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3×9 House



Type of Building: Residential Building
New / Refurbished: New
Status: Operational Stage
Year of construction: 2011
Gross Floor Area: 54 sq.m

The building is a residential house located in a high density urban area in the center of Ho Chi Minh City. It has a frontage to an alley of approximately 3metres in width. The building footprint takes up 100% of the site area (SA) which is 27m² and has a total Gross Floor Area (GFA) of 54m². Spacial functions of the house are:
• First Floor: Living room, kitchen and dining.
• Second Floor: Bed room and Bathroom
The building has been designed around an existing tree, which links the two separate floors and it’s spacial functions.
The site as mentioned in the building description, is 3 x 9 metres (site area = 27m²) and is bound on three sides by other houses of three to five floors in height. The soil classification of Ho Chi Minh City is typical for Cuu Long Delta which is a layered alluvium. Hence a lighter and smaller two storied building was better suited for these soil conditions.













Passive Design

Orientation and Sun control:
The building frontage is orientated South and is therefore potentially exposed to a maximum of 10 to 14 hours of sunlight per day (seasonal differences). However, the house is completely surrounded by other houses that are between three and five floors high. The solution was to focus on exploiting the existing conditions to advantage the building by:
• A lower building would make use of the overshadowing of surrounding buildings to reduce direct sunlight.
• The vertical timber slats on the façade and similarly located internal slatted skylight diffusers prevent direct sunlight entering the building
• Functional and habitable areas of the house are located on the far side to the façade – away from direct sunlight. These areas are buffered by the courtyard and atrium space located around the existing tree. The intention was to create a microclimate that would aid conditioning the interior environment by reducing the temperature by avoiding direct sunlight (radiant heat) entering.

Natural ventilation
Natural ventilation is based on the principle of internal convection air flow which aims to create an air movement due to pressure changes created by temperature fluctuation in the space. Cool air enters the house due to this pressure change and the buffer zone acts as a duct that pulls the hot warm air out of the building via the opening skylight.

Natural daylighting
The architects have maximized natural lighting to the house by designing a diffused light shading to all skylight windows. This solution prevents direct sunlight entering the house and unwanted radiant heat, but does not sacrifice functioning lighting levels during daylight hours.

case 2 -2_1

Internal Green Space
The Architects designed the building in context with the existing conditions, with the intention of drawing as much advantage from the site as possible. Retaining the existing tree offered an opportunity to design the house around a landscape element, creating an interior garden integrated into the building envelope without taking away floor area. Although the height of the tree extends beyond the first floor, it’s branches punctuate through openings in the floor boards into the atrium space of this area. The tree links and is visible as a green element to both levels. The health of the tree is maintained because it receives sunlight via the diffuse skylight despite being located inside the building.

3x9 lighting_1

Design Approach:

The building was designed to optimize passive design so that there would be less reliance on electrical and mechanical services for the building. A reduced reliance of air-conditioning was achieved due to the natural ventilation opportunities (where in HCM, 100% reliance on A/C to condition the internal environment is common) and the installation of energy efficient lighting helping to reduce energy requirements.

Design of the Water Supply System
The building is a domestic house connected to municipal water supply and follows regulatory standards. In Ho Chi Minh city, hot water is not mandatory for domestic houses because the climate is on average hot. The architects chose to focus on water saving measures for the house by specifying water saving devices with green standards such as water efficient toilets, installing sensor faucets and other plumbing devices that have the function of easy maintenance to ensure the durability of hydraulic fixtures for the building.

Materials used in the building for both structure and internal linings are conventional materials that have high thermal density such as: brick, wall board, terracotta tiles. Plantation timber was used for interior and exterior finishes. All glazing was specified with a heat reflecting layer to reduce heat transfer.

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