- Team:Dat Thanh Cung, Linh The Luong, Anh Viet Nguyen, Yen Hai Nguyen
- Text By:Patrick MacPherson
- City:Ho Chi Minh City
Text description provided by the architects. The Concerto House is located not far from the center of Saigon, in a quiet suburb where the roads become rough and less busy. The tropical climate is accentuated as the din of the city diminishes behind, replaced by another familiar hum, that of family life. Winding through a cluster of small roads of large traditional houses, the alluring form of the house emerges alone amongst the rest. Upon walking up to the gate of this unique structure, it is clear that there may be no other similar in Saigon or even all of Vietnam. Its striking angles and monochromatic finish speak to the onlooker of grandeur and abstract minimalism.
A concept of harmony has been made manifest here through the inter-relationship of man, nature, and design. As we initially enter the garden, which circles the main façade of the property, the house appears to desire a connection with the water element due firstly to its direct touch with the outdoor swimming pool, which stretches the wingspan of its entirety. Thereafter the visitor can view the canal closely outside of its rear fence, and the Saigon River beyond. The durable concrete finish was chosen to adapt to the tropical climate of Saigon with temperatures often reaching high thirties and vast levels of rain.
The two main structures extend volumetrically beyond the front of the first level in order to provide adequate protection for the pool and patio areas. Perhaps some kind of eccentric parties had inspired the design of this pool, as the sliding doors of both the living room and kitchen open directly onto it, meaning that one step outside would meet with a wet landing. Both the private bar and music/cinema room at the basement level possess windows viewing into the side of the pool, just like an aquarium, so that we can see swimmers akin to dolphins or mermaids in a tank.
Two-thirds of the swimming pool are under cover of the 2nd level of the two main buildings, which are conjoined in the center by a central staircase. The basement boasts view to a central courtyard with an impressive tree planted in the center, bringing the garden into the building itself. This is where we really can feel a symbiosis between ourselves, nature, and architecture. The house was designed with close consideration to the owner’s love for music; even the overall form of the structure loosely mimics that of an acoustically-designed modern concert hall. The open-planned first level allows for music to hum throughout the space, whether the dweller is playing piano or relaxing and listening.
Perhaps the most impressive stance of the whole structure is from the roof level, where one can see Saigon in all directions. One of the most dramatic views here is to gaze vertically down at the basement tree below. Not vertigo-friendly! From this height, it almost appears small in relation to its actuality. The Concerto House could mark a turning point in the contemporary residential architecture of Vietnam. Being the first of its kind in the country, it remains to be seen whether we see such similar styles to emerge in the coming years.