Designed by Vietnam-based H&P Architects, the house is located in a suburban commune of Hanoi, which has undergone rapid urbanisation. The objective was to simulate the natural environment around the dwelling. The proposed structure of the house resembles that of a cave, hence the name “Brick Cave” house.
The overall structure is made up of and enclosed by two layers of brick wall meeting one another at an intersection, with alternate ‘green’ arrangements of plants and vegetables. Bricks have long been a familiar local material and widely used in rural areas of Vietnam with a simple manual construction method.
The two built-in layers of wall function as a filter to eliminate the adverse aspects of the external environment (sunshine from the west, dust, noise) and bring nature (light, rain, wind) inside. Above, the outer wall is tilted inward in different diagonals to create better viewing angles for the general landscape of the area.This, at the same time, helps users get an orientation of the time and weather through shadow and air in various corners inside the house.
Brick Cave encompasses a chain of spaces interconnecting one another with random apertures gradually shifting from openness/publicity to closeness/privacy and vice versa. The combination of “close” and “open” creates diverse relations with the surroundings and thus helps blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor, houses and streets.
Brick Cave reminds 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, and 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.
Photo: Nguyen Tien Thanh