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It's all about the sun, wind, rain, and bricks in this Vietnamese residence

Amidst a suburban area in Hanoi, Vietnam, located on the corner of a residential street, H&P Architects transform a 175sqm nondescript site into an urban sanctuary.

by Zohra Khan May 24, 2019

“The structure of the house resembles that of a cave,” say the designers at H&P Architects – a Hanoi based architectural practice responsible for conceiving a project rightly called, The Brick Cave. Within the diverse residential typologies dotting the neighbourhood, Brick Cave sits in sheer harmony, poised to reflect an image of a natural habitat in an artificial surrounding.

The house is enclosed by two layers of brick walls that meet one another at an intersection. A constellation of striking perforations punctures the brick facade, allowing for a dialogue between the inside and the outside. Greens are integrated in alternate arrangements across the elevation and a terrace garden engages people of the house in organic farming.

The design of the double skin consciously safeguards the interiors from adverse contextual and weather parameters. It functions as a filter to eliminate adverse sunrays from the west, and dust and noise from entering the living areas, while still allowing light, rain and wind to permeate through.

“Brick Cave encompasses a chain of spaces interconnected with one another with random apertures gradually shifting from openness/publicity to closeness/privacy and vice versa,” comments the design team.

  • Brick Cave viewed from across the street Image Credit: Nguyen Tien Thanh
  • Entrance Image Credit: Nguyen Tien Thanh
  • Patterned perforations puncture the brick façade Image Credit: Nguyen Tien Thanh
  • Quaint recesses between the interiors and peripheral wall Image Credit: Nguyen Tien Thanh

At a height of 2.55m, the outer wall begins to tilt inwards, its striking angular surface lending the building an intimate cave like appearance. At the entrance, a shaded space forms between the enclosed walls, which continues as narrow passages along the site’s adjacent edges. Like quaint recesses, these areas witness the mesmerizing alterations of day and night through a dynamic play of light and shadow orchestrating within its interstices.

Balconies projecting out from the bedrooms on the first floor and into the passage create a multiplicity of interactions. H&P Architects developed the idea inspired from ways a traditional Vietnamese household is largely laid, which involves building with local materials, exposure to organic farming and living close to nature.

  • Living area Image Credit: Nguyen Tien Thanh
  • Kitchen, Dining Image Credit: Nguyen Tien Thanh
  • Porous interconnected volumes reflect a sense of open-ness as well as privacy Image Credit: Nguyen Tien Thanh
  • Vegetable garden on the terrace Image Credit: Nguyen Tien Thanh

“Brick Cave,” the designers remark, “will remind its users of emotional pieces of both strangeness and familiarity by offering them images of corners of a yard, expanses of the sky, strips of a garden, parts of an alley…which is tentative to uses of space at different times in a typical tropical monsoon climate of the North of Vietnam.”

A matrix of closed and open spaces help blur the boundaries between in and out, houses and street, human and nature – making the architecture porous and distinctly alive.

  • Brick Cave by H&P Architects Image Credit: Nguyen Tien Thanh
  • Concept Evolution Image Credit: Courtesy of H&P Architects
  • Form Evolution Image Credit: Courtesy of H&P Architects
  • Sun Study Image Credit: Courtesy of H&P Architects

Project Details

Official Name of the Project: Brick Cave
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Site Area: 175sqm
Total Floor Area: 190 sqm
Year of Completion: Dec. 2017
Architect: H&P Architects
Design team: Doan Thanh Ha, Tran Ngoc Phuong, Nguyen Hai Hue, Trinh Thi Thanh Huyen, Ho Manh Cuong, Nguyen Duc Anh, Tran Van Duong
Manufacturers: Viglacera Brick

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About Author

Zohra Khan

Zohra Khan

A formal education in architecture combined with an avid interest in architecture journalism and design criticism led Khan to professionally venture into writing and researching. She has worked in design communication for more than two years, generating content for mondo*arc india journal. When not writing, she kicks back by dabbling on social media for STIR.

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