- Design Team:Nguyen Phuoc Quoc Thang, Le Thi Thu Huong
- Clients:Tran Phuong Lien
- Engineering:Le Van Hung
- City:Hue City
Text description provided by the architects. Lotus house, a duplex apartment was built on a 12.6m (west-facing) x 20m (south-facing), in Hue city, Vietnam, bears a very different story. There are 3 family members living in this house: a 90-year-old father with cerebral atrophy for more than 10 years no longer has the cognitive ability, a nearly-90-year-old mother with poor health condition and their over-60 -year-old daughter - Miss Lien, whom they depend on. She is the main wage-earner working as a Japanese teacher. It is worth mentioning here that Miss Lien also has difficulties in taking care of herself because of her disability and having to travel in a wheelchair since childhood.
For people with disabilities in general and the disabled using wheelchairs in particular, the two-way interaction including the attitude of society to disabled people, and vice versa, is extremely important to their psychological, quality of life, or the opportunity to contribute and mingle with the community. In modern society, although the interaction of the community to the disabled is more active, it is not a common case and the desired results are still out of reach. Many problems remaining in this two-way interaction can lead to a negative mentality of disabled people, make them withdraw into themselves, as well as self-isolate from society. Despite living in muddy ponds, Lotus, a typical flower in Vietnam, still blooms with its own beauty and aroma.
Additionally, the Vietnamese considered this kind of flower as the symbol of bravery, pride, and determination to overcome difficulties. In Vietnamese, this flower is called by another name - Lien - as the name of the daughter and it also represents one of her characteristics: so courageous that she can rise above hardship to live a beautiful life and contribute greatly to the community. From the idea of Lotus or Lien, most of the disabled always want to actively and independently control all the activities of their own lives. They deserve the social equality, the right to survive and enjoy lives like others. Based on these positive meanings for disability community in general and Miss Lien in particular, the design team took this inspiration to design this house.
Due to the special geographic location of Hue, the temperature is extremely high in summer and long-lasting freezing rain in winter. Located in this climate, the house with its two facades is surrounded by a buffer zone stretching along both fronts of the house. This zone is a combination of green hedges (helping filter air, reduce noise and heat absorption from outside) and trees (tall trees, medium-tall trees and low shrubs). All of these combine to form a multi-layered garden with different heights and depths. Thanks to this garden - the transition between the internal and external zones, the problems of heat, wind, and noise from outside have been minimized.
A system of iron balcony grill surrounding the second floor with lotus patterns aims to not only strengthen the security but also become the shield that restricts the sunlight into the house. The sunlight when going through the green trees on the balcony and this grill can create interesting shade effects on the walls and floors. These vivid pictures change continuously during the day according to angles of the light. Also, there are some voids with small gardens in the house. Apart from aesthetic functions, these voids are combined with the front door system to form important ventilation and air convection for this apartment. Voids and proactive opening and closing doors guarantee that sunlight is distributed reasonably enough for the house to receive enough light during the day without lighting system. Therefore, the house can take advantage of natural, fresh energy instead of depending heavily on artificial energy.
No stairs are available but a ramp system for the disabled is installed from the front gate to the first floor, and from there to the second one. Many parts of this ramp are running through the garden before getting inside and upstairs. Besides ensuring Miss Lien's movement in a wheelchair around the house, the ramp system also demonstrates her sense of initiative (or of the disabled in general) through taking care of the garden and other activities in every corner of the house on her own. Classes are daily opened, multi-layered trees in the gardens are growing every day. All activities of the house are running smoothly with the companion of a woman in a wheelchair. This house is a message for the disabled community through the above-mentioned positive meaning as the name of the house: Lotus.