The Vietnamese firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently completed the so-called Binh House in Ho Chi Minh City. While it is made of concrete, which is not the most sustainable material, they have found a way to cool it naturally. It also has many plants softening up its façade, which makes it a welcome island of greenery within the city. The firm is planning to build other such houses as part of their House for Trees series.
Binh House measures 2,507 sq ft (233 sq m) and is comprised of three floors. All the areas of the home are carefully arranged to allow for privacy. In an effort to keep the interior cool they also put a lot of thought into the layout of the rooms. Thus, the kitchen, bathrooms, stairs, and corridors are located on the west side of the home, and shield the living room, dining room and bedrooms so that they are kept naturally cool. This is also achieved by the ample greenery and the stacked layout of the house, which enable the pressure imbalance between the air inside and outside to be drawn in automatically and thus aid ventilation. The latter is also aided by the many sliding glass doors they installed. An AC is installed, but according to the architects it was not needed since the home was completed in 2016.
The greenery that covers the exterior includes a fruit tree garden on the roof, as well as a terraced vegetable garden along the façade. The plants are planted in planters and also give the occupants privacy. There is also an indoor garden in the lounge, and a small garden in the home’s courtyard.
While using only concrete to build a house in a hot and humid climate such as the one in Ho Chi Minh City might not be the best idea on paper, the architects seemed to have made it work in this case.