Tan Phu House: Multi-generation row house
March 17, 2022
Section showing interior space
MEETING MULTI-GENERATION NEEDS IN THE ROW HOUSE TYPOLOGY
The row house—an ever-present characteristic of Asian city settlements—is one of the most economical structures that could populate an area. They are made out of several buildings of similar appearance; built upon a uniform grid; arrayed to share common walls; and with spaces that are longer than they are wide to maximise access towards street frontage.
These narrow buildings are commonly used as shophouses and home offices, as the ground level serves as an interface for public activity while the upper levels retain a degree of separation: often, only the façade interacts with the outside world. But in Tan Phu House, the architects have varied the spatial arrangement to free up the narrow space—making this a lively home fit for a tight-knit family of three generations.
Vertical circulation is an important design consideration for tight buildings, because its placement would immediately determine the flow of space. To decide how the row house would be vertically punctured by voids, the architects began by observing the existing conditions of the site: the sun path and existing trees.
Considering the southeast orientation of the façade, they placed voids at both ends of the building. A gap behind the façade is suffused with greenery, which serves to control the intensity of light and filter dust from the street, while the rear area is designed with hanging gardens on balconies. These voids stretch across all four levels, ensuring that each floor receives morning sunlight and an uninterrupted flow of air. According to the architects, “The house is always full of light, so [the residents] rarely use electric lights in the morning and the use of air-conditioners is also reduced.”
COMFORT FOR ALL AGES
The grandparents, parents and children all live in this house—a living arrangement typical of Asian families. To foster the relationship among the family members, common spaces on each floor are designed to connect them through various activities. The ground level hosts the kitchen and dining area, adjacent to the grandmother’s room, which opens up to the back garden.
Above it, the living room overlooks the study and the children’s bedroom, creating an area of activity for the whole family. The more private area on the third level hosts the parents’ bedroom, with a bathroom and laundry space that are sky-lit to combat humidity—as well as using solar power for water heating.
The steel doors used throughout the house were custom-made by local craftspeople: folding, revolving and split doors have been selected accordingly for each space, and considering the characteristics of each user.
Model showing the spatial division and natural lighting
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Tan Phu House
Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
64 square metres
Gross Floor Area
270 square metres
Phan Lam Nhat Nam; Tran Cam Linh
Cencons Construction & Supplier