Text description provided by the architects. The house is situated in a corner hidden from the small alley in Sai Gon where people usually pass by in their first visit. This position leaves us with a feeling of silence of the site inside as well as an astonishment at its wide yard when we go through the gate.
The current condition is a small old house with some familiar architectural characteristics (the patio, screen block walls…); they are spontaneous details of a building that is built in a region with little temperature amplitude, hot climate and much rain; such details are considered to use in the new design. In front of the house is there a wide yard; from the height of the roof we can utilize the view – an airy and private area that is formed by the current greenery and the set-back from surrounded buildings. These two main factors orientate the refurbishing method: AN AIRY AREA LYING BENEATH A WIDE ROOF.
The new house is protected by a high and close gate. It blocks the view from the main road and keeps the site’s silence, concurrently gives an impressive feeling when we see the architecture behind.
This design is for a young couple having a simple lifestyle. The site’s width is 6m, which is different from that of a typical row-house in Saigon (4m), allowing the division of the space in both directions and forming a diversification of space. Privacy – an important factor of a house – first, is arranged along the site and then to the height. This aggregation arranges the house’s function into the front – back – top - bottom.
We evaluate that the old house has its self-value, and accordingly we decide to keep the structure frame and reinforce it in order to support the second floor and increase the usable floor area. This method is suitable with the original design orientation (airy and less divided space on the second floor) but requires the limitation on the loading capacity of the roof.
In a tropical urban with high temperature all year long, shades of the trees, the patio or an umbrella will inspire a feeling of comfort. It is a space of which the temperature is lower than the outer and creating a clear view. The umbrella, among others, is an image that gives us an inspiration when designing the form and structure of the roof: highlighting the nature of a tropical building, reappearing the comfortable feeling beneath, as well as being an answer to the issue of loading capacity of the roof in order to keep the clear and open view.