Lead ArchitectsNguyen Van Thu, Nguyen Minh Duc
Text description provided by the architects. Ninh Binh is a small, peaceful city, located 100km to the south of Hanoi – the capital of Vietnam. Most of the new urban houses here are designed and built in the old-fashioned French mansion style, which was carelessly copied from colonial-style villas in Vietnam in the past. Redundant of pretentious and lavish decoration from the outside, but lacking green and open spaces, those buildings take no account of quality space for human life inside.
Located among those buildings, Ninh Binh House stands out as a simple, monolithic concrete box surrounded by nature. It is a simple building, using reinforced concrete structure, which is very popular in Vietnam, but designed to create a new, different living space and closer to nature.
The house consists of two parts, blended harmoniously into each other: the building box and the garden. The spacious open garden is in front of the house, behind the somewhat closed, private wall. A fish pond, tall trees and a stairway leading to a vegetable garden on top of the garage not only make the landscape of the garden come alive but also helps in filtering western sunlight and air into the building.
As one enters the building through the gardern and the pond, a large space opens up. All of the common spaces are located in this three-storey “atrium” at the center of the building. In the first floor there are living room, dining room and the kitchen. Reading space and common area are at the second floor. And then, the third floor consists of a fitness area and worship space. All of these are connected by floating staircase, placed in different directions in the atrium.
Openings in both façade and rooftop are introduced in a seemingly random fashion, creating an ever-changing light atmosphere for the space. Sitting in the living room, one can fully perceive the changing moments of nature and the daily activities of the house. A bond between men and nature has been formed.
Two other blocks of the house include bedrooms and other functional rooms. Windows with greenery balconies are carefully placed in those rooms to provide sufficient light, air and interesting views.
From an outdoor patio in the third floor, a spiral staircase leads to the rooftop garden with view to the cityscape and provides vegetables for the family.
The house style is minimalist. The exterior walls are not painted. Interior finishing material includes unfinished concrete ceilings and wooden furniture. All of these contribute to help the dwellers fully enjoy the flow of nature surrounding the house.