House for Trees *
“ Rooftop trees create the lifestyle open to nature ”
Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Program: Private house
Completion: March, 2014
Design: VTN Architects (*Niko worked as a partner)
Under rapid urbanization, cities in Vietnam have diverged far from their origins as sprawling tropical forests. An overabundance of motorbikes causes daily traffic congestion as well as serious air pollution. Floods occur frequently, not only in rural areas but also in city areas. House for Trees, five scattered boxes for a single family, aims to bring back greenery into the city, accommodating high-density dwelling and offering a tropical lifestyle that coexists with nature. Five boxes are made from concrete with bamboo texture, resembling plant pots with large tropical trees on top. Thick soil layers for the trees function as stormwater basins, contributing to reducing the risk of flood in the city when the idea is multiplied to a large number of houses in the future.
Fitting into an irregular site, five boxes are positioned to create a front courtyard, a central courtyard and small gardens in between. The boxes open to the central courtyard with large openings to enhance natural lighting and ventilation, while remain relatively closed on the other sides for privacy and security. Common spaces such as a dining room and a library are located on the ground floor. Upper floors accommodate bedrooms and bathrooms, which are connected through bridge-cum-eaves. The courtyard and gardens, shaded by trees above, are regarded as a part of the ground floor living space. The tree shades and soil layer on the roof contribute to reduce AC use in the house, and to open the lifestyle to the harmony with nature.
© Photograph by Hiroyuki Oki