ODDO Architects has designed a family house called the CH House for three generations in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, which grapples with issues intrinsic to most urban cities such as density, traffic jams, lack of public spaces and greenery. However, Hanoi also continues to preserve its Vietnamese culture and old traditions. The client wanted to create a harmonious space for the family that would upkeep their traditional way of life.
This was a challenge not just due to the fact that the house had to cater to three different generations but also because the 220m² house sits on a long and narrow plot, which are locally known as tube houses. In the case of CH House the dimensions stand at 4.2-metre width by 35-metre length.
The architects sought inspiration from the old traditional houses of Hanoi, with spaces full of natural light and ventilation, thanks to inner courtyards. The design aims to bring traditional spirit to modern life, and at the same time creating spaces full of natural light and ensure natural ventilation within the house.
The functionality of the house is separated into two zones: the commercial area of two floors and the family area. The common spaces of the family area such as the living room, library, dining room, and kitchen are positioned in different levels with varying ceiling heights in order to compose open continuous space to maintain family communication with each other more easily.
This design makes the space open and provides an unexpected spacious feeling, despite the limited width of the house. The two children’s bedrooms are situated above the main common area, next to the void spaces, allowing connection with family members downstairs. The quiet area is located at the innermost of the house, which includes the grandparents’ bedroom and the parents’ master bedroom. Significant elements of the interior spaces are three void gaps separating the house volume to deliver natural light into lower-level spaces of the house.
The family ties in the traditional Vietnamese family are very strong. Usually, several generations live together under a single roof where many family events take place. In nowadays world of modern technology with smartphones and televisions, these ties are often weakened. The spatial design emphasises connections among the family members, especially in the context of today’s hurried lifestyle of an economically-booming Vietnam.
Nature is an important element providing a positive effect on people’s mental health. However, the rapid development of large cities creates a lack of green spaces for people to relax. That is why creating such green spaces inside the house is necessary. CH house is not only a home for dwellers but also a place attempting to create a linkage between humans and nature which is very often missing in Hanoi due to many environmental problems and limited green spaces.
The facade of the house is designed as a double layer with its outer layer made from perforated cement blocks and a steel frame glass inner layer. The double-layer facade combined with a green layer provides cover from the sun, the dust and allows natural ventilation throughout the entire length of the house. The facade is also designed with a large window, providing even more light to fill the house when needed and give the facade a more attractive look.
The intention was to design spatial harmony with consideration of family traditions, the local climate and contemporary lifestyle – all to fit within a narrow space.
Photos: Hoang Le photography