3×9 House is located on a narrow street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Named for the size of the lot it sits on, 3×9 House is an older house that was renovated under the direction of Vietnamese firm a21studio. Their objective was to make the home a more pleasant and practical space for two people.
The exterior was freshened with vertical wood louvers that give the small house a distinctive presence in a crowded streetscape. The glass entrance door opens to reveal an unexpected sight, an evergreen tree growing inside the house and stretching through the ceiling into the upper story. The floor above and around the tree consists of spaced wooden planks with holes to accommodate the tree’s branches.
The lower level is one long and narrow open room. The tree acts as a divider between an entry space and the sitting area, and the kitchen and dining space is at the far end. An exposed framework of tubular steel reinforces the structure and supports the upper floor. The architects combined the painted steel, polished concrete floors, the textured masonry of the walls, and the clean lines of the wood built-ins for a very contemporary look.
Competing for attention with the tree is the staircase against the opposite wall with its open wooden treads suspended from the floor above by steel rods. With no windows on the ground floor except for the glass front door, the spaced plank floor and the open stair allow much-needed sunlight to filter down from a huge operable skylight in the roof above. Air can likewise circulate between the floors and the open skylight.
The upper story puts the open bedroom at one end of the floor plan and the combination bathroom and laundry at the other, with the tree growing in the middle. Again the only window is at the front of the house, in the bathroom, and so the architects gave the bathroom a wall of translucent glass.
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