HEM House is a private home located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
It was designed by Sanuki Daisuke Architects in 2015.
HEM House by Sanuki Daisuke Architects:
“This is the individual house project at a small alley in the center of Ho Chi Minh City.
When having a look at Vietnamese towns, we can realize that the buildings’ blocks separated by main streets, and numerous narrow alleys inside of the blocks like blood capillary. The width of these alleys is quite narrow around 2m – 4m (6.5 ft – 13 ft), occasionally less than 1m (3.28ft). When walking around these alleys, we can see very vivacious Vietnamese life. These narrow alleys are called “HEM” and these are quite attractive urban spaces in Vietnam.
Houses in the HEM are usually covered by fence or smoke glass for security, privacy and shading. As a result, the houses look like cages. The spaces inside the house in those cases are dark and broody. People usually use electric lighting in daily activities, especially in the ground floor level. Therefore we made the design target of “How to design enjoyable house in the HEM”.
The site is located at the corner of HEMs and the widths of HEMs are just 2.1m (6.8ft) and 1.7m (5.6ft). It is not easy to keep privacy and security. Thus we attempted to set the “Opening with Depth” at the envelope along to HEMs. Several openings have the depth of 50cm -80cm (19.7in – 31.5in) and are equipped with furniture and shelves. This helps indoor spaces brighter by getting natural lighting’s reflection. At the same time, it keeps the privacy by providing the eye stop from outside. The building has extremely simple shape with maximum area according to the regulation and many openings toward the outside. It usually seems closed from outdoor, but the inside environment is astonishingly bright with natural lighting by reflection at the openings. When the window opened, the natural wind come into the house. We designed the steel mesh with pattern covered each opening. The patterns are considered according to client’s usage and referred to Vietnamese local textile. The meshes provide security and eye-stop from outside.
We made different ceiling height in each floor and create the space of the house as spacious as possible. We also use Vietnamese traditional materials in this project. The outside wall is finished by exposed Terrazzo. The interior cement tile is also local and widely used material.
The locations of the openings were carefully decided by surrounding condition and future planning of neighborhood. We design the views of HEMs from openings to become a part of interior space in this house. The housing in the HEM is usually considered negatively. However we carefully observed and transform the condition of it. This could be the alternative house to enjoy the life in the HEM.”
Photos by: Hiroyuki Oki