Vietnam’s cities are growing. Outlying districts, such as Dong Anh just outside of Hanoi, have experienced rapidly-growing urbanisation.

In haste to keep up with the booming demand for accommodation, apartment buildings are being quickly constructed at high volume. However, in the rush to house a growing population, what often occurs is a prioritisation of volume and quantity of construction areas over and above architectural design that places humanity first.

The use of quality space, incorporating the surrounding scenery, and balance between nature and architectural design, are concerns that are often left behind. As such, urbanised areas such as those in Vietnam, are so utilitarian as to be suffocating.

Human beings are inherently sensitive to our environments. Living near nature, with plenty of sunlight and access to fresh air, is linked with extended lifespans, improved health, and even lower crime rates. Conversely, where the environment is stifling, people feel stifled – health deteriorates, productivity goes down, general wellbeing hits rock bottom. In such isolation from nature, humanity is trapped; and trapped creatures lash out.

Architectural Design for Wellbeing

Vietnamese architectural design studio, H&P Architects, however, are offering a solution for the residents of Dong Anh. In a project run by architects, Doan Thanh Ha and Tran Ngoc Phuong, a “properly breathing house” has been designed, to bring occupant wellbeing to the forefront.

In particular, the “properly breathing” solution improves quality by effective use of space. In harmony with the monsoon tropical conditions of Vietnam, the house “creates a natural sense of breathing rhythm, from both inside and outside the building.

Architectural Design Offering a Breath of Fresh Air in Hanoi | VMI Studio

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Inside, space is optimised with wide open plan areas, and overlapping, multi-tiered flooring levels. The outer, double-skin facade is formed of an inner layer of all-glass panels, and ceramic brick squares. The design of the glass panels (pictured) allows for a contrast between light and shade, limiting the heat-magnifying properties of glass whilst simultaneously bringing outside light indoors. The squares that overlie the windows are recycled ceramic bricks, which purify smoke and dust, suck in fresh air, and further drive out the heat.

The filter offered by this two-layer facade not only functions to improve air, light and heat quality for residents; it also allows a balance between the construction and nature. With creepers trailing down from the roof, and vegetables and pot plants growing below, a connection and interaction is formed between the outdoor and indoor space.The liberal scattering of pot plants have the welcome function of regulating humidity, whilst mitigating harmful calorific radiation.

Architectural Design Offering a Breath of Fresh Air in Hanoi | VMI Studio

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The roof garden at the top of the five-storey townhouse allows residents a further opportunity to engage with nature, whilst an even distribution of communal and private space throughout the interior gives residents the space they need to thrive.

Aside from its positive effects on those living within the building, the distinctive architectural design of the Hanoi townhouse lifts the mood of the neighbourhood. In a predominantly built-up area, the injection of visually appealing, modern design, with its emphasis on nature and light, allows even those living nearby to enjoy a sense of something beyond grey, urban landscapes.