ODDO Architects designs a light-filled house with indoor gardens wrapped in porous brick facade

ODDO Architects designs a light-filled house with indoor gardens wrapped in porous brick facade

Hanoi has seen unprecedented growth as the cultural, political and economic centre of Vietnam. This economic boom has led to increased demand in the city, making land a scarce resource. Shophouse typology was a direct response to this condition, and larger street frontage meant paying higher prices for that piece of land. Tube shophouse is essentially a narrow piece of land with a small street frontage and shared sidewalls with the neighbours. Spread across countless narrow streets, tube shophouses of Hanoi have survived the changing trends even as glass-clad towers become ever higher in the city’s skyline.

The VH house by ODDO Architects is situated on a narrow piece of land, measuring 4 x 16 metres, and designed for a family of four. Responding to the site constraints, the architects wanted to design a house connected with Nature and create a zen space.

Hoang Le photography | VH House by ODDO Architects
Hoang Le photography | VH House features indoor gardens
Hoang Le photography | Site plan
Hoang Le photography | Concept diagram
Hoang Le photography | Concept diagram
Hoang Le photography | Brick wall detail

Historically, the shophouses are designed with an internal courtyard due to their narrow layouts. Given Hanoi’s warm, humid subtropical climate, the courtyard typology helps reduce thermal gains and increases natural airflow and light inside the house.

“The residents are in close contact with the greenery, which contributes to the positive atmosphere of the house,” explain the architects.

The house features three cuboidal volumes separated by internal courtyards with greenery. The narrow, deep layout is made airy and filled with light because these interior courtyards and the plants visually divide the space. Here the plants are envisaged to replace physical walls as a porous division of space. This strategy helps connect the internal areas to the outdoors and increase ventilation, promoting airflow.

Hoang Le photography | Light and airy interiors of VH House
Hoang Le photography | VH House features indoor gardens 
Hoang Le photography | Interior gardens help bring light and air inside the house
Hoang Le photography
Hoang Le photography | Floor plan
Hoang Le photography | Sectional diagram
Hoang Le photography | Sliding door detail

The upper floor features two roof gardens wrapped in a perforated brick wall with round windows. This design choice provides the house with its own identity and makes the house easily recognisable. The master bedroom on the upper floor opens directly to these gardens, where the family may plant their own vegetable and fruits.

“The intention was to find spatial harmony among the traditional house, the local climate and the contemporary lifestyle,” say the architects.

The material palette for the house has been kept simple, and given the low budget, the house uses local materials like bricks. By promoting natural ventilation and incorporating internal courtyards, the house reduces the need to use air conditioning.

Hoang Le photography | Roof Garden of VH House
Hoang Le photography | Round window detail
Hoang Le photography | Roof garden detail
Hoang Le photography | Sustainability diagram
Hoang Le photography | Roof garden detail of VH House
Hoang Le photography | Roof sectional details
Hoang Le photography

The design choices made in this project set it apart from many others. This two-floor house punches above its weight and creates a place where the visual connection is promoted, and family members are encouraged to interact with each other. Greenery, as an architectural element, is an essential strategy for a dense city like Hanoi, to improve humans and Nature interface and the VH house scores gracefully in this criterion.  



Architects: ODDO architects
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Built-up Area: 121 m2
Completed: 06 / 2019
Construction Time: 14 months
Amount of dwellers: 6 members family
Photographer: Hoang Le photography



ODDO architects - Architectural firm based both in Vietnam and the Czech republic. The practise is led by partners Mai Lan Chi Obtulovicova, Nguyen Duc Trung and Marek Obtulovic, Our work aim is to improve our living environment and to emphasize cultural background in the projects. We mainly focus on sustainability, implementation of greenery in cities, community projects with the local spirit. We attempt to re-create the forgotten relationship of humans with nature no matter the size of projectS.

Before establishing the firm the three architects worked for several architectural firms both in Europe and Asia. The architects have worked on various international projects in Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Italy, United Kingdom, Belgium and the Czech republic. After years of earning experience from the different firms, the three architects have decided to build their own practice.