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Sheltered view: Holiday home in Vietnam

Why have walls when you can do without? This house, known as the Tent because of its shape, was built using local techniques and is self-supporting. The tropical climate and isolated situation on a sheltered mountain slope make spatial delimitations practically superfluous. Located at a distance from the tourists’ comings and goings, and set among hot mineral springs, this holiday accommodation will serve as an ambient retreat. Guests can enjoy not only mud baths and massages here, but also take in the spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.

Architect:a21 studio
Location: Nha Trang, Khánh Hoa, Vietnam

The Tent stands on the incline of a craggy mountain, directly above a river. The house faces west, meaning that protection from the extreme heat was a primary task in designing the roof. On the slope side, the roof descends to ground level: it opens to the sides, towards the river valley. On the valley side, it touches down only at two corner points. The raised roof edges allow a view of the river and the city centre opposite. At the same time, the wind comes up from the water, flows under the building’s shell and helps cool the house.

The 10 X 25 cm wooden joists enable a span of eleven metres. Mortise-and-tenon joints were used as a traditional building method. The building’s cover comprises three layers: two-centimetre wooden planks, a waterproof membrane and a 30-centimetre insulating layer of coconut leaves. 

The interior of the Tent extends over two levels made of local stone. The lower level features a terrace with swimming pool, mud basin and shower. A central stairway leads to the upper storey, which is home to a tearoom and the private sleeping area with its en suite bathroom. The bedroom is the only area that has been equipped with walls. Wood-framed glass elements protect guests from nocturnal drafts. In front of the private living area, a net spreads into the gallery space. This can be used as a hammock and will give guests the sensation of floating weightlessly above the water of the swimming pool.

The structure’s traditional building techniques, use of local materials, antique tiles and classic furniture will convey an atmosphere of harmony and hominess. The Tent is a most effective combination of Robinson Crusoe’s hut, a Mallorcan finca and an Asian tea house.

Project data

Site: 126 m²
Completion:
2014

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