HO CHI MINH CITY – Projecting a poeticism for family and life, a tree situated at the heart of the Saigon House immediately draws the eye. And like the tree, the house branches upwards, with family spaces spread over the ground floor and private functions scattered across six upper levels to utilise the height of the narrow plot.
At first glance, a21studio's Saigon House appears to be a mishmash of materials assembled into a makeshift home, but upon further inspection, the true articulation of the design is revealed. To oppose the western-style of housing which is becoming increasingly popular in Ho Chi Minh City, the client desired a home incited by traditional Saigon architecture. The client’s strong belief in family values guided the scheme, leading to a space where the whole family could gather to create and share memories.
Shaped with materials and furniture collected by both client and architect alike, the design orchestrates the corridor-like site into a dynamic living space. The firm explains: ‘Besides the beauty of old things, we also found the spirit of the second-hand stuff, those which have their own stories and reasons to be reborn in the places where they are needed most.’
A patterned glass canopy extends from the rear, wrapping over the site and cascading down the front façade to create a protective shell and bathe the interior with ornate shadows. Under the glazed roof, five separate block structures are dispersed vertically, containing various functions of the family home. Staircases playfully extend from the furniture to connect the living spaces. Linking the first and second levels, a worn timber beam reclaimed as a seating area transitions into a concertina staircase with the use of repurposed sheet metal and timber boards.
By embracing reclaimed materials, styles and techniques, Saigon House pays homage to the traditional architecture of the ever-developing Ho Chi Minh City.