HEM House by Sanuki Daisuke Architects
For those that have visited Vietnam, you may have seen the ‘capillary like’ winding narrow alleys that separate the blocks of buildings; in Vietnamese towns, some of these alleys can even converge to a width of less than 1m. This contained space is conducive to the vivacious culture that pervades Vietnam; the narrow alleys in these attractive urban spaces in Vietnam are known as “HEM”.
For security purposes, the properties in HEM are normally covered by fences and the smoke glass adds an element of privacy to these otherwise intimate streets. As is often the case, challenge offers a chance for innovation; Sanuki Daisuke Architects duly accepted and sought to reinvent living spaces that were often seen and dark and ‘broody’.
“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.”
~ Sanuki Daisuke Architects
The building exterior features a many openings, at first appearing to be sporadically placed, but on inspection of the interior, you can see these were strategically placed to allow the maximum amount of light into the space. The grills themselves are decorated with shapes based on the fabric patterns from local Vietnamese textiles.
From the inside, the openings have a depth of between 50cm-80cm to accommodate shelving. These allow the inhabitants to further obstruct the view by placing objects (e.g. plants) in front of the windows, while still ensuring light comes in.
The housing in the HEM is usually considered negatively but this reinvention by Sanuki Daisuke Architects shows that with careful thought and intelligent design, there is an alternative housing option to enjoy life in the HEM.