The Nest by


Climbing plants and vines shoot up over a gridded facade of metal beams and panels at this house in Binh Duong Province by Vietnamese architects a21studio (+ slideshow).

The Nest by a21studio

Constructed on a limited budget, the house was designed to both "look green" and fit in with its neighbours. The architects at a21studio used steel beams to construct a basic framework, then clad the exterior with lightweight mesh and corrugated panels, and encouraged plants to grow up around it.

The Nest by a21studio

A see-through outer facade functions as a boundary fence. Beyond it, the house has no walls on the front or rear of its ground floor, revealing a simple living room and kitchen with a small garden beyond.

The Nest by a21studio

Colourful ceramic tiles cover every inch of the floor and also extend out beyond the shelter of the roof. A kitchen counter runs longways through the room and more tiles clad its sides and surfaces.

The Nest by a21studio

A staircase leading up to the two first-floor bedrooms is made from a single sheet of folded metal and uses reinforcing rods as a banister.

The Nest by a21studio

To furnish the house, the architects used reclaimed items that include a set of wooden chairs.

The Nest by a21studio

"By making the most of abandoned items and using spaces cleverly, people can easily have a comfortable house that is fulfilled by nature and flexible for future needs," say the architects.

The Nest by a21studio

Other low-cost homes constructed in Vietnam include a system of modular houses made from bamboo. See more architecture in Vietnam.

The Nest by a21studio

Photography is by Hiroyuki Oki.

The Nest by a21studio

Here's a project description from a21studio:

The Nest

The house is designed for a middle-aged newsman who has been working in years for Vietnam architectural magazines. The site is located at the outskirt of a new city in being urbanism with a variety of housing architecture styles in its surrounding. Therefore, both the architect and client came up with the idea that the new house should be looked green, but not compromise to its comfortable and specially should not much differentiated to next-door neighbours.

The Nest by a21studio

Within his constraint budget, a light structure as steel and metal sheets is applied instead of bricks and concrete as usual. Moreover, unused furniture, abandoned but still in good condition, is considered as an appropriate solution for most parts of the house which not only reduces construction cost but also gives the house a distinctive look, the beauty or serenity of old items that comes with age.

The Nest by a21studio

Without any doubt, using steel structure not only makes the foundation lighter, but also helps shorten the construction period than normal, and saving cost as well. The house-frame is made by 90x90 steel columns and 30x30 steel beams connecting to metal sheets, then covered or filled in between by plants, so from a distance look, the house is like a green box. Among these "cool-metal" bars, the nature is defined itself.

The Nest by a21studio

Typically, the house is structured into two vertical parts; two private bedrooms on the upper floor, while kitchen and living room on the ground floor and opened to nature without any door or window. This makes the bounder between inside and outside becomes blurry. Besides, by diminishing living space to just sufficiently fitted and leaves the rest intended uncontrolled, the architect attempts to convey the sense that the natural environment outside is larger and closer, as at any views from the house, the trees can be observed with its full beauty. In the other words, the trees are used as the building's walls, and the house would provide a variety of links between trees and people.

The Nest by a21studio

Finally, the idea of the house, above the organisation of spaces and flexibility uses of structure, is about a general housing concept for low cost construction, which has been attracted the attention in Vietnam society. By making the most of abandoned items and using enough spaces for living cleverly, people can easily have a comfortable house fulfilled by nature and flexible for any future needs with a limited fund.

The Nest by a21studio

Client: Tho
Location: Thuận An city, Bình Dương province, Vietnam
Project area: 100 sqm
Building area: 40 sqm
Materials: Steel bar, metal sheets
Completed: 2013

The Nest by a21studio
Ground floor plan - click for larger image and key
The Nest by a21studio
First floor plan - click for larger image and key
The Nest by a21studio
Long section - click for larger image and key
The Nest by a21studio
Front elevation
  • Une maison dans laquelle il a l’air de flotter un air de bonheur.

  • I want to live in that house! It’s simple, seems fresh, comfortable and stimulating. Even though it’s small, the images show an incredible a sensation of openness.

  • alaninbelfast

    Better not rain!

    • Aaron

      The climate in Vietnam is somewhat different to Belfast.

      • ted

        Doesn't Vietnam have a monsoon season?

    • It has roofs. The problem for me would be the cold. But I guess Vietnam does not make less than 20°C.

  • Space and Time

    This is gorgeous, I want to live there. I love how the open patio extends into the house.

  • Aaron

    This is great! I would happily live here. The connection to the outside is wonderful – I'd love to be sitting in that living room, in the heat, with the rain pouring down around me. Much more sustaining that sitting behind a perfect modernist picture window. This is a house that's not afraid of the world.

  • Airborne

    This way of thinking is much needed in Vietnam. Once the house is covered in vines it will be very comfortable in the hot season.

  • Without any doubt, using steel structure not only makes the foundation lighter but also helps shorten the construction period than normal, and saving cost as well.

  • gdane

    Good to see the incorporation of the Vietnamese construction culture – not to mention a construction that permits natural cooling. Not just another Bauhaus import unsuitable for that kind of climate.

  • nhsd

    This is Saigon’s atmosphere. Like.

  • nik

    Pure happiness. My thoughts are meandering about how to implement this idea into the more northern hemisphere; an open part to be protected from the outside while feeling outside and the other smaller part of the construction as a retreat during the colder season.

    • ppplatypus

      You might like Lacaton & Vassal from France. They have a few projects that do just that.

      • nik

        Thanks ppplatypus – low budget leads to good architecture (just my theory).

  • Hermann Truong

    And time suddenly seems slower… :)

  • tht

    I hope they have good locks. Love the tile work and the ground floor space.

  • Clara Rose

    Beautiful house! But would like to know what solution they’ve proposed to tackle the heat and the heating of the metal sheets and beams and rods. Vietnam is a tropical country if I am not mistaken.