Tropical Space, the prominent architecture firm was founded in 2012 by architects Trần Thị Ngụ Ngôn and Nguyễn Hải Long. They have their office based in Ho Chi Minh city specialized in master planning, urban design, landscape design, and interior design. Being placed in Southeast Asia, they have a deep-rooted cultural and climatic understanding which is portrayed in the design responses.

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Trần Thị Ngụ Ngôn and Nguyễn Hải Long (Architects’ Intro)_©Source:http://ashui.com/awards/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Tran-Thi-Ngu-Ngon-Nguyen-Hai-Long-599×900.jpg 

They strongly aspire to create environmentally friendly, sustainable structures with a conscious material selection that contemplates the needs of its users. The practice has majorly designed residential and commercial projects serving a variety of contexts. Following are the most notable ones: 

1. Termitary house

Year: 2014
Site area: 190 sq.m.
Building Area: 80 sq.m.
Materials: Baked Brick, Concrete, Terrazzo, Wood
Location: 582 Nguyen Phuoc Nguyen Street, An Khe Ward, Thanh Khe District, Da Nang City, Vietnam.

As the name indicates, its design was inspired by the ability of termites to build nests in the local area. Since the climate of the area varies extremely between sunny and rainy, also influenced by a lot of tropical heat every year, the architects designed the house by placing a cooking counter, a dining table, and an entertainment corner in the center of the space. 

The perforated baked brick facade and traditional materials of the area are used to build the house, keeping the house cool in the summer. Refurbished and old timber furniture gave the house its authentic character and reduced the total actual cost of the construction. 

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2. Chicken Case

Year: 2017
Site area: 20m2
Materials: Steel, metal grill, cem-board
Location: My Hanh Nam, Ward, Duc Hoa District, Long An Province, Vietnam

The Chicken’s House aims to create a miniature social community for chickens and ducks. The design team wants to give them a large and safe space to form a mini-social community for the chickens, which is suitable for kids to play in. It is a 2mx10mx2m metal grill with hung cem board boxes connected with lightweight stairs allowing kids to come and play around. 

The design was inspired by an aged couple who wanted to raise some chickens in the garden.

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3. LT House

Year: 2016
Site area: 66 m.sq
Building area: 108m.sq
Material: Bricks, concrete, timber
Location: Long Thanh, Dong Nai Province

This residential project was dedicated to the newlywed owners who wanted to have their own house on a low budget. This space was designed with more sharing areas to make users feel the direction of the wind, experiencing the shadows and light across the day. Simple furniture was made from raw materials on the site itself that resulted in affordable construction and created a beautiful interactive space.

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Interior view 2_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/08-2636.jpg 

4. Happy Box

Year: 2020
Area: 68 sq.m.
Material: wood, concrete
Location: Ta Quang Buu, District 8, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The Happy Box is a project for a kid client, asking to design a house. The concept was brought up by the team that aims to create an environment where children can be free to run around and do anything they want. It is a sculptural wooden box of dimension 3mx3mx2.2m designed with all the needed functions like working space, studying space, bed, kitchen, toilet connected both vertically and horizontally. 

To reduce the building work, the design keeps the site status as it was. It has space for everything so the house can be simple and clean all the time.

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5. Tam Dao Villa

Year: 2018
Site Area: 1000 sq.m.
Built Area: 22mx22m
Material: Wood, concrete, cement
Location:Tam Đảo, Vĩnh Phúc Province, Vietnam

Located at the foot of the mountain in Tam Dao town, this is a three-story holiday residence. The house is made up of three square-shaped volumes piled on top of one another, with an open atrium on the ground floor featuring a small fish pond. The design is completed by a series of skylights and long, horizontal corridors that bring natural light inside while blurring the lines between indoor and outside gardening.

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Exterior view 1_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/trc5724-9487.jpg 
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Interior view 2_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/trc5674-8603.jpg 

6. Premier Office

Year: 2021
Site Area: 300sq.m.
Built Area: 200 sq.m.
Material: Clay solid bricks, steel, concrete
Location: 5A1 Nguyen Van Mai street, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

It is an under-construction project that has 7 levels (1 basement, 1 ground floor, 5 upper floors). With its renderings coming to life, you can see an interplay of ratio and proportion in the facade with brick jaalis of increasing heights. 

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Exterior view_©Source:  https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/curtain-officerender-4013.jpg 
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Interior view 1_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/z23639113563202e90dcc7c6f3e79a4c79833adf8e4e31-9291.jpg
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Interior view 2_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/z2394452386861494db34768e6a83be5caf52cfbf24ff4-7951.jpg 
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Interior view 3_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/z239444626168753aebe0146720faf2eb9d627c0702615-5266.jpg 

7. Cuckoo Coffee House

Year: 2019
Site Area: 297.3sq.m.
Built Area: 274 sq.m.
Material: Bricks, steel, concrete
Location: Ho Phi Tich street, Hoa Xuan, Da Nang, Vietnam

The ‘cuckoo home’ is a residence that lies over a ground-floor coffee shop with an outdoor patio. The living quarters of the house are divided into three different volumes connected by outdoor corridors and terraces. The house is built for a family of two parents and two children, with parking on the street level and a stairway leading to the residence above.

