Maison KN / Nghia-Architect

Maison KN / Nghia-Architect

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Text description provided by the architects. Maison KN is an individual house – stands as a distinctive dwelling nestled within the historic core of Hanoi, amidst an area characterized by dense urban construction, boasting one of the highest building densities in the city. This location bears the scars of some of the most intense bombardments by the US military during the Vietnam War. As a result, the area underwent rapid post-war reconstruction with minimal urban planning intervention, resulting in tightly clustered alleyways and narrow passages, often lacking adequate natural light and ventilation.

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Commissioned for the two grown children of a longstanding Hanoi family, Maison KN emerged from the necessity to readjust to a living space that mitigated the constraints of their former neighborhood. Additionally, the demands of remote work necessitated a centrally located yet semi-autonomous living arrangement, close to family ties but not entirely cohabited, ensuring a degree of privacy. Thus, the house was conceptualized as a future-proof dwelling for two potential small families of siblings.

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The design brief mandated the creation of a self-contained, inward-focused residence that ensured both openness and comfort. Here, every aspect of living, working, and leisure was thoughtfully integrated. Furthermore, the outdoor garden space was maximized to function as an ecological sanctuary capable of cultivating various greens within its unique microclimate – sustainable living – a lavish aspiration given the urban context of the site. Maison KN has a very clear identity from the outside of the facade. The idea was formed from identifying the surrounding area when viewed from above. Where chaos is created by the non-linear contours of the surrounding rooftops, this randomness is “reflected” by random solid and empty patches on the facade of the building. From the inside, this façade creates different visual frames according to the elevations of each floor.

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The special highlight of the interior space is located in the garden on the 3rd floor, which is the space connecting the inside with the outside and is also a buffer space that ensures ventilation but still privacy from the houses directly opposite. In this sense, the concept aims to create a floating walkway within the space, connecting the two levels of the house. Using steel framework but shaping it with soft, fluid lines, resembling a thin strip of silk. Perforated steel and mesh were chosen to create transparency, making everything feel much lighter.

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This design brings a unique experience in the interior space, where the circulation path simultaneously brings in as much natural light as possible to the garden and penetrates deeply below, where natural light is difficult to access from the narrow front facade of the house. The house is also a green and sustainable housing unit when the use of natural light and ventilation is optimized, rainwater is collected and used for the natural development of the gardens. The flora is grown and developed based on a circulatory biosystem. Plants are irrigated with a stored rainwater system, and organic fertilizers are used entirely from existing dead vegetation, creating a mini-ecosystem of circulating plants in the house.

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