In a crowded and busy city like Hanoi, people take advantage of every single space they have. This house and its garden stand humbly amidst the surrounding building blocks. Instead of using all the land or keeping an indoor courtyard space, the house is set back from the street to offer the whole alley a green space—with plantings and creepers growing on brick walls—a small but precious ‘breathing’ gap in the dense urban setting. The front ‘gate’ used alternating brickwork as its form, which created a sparse fence separating the house from the street while sharing the green space with its neighbours.
The house in this typical Hanoi alley was designed for a young man who came back after spending a long time living abroad. He wanted a house with a private space that is also open—a place where he can relax and share with friends as a peaceful hideout. This client wanted a dog-friendly home, and so it must have a garden for both to enjoy nature. Based on the client’s needs and site location, the architect offered a free-form design, eliminating the typical functional boundaries one would find in a house.