure is consistent when it comes to materials. All of the furniture is a perfect combination of iron and ash wood, coated with matte paint to reveal the original wood grain. The large columns of the old structure have been cleverly hidden with patrons oblivious to its presence in the room.
The bathroom gets natural light thanks to the glass-brick wall. The mosaic tile is intended to hide the connecting wall corners and the boundary between the wall and the floor, deceiving the eyes to make the space appear wider. The stainless steel material makes the vanity stand out on this backdrop.
In this room which is less than 25 square meter, we visualize the user scenes and progress. From there, we arrange an interesting space context, evoke emotions and increase user experience. This is especially important when designing for the hospitality industry.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam