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1/24/2018 Nishizawa Architects adds movable walls to multi-family home

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Nishizawa Architects adds movable walls to multi-family home in

southern Vietnam

Natasha Levy | 3 September 2017 | 21 comments

Nishizawa Architects has replaced the facade and interior walls of this residence Top architecture stories
in Vietnam's An Giang province with moveable corrugated metal panels to create a Most Most
"half-outdoors" dwelling for three families. popular recent

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The house, which is set in the city of Chau Doc, is close to the Mekong river and raised
on pilotis above flood-prone grounds. It is shared by three separate families, who
asked the Ho Chi Minh City-based practice if it could improve living alongside each
To begin, the practice integrated corrugated metal shutters into the facade of the
residence, permitting open views of the surrounding rice fields.… 1/7
1/24/2018 Nishizawa Architects adds movable walls to multi-family home
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"We felt this ambition was attractive to collaborate with," practice founder Shunri
Nishizawa told Dezeen, "even though we realised this was a challenging project when
we visited their original house".
"We tried to satisfy the rich lifestyle which is fulfilled by sunlight, greenery and
natural ventilation."

Faulkner Architects wraps

Northern California home in
weathering steel

The internal walls of House in Chau Doc have been swapped for moveable metal
partitions, opening up the layout and allowing the inhabitants to move freely from
room to room, creating a "melting and ambiguous" space.
MW Architects creates 7sq m
A self-contained apartment occupies the lower floor, while a duplex is set across a house extension in dark
portion of the first and second level, where there is also a studio.
engineering bricks


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The frame of the house is configured by a network of timber beams that are left
exposed. Email
The roof has been inverted so that it forms a butterfly-like structure when the metal
panels are pushed open. Sign me up!

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1/24/2018 Nishizawa Architects adds movable walls to multi-family home

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Keen to use local materials, the practice built the columns of the house from a
Vietnamese hardwood called Shorea Obtusa, and sourced the timber for the flooring
from a second-hand market nearby.

The outer walls have been made from concrete and then embossed with the pattern of
woven bamboo to emulate regional craft techniques.
"It was an important theme for us to preserve the regional customs and spirits inside
the house," said Nishizawa.

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1/24/2018 Nishizawa Architects adds movable walls to multi-family home

Other architects using moveable walls to improve the connection between living
spaces and the outdoors include Benjamin Garcia Saxe's use of folding wooden screens
at the front of a house in Costa Rica to reveal ocean vistas, while an Italian villa Dezeen Jobs
designed by Bergmeisterwolf features an extension with sliding glazed panels that
opens the living area up to the garden.

Related story
Movable wooden walls front
Benjamin Garcia Saxe's
Ocean Eye House

Read more Architecture Corrugated metal Moving walls Residential Shutters

Vietnam Vietnamese houses

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21 Comments Dezeen 
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Zozo Rachou • 5 months ago

This house is beautiful.
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This comment was deleted.

H-J > Guest • 5 months ago

You can always put on the AC apparently, and always do apparently...
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wright gregson > Guest • 5 months ago

Thank you!!! See comment from H-J below and my reply to him.
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wright gregson • 5 months ago

Idle architect is correct!! If corrugated sheets get any direct sun exposure they will create an oven-like interior. I know
as I have been in a variety houses in VN.
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Geofbob > wright gregson • 5 months ago

The residents live in a tropical country and are used to heat; they know that whatever material is used for the
walls, it's not going to make it feel cool. Also, the whole house is so open that it will make the most of any breeze.
They could of course always install fans, which would also discourage mosquitos, but maybe they're used to
those too.
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wright gregson > Geofbob • 5 months ago

As one who has spent a lot of time in VN, I can tell you that corrugated metal is like a radiant furnace
regardless of the breeze. People in VN seek relief from the heat just like anyone else.

It is true that physiologically they are able to tolerate the heat better than northern Europeans; they have
less body fat. But they still seek relief from the heat when necessary.
1△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Aaron > wright gregson • 3 months ago

It's a beautiful house and probably spending time in it would be the only way to know for sure… 5/7
1/24/2018 Nishizawa Architects adds movable walls to multi-family home
It s a beautiful house and probably spending time in it would be the only way to know for sure,
but I used to have a studio (in Australia) with a corrugated metal roof and in summer I used to
feel like I was being cooked. Even with an industrial fan on full, I would sit at my Mac in my
underwear with my feet in a bucket of water!
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H-J > wright gregson • 5 months ago

If it's so uncomfortable under those sheets, why do they build with them all around this project
and why did the clients not protest when this was proposed by the architects?
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wright gregson > H-J • 5 months ago

Look above to "torototoro" comment. On average, in Vietnam, there is a surprising lack of
awareness on how to us natural air flow for cooling. The new concrete houses are hot boxes of
stuffy humid air. During the day they open up their houses completely but at night it is the custom
to close every door and window, and turn on the air conditioning if they have it.