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Interior view 2_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/9-1398.jpg 

8. Terra Cotta Studio

Year: 2016
Site Area: 49sq.m.
Built Area: 98 sq.m.
Material: Clay solid bricks, solid wood, concrete, bamboo
Location: Dien Phuong, Dien Ban, Quang Nam Province

Built next to the Thu Bon river, Vietnam is the first country in the world to build a cube-shaped studio for terra cotta artists. The life of this terra cotta studio is dictated by the flow of the river. It is where renowned artist Le Duc Ha works. The structure is a cubed-shaped structure with dimensions of 7m x 7m x 7m. A bamboo frame scaffold surrounds the studio, which is used to dry terra cotta goods. 

The partition walls are created by holes in a brick wall which helps in ventilation and also creates a sense of privacy for the artists from the outside environment. They can also experience calm and relaxing interaction with light and shadows in silence while sitting on the benches at the center. 

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Interior view 2_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/w13-1761.jpg 

9. Long An House

Year: 2017
Site area: 750 sq.m.
Building area: 300 sq.m.
Materials: Brick, Concrete
Location: My Hanh Nam, Ward, Duc Hoa District, Long An Province, Vietnam

The traditional Vietnamese construction features three distinct compartments and a sloped roof, with a modern and strong architectural language. The design team wants a continuous space between the functional sections inside and outside the house so that the children can freely play and roam throughout the house without being hemmed in by distinct walls.

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10. Organicare Showroom

Type of project: Reforming Project
Location: 116 Lê Văn Sỹ, TP. HCM

It is a store that sells traditional Vietnamese fish sauce and organic items. The idea is based on a historic house that was constructed prior to 1975. The home itself has been repaired and expanded numerous times. Tropical Space created a uniform frame system for the façade and interior that serves as shelves to show the products, integrating brick and metal.

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Interior view 1_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/7-8657.jpg 
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11. NDC House

Year: 2016
Site area: 80 sq.m.
Building area: 300 sq.m.
Materials: Brick, Grindstone, Natural wood, Concrete
Location: District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

It is built in a long-standing neighbourhood consisting of small zigzag alleys and houses. The land area of the house has a narrow entrance but has a square rear hatch. The architects take advantage of the special shape of the land to create a design that is open to all directions, all spaces of the house are naturally ventilated, and at the same time give the house a solid shape. 

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Interior view 2_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/7-3716.jpg 

12. Wasp House

Year: 2015
Site area: 24,5 sqm
Building area: 73,5 sqm
Materials: Brick, bare concrete, metal grille
Location: Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This building has multipurpose stairs that act as a key feature, used for planting flowers, hanging out, relaxing, and even reading a book. The brick wall punctured with holes brings in abundant light and supports ventilation. The interiors have a decent and rustic look to elevate the mood. The details and complexities of design elements are simplified to save cost and end up with a minimalistic look.

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Interior view 3_©Source: https://tropicalspaceil.com/upload/baiviet/13-6440.jpg 

13. Tohe Hotel

Status: Unbuilt Project
Site area: 180 sqm
Building area: 423 sqm
Materials: Brick, timber, concrete
Location:  Hoi An city, Vietnam

It is a five-story unbuilt project, expected to get built soon. The 180sq.m. site is located in Hoi An City, Vietnam. The volume of this building is divided based on the functional spaces, it is enclosed by a combination of punctured brick walls and timber grids. Brief balconies are extended out at each level complimented with amazing views and outdoor interaction. The structure is topped off with multiple slopping roofs giving it a unique character. 

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14. Clay Flower Hotel 

This is a boutique hotel located in Mui Ne, Vietnam. The design emerges out of the juxtaposition of perpendicularly aligned rectangles with a central courtyard. The indoor spaces are effortlessly blended into the outdoors with a lot of interactive spaces. The landscape design seems to be a key feature that binds together its whole architecture. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year 2021. 

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Rendered view_©Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL5PI5Qq23M&t=51s 
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Interior view 1_©Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL5PI5Qq23M&t=51s 
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Interior view 2_©Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL5PI5Qq23M&t=51s 

15. Step House 

This is a residential project located in Ho Chi Minh city. The spaces are laid separate on four levels connected with multiple staircases. As the name suggests, the steps are the integral design feature in this structure. The interplay of levels, landings, balconies is what takes the maximum room in the elongated rectangular volume. The intelligent use of materials and textures makes the space breathable and minimalist. 

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Sectional view_©Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-YXi4jBI6I&t=52s 
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Interior view 1_©Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-YXi4jBI6I&t=52s 
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Interiorl view 2_©Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-YXi4jBI6I&t=52s

References

  • Astbury, J., Morris, A., Frearson, A. and Mairs, J., 2021. Tropical Space architecture and news | Dezeen. [online] Dezeen. Available at: <https://www.dezeen.com/tag/tropical-space/
  • Architecture, T., 2021. Tropical Space | Không Gian Nhiệt Đới | Vietnam Architecture. [online] Tropicalspaceil.com. Available at: <https://tropicalspaceil.com/>  
  • Archdaily.com. 2021. ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwide, page. [online] Available at: <https://www.archdaily.com/office/tropical-space>  
  • Magazine, W., 2021. Architects Directory 2020: Tropical Space, Vietnam. [online] Wallpaper*. Available at: <https://www.wallpaper.com/architecture/architects-directory-2020-tropical-space-vietnam
Author

She is midway through her architecture undergraduate, exploring new possibilities to observe and express what interests her in articulated words. Being an INTJ, she has a peculiar perspective around things and is happy alone digging into the rationality of the creative world.

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