Block architects is an architectural firm based in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. This was founded in 2005 by a young enthusiastic youth and his friends who were highly dedicated to their passion for building high-class buildings having features that stood out and were completely different than others. This firm is determined of actualizing architectural works which exhibit sustainable values, vitality and can meet human demand. Projects from urban planning to landscape design are taken by this firm.
Block architects believe that architecture is the combination of art and engineering and any building should not only be aesthetically pleasing but also effective, economically feasible, and have coherence between traditional customs and the local climate. They desire to create designs that combine solidity, naturalness, and greenness by the use of natural light and energy resources in an efficient way.
An existing house as a hotel has been renovated by this Vietnamese architectural firm. This house cum hotel is placed in a very peaceful village which is located in the suburb of Cao Lanh city, Dong Thap province in Vietnam. This region falls in Southern Vietnam which is one of the three tropical regions of Vietnam. This region is known to have a tropical equatorial climate which is divided into the dry and wet seasons. The dry season lasts from December to April and the wet season is from May to November. Large paddy fields and huge fruit gardens are found in this region.
Duyen Casa II is a hotel with an area of 930 square meters which has been renovated by the Block Architects. This house featured an undulating roof to which earthenware curtains are added to the front façade. The addition of earthenware curtains prevents direct sunlight from falling onto the roof. They were added to reduce the thermal radiations and make the house coherent.
This hotel has two parts. The front part, a tile roof spans the front façade. The other side is covered with metal sheets. The budget for this project was very tight but the demands to me met were a lot. The owners wanted to renovate the house like a resort. Basic facilities were to be added to the resort with a simple but long-standing feature of the region. The addition of an earthenware brick curtain gave the hotel look as a whole and not divided into two separate parts. It added a sense of unity to the overall design.
The Block architects started with visiting handicraft villages to get to know about their methods and the local building materials to find a solution to the design problem with suitable materials and highly efficient, methods. There were a lot of problems faced during the design of this project such as a tight budget and high client expectations. A strong and unique solution was supposed to be found for this.
The knitting techniques in handicrafts inspired the architects. This is an art form which was used for centuries now. The architects decided to implement this in their design. Tiles, round steel bars, and bricks were used to knit curtains that covered the two parts of the house. It is how the idea of earthenware curtains took place. This looked aesthetically pleasing and at the same time had a lot of advantages too. The usage of the earthenware curtain controlled the temperature and the thermal radiations. The addition of the curtain walls also created an interesting play of lights and shadows in the house.
The bearing structures and the partition walls were maintained during the renovations and the stability of the structure was not affected in any way. While the exterior was maintained, in the interiors, some walls were removed to make the spaces larger. The partitions of the bathrooms were also removed. This led to better use of the spaces.
The color scheme for the whole project was red due to the exposed brickwork. The furniture added the pop of color required in the building. A lot of greenery is found on the site which keeps the house cool and creates a beautiful effect.
Bedrooms were designed along with the lobby. The doors of the bedroom faced east and looked out from the front yard. At the backside, the kitchen and public facilities were placed. This arrangement made the space suitable for indoor as well as outdoor parties.
The Block Architects used the finished materials and the furniture which was vernacular and available in local factories. Some of the things were taken from the old residences. It was procured, upcycled, and reused. This design overall was very sustainable. The usage of vernacular and local material adds authenticity to the design.