Once upon a time Ho Chi Minh city was nothing but lush rainforest, but these days green areas are almost non-existent, covering just 0.25% of the city. To try and combat this problem in a creative way, Vo Trong Nghia Architects came up with the idea of a “House for Trees,” which consists of five individual concrete boxes that act as giant planters and individual homes. Apart from reconnecting people with nature, the project aimed to reduce its ecological footprint by using sustainable and locally-source materials such as bamboo and old bricks.
Due to the irregular shape of the building site, and the arrangement of the five “planters” around a central courtyard, the site is also filled will small interconnected gardens. Built using in-situ concrete and bamboo formwork, each of the towers has a thick layer of soil which allows them to function as storm-water basins. Assuming more people can afford houses of this nature, this one cost $156,000, the structures would help to mitigate the risk of flooding across the city.
People living in the individual units share the courtyard and gardens on the ground floor, which provide plenty of shade for when the weather climbs over 80°F. Large glass doors and operable windows on the other hand, ensure each of the dwellings has plenty of natural light and ventilation. Other common areas such as the dining room and library are located on the lower floors, while upper floors are dedicated to private bedrooms and bathrooms. [photography by Hiroyuki Oki]