Facade of shutters allows light into Vegan House

Facade of colourful shutters allows light and wind into Block Architects' Vegan House

Colourfully painted window shutters form the facade and roof of this guest house and kitchen in Ho Chi Minh City, designed by local studio Block Architects (+ slideshow).

Vegan House by Block Architects

The building was formerly a house, but has been converted into a cultural venue where guests are invited to prepare and eat a traditional Vietnamese meal together before settling down for the night.

Vegan House by Block Architects

"The owner works in travel and tourism," explained Block Architects.

"He once rented the house and planned to renovate it into a cultural place. It is on this spot that people meet up, share and cook Vietnamese traditional food, especially vegan food."

Vegan House by Block Architects

Now named Vegan House, the three-storey building is located in Ho Chi Minh City's District 3 – the quieter and more scenic of the Vietnamese city's two central zones. It is very narrow, and is sandwiched between two adjoining buildings.

Vegan House by Block Architects

To help the building to stand out, project architect Duc Hoa Dang chose to give it a more noticeable identity by re-cladding large areas of the facade in louvred shutters and painting them in a variety of vibrant colours.

Vegan House by Block Architects

These shutters – known as jalousie windows – are common throughout Southeast Asia. But arranged in this way, they create a flexible surface that allows occupants to bring in as much or as little daylight and ventilation as they choose.

Vegan House by Block Architects

"[The aim was] to exploit these old things, and add available ones and new ones to create a fresher place that still keeps the traditional values of the former house," said Block Architects.

"These windows have been used in Vietnam for a long time because of ventilation. They are now rearranged into a new facade and create a special attraction, as well as harmonising with the ancientness of the entire area."

Vegan House by Block Architects

Across the roof, some of the shutters need to be kept open to allow space for the branches of trees growing up from a series of terraces at the centre of the building.

Vegan House by Block Architects

More colourful shutters can be found around the edges of the ground-floor courtyard, as Dang has used them to create flexible partitions between rooms. His aim was to "separate and decorate" space.

Vegan House by Block Architects

Surfaces and furniture inside the house present of mixture of styles, colours and patterns. This is because the client's friends donated many of the items, and numerous surfaces were left as they were before.

Vegan House by Block Architects

The ground floor is taken up by cooking and dining areas, anchored by a counter that runs through the centre.

The first floor is a dorm-style bedroom with four beds and a bathroom, while a master bedroom occupies the uppermost level.

Vegan House by Block Architects

This top storey was formerly an unused roof, so a new steel staircase had to be added to provide access. Steel sheeting provides a new roof for the space. There is also a small balcony at one end for "drinking tea and looking at the night sky".

Vegan House by Block Architects

"Unrefined cement surfaces, jalousie windows and bamboo wattle on the ceiling create both a modern and ancient place, and revive Vietnamese architecture of the 60s and 70s," added the studio.

"As time goes by, people here will give new vitality and new soul to this house."

Vegan House by Block Architects

The 60-square-metre Vegan House is typical of the narrow "tube houses" that feature in many Vietnamese cities. Others to have undergone modernisation include a residence that now features a vertical garden on its facade and a home with a see-through exterior.

Vegan House by Block Architects

Photography is by Quang Tran.

Vegan House by Block Architects
Sketch
Vegan House by Block Architects
Axonometric diagram – click for larger image
Vegan House by Block Architects
Render
Vegan House by Block Architects
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Vegan House by Block Architects
First floor plan – click for larger image
Vegan House by Block Architects
Second floor plan – click for larger image
Vegan House by Block Architects
Roof plan – click for larger image