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House in Vietnam. ngo + pasierbiński and ra.atelier

09 of March '23
Technical data
Name: House in Quang Yen
Location: Wietnam, Quang Ninh, Quang Yen
Project: ngo + pasierbinski, ra.atelier
Authors: Duc Ngo, Piotr Pasierbinski, Gia Thang Pham


  • implementation



  • buildings
  • usable

121 m²
200 m²

This plot already had a history. At its heart was a crescent-shaped pond and two gardens a flower garden created by grandfather and a vegetable garden tended by grandmother. Architects from the ngo + pasierbiński and ra.atelier studios added a continuation of this story....

rzut parteru z zagospodarowaniem

ground floor plan with landscaping

© ngo + pasierbiński, ra.atelier

The gently curved line of the crescent marking the shape of the pond was repeated by the architects almost in mirror image on the other side of the plot. The arches so drawn intersected at two points, thus marking the corners of the new house.


cross section

© ngo + pasierbiński, ra.atelier

Thanks to numerous glazings, openings and columns, the house and the surrounding garden intermingle. The view axes created by the architects allow the sun's rays reflected in the water to paint luminous compositions on the walls, and the house's occupants facilitate contact with other family members, including spiritual ones, but this is best told by the designers themselves.

Duc Ngo and Piotr Pasierbinski of ngo + pasierbinski talk about why the house had to be built in a year, the role of the pond and large roof slopes, and the challenges of building in Vietnam during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ola Kloc: Is incorporating a garden into a house a traditional procedure in Vietnamese architecture?

Duc Ngo: The house is set in a rural context and inspired by a traditional composition, so there is water in front of the house and a garden all around. From the garden, the design of the house began.

staw od południowej strony wprowadza do domu chłodny wiatr

The pond on the south side brings a cool breeze into the house

Photo: Hoang Le

Ola: How was the shape of the house created?

Duc: The main influence on the shape was the crescent-shaped pond that previously existed on the plot. We repeated that line and started the project from there. The clients wanted a very simple house with lots of flexible space.

Piotr Pasierbinski: This was also influenced by the homeowners' jobs  he is a retired doctor and she is a retired teacher who still teaches classes at home. So we arranged space for lessons.

Duc: Exactly, during the week the students come to class so the whole living room and part of the garden turns into a classroom. It's also the main house of a large family they organize parties from time to time, so they need a capacious space to accommodate everyone.

architekci stworzyli oś widokową między stawem, salonem i pokojem modlitw

The architects created a viewing axis between the pond, living room and prayer room

Photo: Duc Ngo

Ola: What other traditional Vietnamese elements can be seen in this project?

Duc: I would also like to mention water the house faces south and there is a pond in front of it. In Vietnam, in the summer there is a cool wind blowing from the south, so if you put water on that side, it will "bring" that cool air inside. It's a very traditional, climatic element. The large roof is also traditional, you can see this in the old structures of Vietnamese houses. Because of the large amount of sun, we need a lot of shade.

dom otoczony jest ogrodem, na terenie działki znajduje się także niewielki kurnik

The house is surrounded by a garden, there is also a small chicken coop on the lot

Photo: Hoang Le

Ola: In your opinion, what are the fundamental differences in terms of design, use of materials, and matching architecture to climate between Europe and Asia?

Duc: In spring in northern Vietnam, the ground is very wet, so we have to choose a special floor with a very soft material and move it away from the ground to prevent dampness. We also use locally produced tiles that adequately insulate the house from the sun's rays.

Peter: I would also add that because the house was being built during the covid pandemic, restrictions throughout Asia, including Vietnam, were very strict. Therefore, the contractors had to come from the local area initially we were going to work with another team, but eventually we had to find someone who wouldn't commute from another province. The materials also had to be local so all the tiles, cement, wood and even steel came from local resources.

Duc: We kept the back garden more or less the same way it was used in the past  the family grows vegetables there and has a small chicken coop for their daily needs.

elewacja północna dach pokryty jest lokalną dachówką, dzięki niej oraz wielu warstwom izolacji zapewnia wewnątrz odpowiednią temperaturę

north elevation

Photo: Hoang Le

Ola: There was another house on this plot before?

Piotr: Yes, we replaced it with a new one. It is also important that the house was had to be built in within a year this is also part of Vietnamese tradition.

Duc: Actually, there were two houses there before, but because they were extended quite haphazardly, we decided to leave only the crescent shape mentioned, into which the pond with the miniature mountain is now inscribed. As Piotr mentioned, the realisation process was very fast. We only had three months for the design, after which the clients opted in and expected the building to be completed within a year.

ogród i staw przenikają do wnętrza domu

The garden and pond permeate the interior of the house

Photo: Hoang Le

Ola: Why so fast?

Duc: Because in Vietnam it is considered bad luck if a house takes longer to build, so the schedule was tight.

Ola: A lot of pressure, after all, the happiness of the housebuilders depends on it!

Duc: Yes, an additional complication was working remotely from Tokyo and pandemic restrictions. We also had a month-long delay on the construction site, it was very stressful. But in the end we made it in time, then gradually completed the garden part.

Peter: In such rural area in Vietnam, it's also difficult to find highly skilled contractors who read plans and sections. So we had to organize training, including construction training, and carry out the process remotely in such a way that the building was completed according to the drawings.

Duc: You can't make detailed drawings, hand them to the contractors and expect them to execute them. The drawings have to be simple, and you have to go to the construction site and explain it to them.

kolumna w przestrzeni wspólnej osie widokowe pozwalają odbijającym się w wodzie promieniom słonecznym malować świetlne kompozycje na ścianach

A view of the common space and garden

Photo: Hoang Le

Ola: In the face of this, how did it work out?

Duc: We worked with my Vietnamese colleague all the time, he helped us with the design and construction supervision, he was the one who talked to the contractors on site. Sometimes we had to repeat some elements, tear down the ones put up and build from scratch, even the basic ones, when it turned out, for example, that a wall was not perpendicular. We didn't have time, but we had to rebuild a lot of things.

okrągły otwór łączy dwie główne przestrzenie

A circular opening connects the two main spaces

Photo: Hoang Le

Ola: Nevertheless, you made it in a year! I noticed that one of the rooms is designated as a place of worship, is this a typical thing in Vietnam?

Duc: Yes, it's very important to have such a place, I think most Vietnamese homes have one.

Peter: It is dedicated to the ancestors, allowing them to return home, join their families and celebrate with them the New Year celebrations.

widok z przestrzeni modlitwy na staw przestrzeń wspólna na piętrze

The view from the prayer space to the pond, a common space on the first floor

Photo: Duc Ngo, Photo: Hoang Le

Duc: Also, on the anniversary of the death of a family member, everyone gets together at home to pray. Therefore, a flexible space is needed.

Peter: This is also the reason for the connection between the prayer room, the living room and the pond  this is where the family gathers, even if someone has passed away, this special bond continues.

Ola: Thank you for the interview.

 Ola Kloc

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