May Café and Bakery by FeA: A study in harmonising stylistic contradictions
by Jerry ElengicalNov 01, 2022
•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by Pooja Suresh HollannavarPublished on : Mar 24, 2023
MIA Design Studio, a Vietnamese architecture firm, was successful in creating a green paradise that resides in an urban jungle but feels like it belongs in the wilderness. In the middle of a constantly densifying urban pocket, Villa Tan Dinh is a sanctuary seeped in gentle movement, designed for a woman who wanted quiet comfort in the midst of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
To create a residential architecture that feels open and airy, the studio minimises opaque walls and uses an open plan, laden with visually porous materials. These large pockets of space, within an otherwise small site, create the illusion of space, breeding a sense of comfort and calmness. Elaborating on the choice of materials, Truong Nguyen Quoc Trung, the team leader of architectural concept design at MIA Design Studio, shares, "To give the impression that the space is larger, materials are chosen so that the interior and exterior of the house are as comparable as possible. Given that it is situated in a tropical nation with strong sunlight, the fabric should have a warm, rich colour that won't irritate the human eye. Natural materials with a light brightness, like unfinished concrete and washed stone, will complement each other at the same time."
The material palette is an important aspect of the residential design. The small but impactful selection of stone, concrete, and wood, complements the greenery. Foliage is at the heart of the material palette and brings the house together, making it feel like one large garden, which was an idea outlined in MIA's first client discussion. “Native materials were utilised. It is the terrazzo across the entire house, created by local craftsmen. The house is made up of three main materials: washed stone, bare concrete, and the colour of green trees—a third material that is visible from every perspective,” relays Quoc Trung.
The spatial resolution of the house is based on comfort and experiential value. The living room hovers over a mini garden, making one feel like they are walking on bridges. The areas connecting all the primary activities are adorned with greenery, water, and natural light, adding a sense of constant movement throughout the house. While human movement is more intuitive, the movement of light and greenery is more fluid.
The fluidity of greenery is intentional. The house is wrapped in a thin steel frame so the owner can add more varied creepers over the years, deepening the oasis and further personalising the space.
What looks like a simple box from the outside is actually a complex combination of layers, light, and shadows. As the wind blows and the sun changes through the day, the atmosphere inside the house changes. The green creeper curtains move gently and the water ripples as the sun illuminates different parts of the house. Within the chaos of the city, the oasis comes alive.
Name: Villa Tan Dinh
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Area: 283.72 sqm (site area); 538.29 sqm (built-up area)
Year of completion: 2020
Architect: MIA Design Studio
Design team: Nguyen Hoang Manh, Truong Nguyen Quoc Trung, Pham Thi Phuong Nhung, Bui Thi Hong Phuong, Nguyen Thi Hao, Le Ho Ngoc Thao
General Contractor: Thanh Phat
M&E Contractor: Khai Minh
Mechanical Contractor: Coppha Builders
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