Architect in charge
Nguyen Tuan Nghia
Nguyen Tuan Nghia
Maison A’s main occupant is an aging mother who has lived in the village of Nam Dinh her whole life. The design combines the Nam Dinh countryside housing vernacular with in-depth material research in order to bring the comfort of modern living into the countryside area. During the holidays, the mother greets her children and grandchildren who would come to visit and stay with her. For this reason, the house has to be flexible enough to accommodate the extra guests while maintaining it simplicity and ease.
The coastal climate of Nam Dinh is unpredictable and the area usually faces large storms. Due to this condition, the facade of the house consists of 3 flexible layers. The outermost layer is made entirely from Bat Trang floral ventilation bricks in order to bring daylight and fresh air into the house. The second layer of plants provides additional privacy while allowing the light casted indoor to change harmoniously with the surrounding environment. The third skin, a strong glass layer, allows the mother to easily close up the house during large storms. During warmer months, the triple-skin facade also allows the interior space to open up into a countryside veranda.
Rustic crafting techniques are also refined with modern technology in order to reserve the bests of tradition and science. For instance, the family-bedroom wall is made from đá ong (laterite)-a natural yet bare material from the nearby Son Tay region. The local đá ong craftsmen are invited to participate in the construction process. They are challenged to create a wall with an arched window that would connect the bedroom to the living room area. The rough material of “đá ong” is not usually known for its precision, so the craftsmen have to refine their process in order to match the architectural precision that the project asks for.
In addition, a hand-pressed intaglio method is used to transfer the tactile beauty of the banana leaf onto the concrete surface. The design team works closely with the craftsmen in order to achieve the effect. This is an important element of the conceptual design as the house used to sit on a small banana farm. These familial memories are an integral part of the design, allowing the site’s history to become a part of the day-to-day life of its inhabitants.
Maison A redefines countryside comfort with in-depth material research. The design team also works closely with the local craftsmen in order to refine many traditional methods, making them more rigorous and fitting as a computational tool of architecture.