Many still have an aversion to the night air sweeping through the house. Just as we here in the US
used to be concerned about the "miasma" contained in the night air, so still do many Viets. Their
architects are just now starting to have influence on building to use natural air currants.

I am speaking from 12 years of living in middle and lower class circumstances in Vietnam –
everything from palm-thatched houses to "elegant" new middle class concrete house.
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H-J > wright gregson • 5 months ago

Did you even look at the drawings? If anyone is aware of natural air flow, I would say it's this
office, look how they drew all those blue arrows! You're projecting cultural stereotypes unto the
client, just because the client is Vietnamese(I assume here) and the project is in Vietnam, does
that mean the client will close off all doors and windows and turn on the air conditioning? Come
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wright gregson > H-J • 5 months ago

This client may be the exception to the rule. This is the end of a pointless conversation. I have
lived with "ordinary" Vietnamese for part of every year for about 20 years. I know of what I speak.
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H-J > wright gregson • 5 months ago

This is not pointless, your generalisation is pointless. You can't project your own personal
experiences onto an entire population of millions.
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John Anderson • 5 months ago

Beautiful work. Lovely material palette. I want to be there. (Also great drawings.)
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The Idle Architect • 5 months ago

That corrugated metal won't get too hot, right?
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guisforyou > The Idle Architect • 5 months ago

Yes, will definitely get hot, but unlike concrete it will not retain it for hours, more like minutes. Furthermore, the
structure has high ceiling and is very well opened for cross ventilation, thus continuously sweeping it away.
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This comment was deleted.

S-N > Guest • 5 months ago

Actually as you mentioned, "bamboo-patterned precast panel" is more expensive than the local brick wall.
However, this house is a private house, which the client and the architect pursued the maximum richness in the
limited conditions.

Sometimes client could require a solid wall for safety, or sometimes architect could propose some texture for the
space (precast in Vietnam is not too expensive). Even though the project was tightened by local-standard
budget, we didn't feel the necessity to design everything from the economic context only. I mean, this is not a
social project. We didn't aim to save the earth.
3△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

H-J > Guest • 5 months ago

What's hypocritical about using locally sourced wood, a second hand floor or bamboo patterned concrete?
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This comment was deleted.

H-J > Guest • 5 months ago

Why is it greenwashing? It just works well together, you interpret it as greenwashing but that's up
to you. Nowhere is mentioned that sustainability or "green" solutions were a design issue or
concept, so nothing is being washed green, it was never meant to be green, maybe it should have
been but that's a different discussion! Emulating regional craft techniques does preserve regional
customs, it sets them in concrete to be exact. Of course there are other materials that could have
been used, but calling a project hypocritical for using one of the most widespread and basic
construction methods around is just hypocritical, the impact on that matter by this little house
and those couple of walls is marginal at best. Maybe you should be calling every project on Dezeen
and elsewhere that uses concrete hypocritical. If the design intention was to build a super
sustainable, hyper eco-friendly home with local materials only, yes using concrete would have
been quite hypocritical in that case but this was not the issue here. On a side note, you know that
analog photography uses a lot of poisonous and environmentally unfriendly chemicals, right?
Pan, kettle, black etc. ;)
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S-N > Guest • 5 months ago

-Using the local wood or secondhand wood was mainly for controlling the budget, but at the same
time, we didn't decide all the design by the economic reason... this is very normal procedure for
the architectural design, at least for us.

And we didn't use the concrete panels for preserving the regional customs Actually as a part of… 6/7
1/24/2018 Nishizawa Architects adds movable walls to multi-family home
And we didn t use the concrete panels for preserving the regional customs. Actually, as a part of
this project, we had a theme somehow to take over the regional customs, but again, we didn't
design everything from one simple purpose.

-We think all the house don't need to be greenest, using rammed earth or bamboo only, even in
case it is located in a rural area in Vietnam.
2△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Daremane • 5 months ago

Did they count for mosquitos tolerance and other bugs flying in? Not to mention high noise on rainy days on those
metal roofs.
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H-J > Daremane • 5 months ago

I don't think they somehow forgot about those, I'm sure the architects and the clients are well aware of the
climate, conditions and materials being used.
4△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

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