A marketing director in Vietnam wanted a peaceful retreat from the stress of work and Ho Chi Minh City. The client reached out to three architects who now work with three different studios — Nguyen Huu Duy of AmDesign Architects, Bui The Long of CTA|Creative Architects and Nguyen Duy of Time Architects — to collaborate on how to create the perfect retreat. Am House is a modern twist on traditional Vietnamese architectural styles and building techniques. It is all set in the middle of a koi pond on an acre of peaceful property surrounded by trees.
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The Am House project was built in Can Giuoc, Long An province, Vietnam, about a 45-minute drive from Ho Chi Minh City. The architects used a variety of techniques to create a peaceful setting, while also making the home modern and sustainable. Am House combines several solutions for ventilation to keep the humidity down. There is a peaceful gray color palette and natural light in every room. Additionally, there’s broad accordion doors that open directly onto the pond. The breezes from the pond all combine to create an airy, but solid home for reflection and relaxation.
Additionally, the roof is thatched, sitting on top of a wooden roof structure covered in metal sheeting. This is a nod to traditional Vietnamese roofing styles, but it also serves as extra insulation against the heat from the sun. The middle of the house also has extra ventilation via gaps around a large pane window. It creates a unique style to the home with regards to how the walls and windows interact. Also, how light plays into the interior while also serving an important function for natural cooling.
The pond sits right up against the walls of the house, with paver stepping stones leading to and outdoor deck suspended among the koi fish. Because the pond is so close to the home, it creates an eco-friendly passive cooling system for the home to reduce the need for air conditioning.
Inside, the wood-paneled ceiling is painted the same color as the concrete walls and floors. Concrete without tiles keep costs and materials use down, while also creating a cool surface for inhabitants to walk across.
The Am House home is composed of five separate block shapes arranged randomly under the thatched roof. This splitting of the interior space creates new viewpoints from inside and outside the home of the beautiful property.
The overall effect is one of a peaceful retreat center, a hushed and relaxed space to spend the evening or weekend. We love the passive elements that surrounds the home with its natural surroundings and climate. And imagine, the Am House is nothing short of a sigh of relief at the end of a busy week in the city.
Photography by Hiroyuki Oki