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'Gentle House' Taps Traditional Vietnamese Architecture for Modern Inspiration

Blending the natural environment and modern construction, in 2012, Ngoc Luong Le Architects created the gentle house, a home on Hanoi’s outskirts that combines modern and traditional design elements to facilitate a harmonious relationship with the natural environment.

From the architect: Hanoi capital is an ancient city with thousand year’s history formed and developed from traditional villages. With rapid and complicated urbanization in the area, the original landscape of those villages has seriously deformed and distorted. The project located in a village in Hanoi’s suburb.

Inspired by Vietnamese traditional house which is often small in terms of sizes and dimensions but multifunctional and highly flexible, the gentle house has only two stories in height. All the existing trees on site are maintained. The geometry of the building is deeply studied to harmonize with the ecological system and all living species. The ground floor is for family’s living including a central room, three bedrooms, a family space and a kitchen. The central mainly used for worshiping whereas all daily activities happen on the outside front yard. The upper floor is architectural studio opens 360-degree views to the outside with a study room in central.

The house is built by custom terra-cotta brick, with plain concrete slab and column finishes which are shaped by bamboo formwork. All wooden doors and windows are not painted. The bamboo curtains and ceiling finishes are made by traditional method. The steel structure of the roof is inspired by the structure of banana leaf in the garden that is large overhang with no column supported.

The facade of the gentle house consists of 36 sets of wooden doors inspired by “thuong song ha ban” traditional door. This adjustable door with two sliable wooden louvers can totally open or close based on the need of usage and the change of the climate. When all doors are opened, the inside space can become veranda. The curtain wall on upper floor inspired by traditional bamboo blind. All bamboo curtain can be flexibly opened, light therefore penetrates deeply into the building. The curtain wall and cooling system on the roof create a comfortable atmosphere for occupiers.  Air-conditioning is total free in the building.

Like other traditional architecture around the world, Vietnamese architecture also uses the method of golden scale. However the origin unit is based on the little finger node of house’s owner. It creates uniqueness in terms of scale and proportion for each house.

The door and curtain wall system can be controlled in the respond to the sun, wind, light and view. We work and feel the level of solar radiant through the penetration of the natural light. We respond to the summer heat by operating the water spray system, using grey water to cool down the roof.

The gentle house is designed in an attempt for occupiers to learn from and live passively with nature.  Living in and learning from nature help us a lot in our practices for the future.

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