Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio
is built from scrap wood

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Vietnamese office a21studio used recycled wood to construct the curving framework of this coffee house, which encircles a courtyard near the city of Nha Trang (+ slideshow).

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio

The Salvaged Ring structure was designed by a21studio for a carpenter who wanted to utilise a surplus of scrap wood collected over his career to build a coffee house near a motorway on the outskirts of the city.

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio

"The advantages of using the salvaged wood are that it saves the owner money, and it gives the wood another life instead being left useless in the warehouse," architect Toan Nghiem told Dezeen.

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio



The timber skeleton supports a thatched roof that spirals down from an entrance near the road to cover a lower level with seating scattered around a central garden.

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio

Arranging the split-level structure around a courtyard utilises a standard building typology employed throughout the region to provide sheltered and naturally ventilated outdoor spaces.

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio

Wooden offcuts were used to create louvred panels, which are connected to make a wall that recalls traditional shutter doors.

The louvred surface screens the interior from the sun and the road at the upper level, while a solid stone wall reduces the amount of noise that reaches the garden below.

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio

Entering from the road through a large opening in the wooden wall, guests can follow the curve of the roof to a concrete staircase that leads down to the lower level.

A route winds between the tables, which are placed on large concrete slabs. It culminates at a doorway in the stone wall at the opposite side of the ring-shaped space.

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio

A timber staircase with balustrades made from steel reinforcing bars leads back up to the entrance level.

Traditional carpentry techniques including mortise and tenon joints were used to connect the variously sized sections of wood needed to build the frame, meaning no additional timber had to be sourced.

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio

"A disadvantage of the scrap wood is that we don't have many sizes of wood frames, so we have to combine different elements to make sure the structure is stable," said Nghiem. "However, I think that this gives the building distinction."

The palette of natural materials also included coconut leaves, used to form the thatched roof, and stones that were used to make low walls next to the entrance. These complement the project's natural aesthetic and sustainable credentials.

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio

Photography is by the architects.

Here's a project description from a21studĩo:


Salvaged ring

Salvaged ring is a coffee shop located along side with a highway in the countryside of Nha Trang, Vietnam. After years working, the owner, which is a local carpenter, has a big stock of scrap wood that he wishes to give another life to them rather than leaving it fall into oblivion. Therefore, an idea that a building salvages these pieces of wood has come to life.

The first impression of the coffee shop is its unusual curved thatch roof that extended from the highway down to the riverbank. That single roof connects two different levels into one and softens the rigid structure supporting below. Guests are led by an exotic route from the exterior to the interior around courtyard created by the ring roof.

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio
Floor plan - click for larger image

Courtyard, as we know, is the result of cultural and climatic conditions in the region. Furthermore, it is also used as spatial generator and climate modifier. In this project, the courtyard is organised so as to adapt many functions and views in the buildings. As the result, the activities are taken place in the peace and quiet inside place linking to the river, apart from the noisy street outside. Moreover, it allows solar gain and natural ventilation, which are suitable to Vietnam climate. However, overusing courtyards can increase the heat and brightness causing inconvenience to people. Inner garden, roof materials and fenestration are carefully considered as the most appropriate solutions.

The scrap wood, which different sizes and shapes, are adjusted to adapt new functions. The small pieces are exploited for louvers at the entrance, which can prevent the heat and noise from the highway as well as being decoration patterns that remind people about old wooden doors used many years ago. Besides, the main structure is formed by larger parts, connected by traditional mortise and tenon techniques. In short, the pieces are used every possible means to be applied into the building so that there is no any new trees cut down. Furthermore, except wood, by using rock, and local coconut leaf, lively materials, salvaged ring is filled with harmony and native feelings.

Salvaged Ring coffee house by a21studio
Elevation - click for larger image

In conclusion, by taking advantages of scrap wood pieces stocked for many years, the salvaged ring is a highlight for carpentry technique together with striking spaces that can give an extraordinary value for the peaceful village.

Name of project: Salvaged ring
Client: Minh Khang wood
Location: Nha Trang city, Vietnam
Project area: 1620 m2
Building area: 360 m2
Materials: specification wood frames
Company: a21studĩo

  • Sunrise250

    Did the infamous Viet Cong skeeters drive the customers away?