Text description provided by the architects. Context
SMA254, located on an area of just 10m2 in Cau Giay District (Hanoi), is the remnants of Hanoi’s rapid development. Its narrow facade overlooks a 1- meter-long alley and other sides are neighbors’ houses. Its small surface area, with a size of 2.5x4 meters, causes many difficulties. The status quo is deteriorated and needs renovating with low costs and fast construction that does not affect the surrounding neighbors.
It poses a question for the architects of SMA Architecture Studio of how to ensure a small yet flexible house that uses both natural light and ventilation for maximum energy savings. The original idea was to use stacked-up cubic modules with different proportions to create spatial interactions from every direction and to make it possible those living in the house to see each other from any floor.
Materials such as iron, sheet metal and steel are painted white. Not only does this make the house look airy and spacious but this also has a reflective effect, helping to spread the light throughout the floors and mezzanines. The mezzanines are made of rubber wood combined with white sheet metal and grey concrete floor, creating a contrast between modern and rustic.
All spaces in the house are flexibly linked together from floor to roof. The house consists of 2 main floors. In-between is mezzanines with different heights so as to create ventilation and to ensure the compliance to building regulations. The spaces are shared to avoid stuffiness. There are floor ventilation and glass floors between the spaces to help raise interactions and create airiness for the house. Thanks to the natural light and ventilation, lamps and air-conditioners are not needed, which saves a lot of energy. The facade area is windows which can open up to 70%. These windows are combined with balconies, turning the indoor space into an open one to create maximum interactions with the outside, especially in nice weather. Since we are young architects, we use iron ladders not only to save space but also increase physical activities.
The house is currently a workspace of an architecture studio, however, it can be turned into a family house when needed. The first floor consists of a reception room and a restroom; the second floor a working space, a versatile space and a kitchen. The rooftop is a relaxing space with a garden and a BBQ area.
The pots on the house’s rooftop use the automatic irrigation system made of lightweight materials with different heights and sizes. These pots help shadow the house and are a place for the architects to relax during working hours.