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Lam Cafe


105B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai

Type of Building: Others
New / Refurbished: New
Status: Operational Stage
Year of construction: 2011
Gross Floor Area: 350 sq.m

Lam Café located in the centre of Nha Trang City was awarded the “2012 Vietnam Green Architecture Award” of the Vietnam Association of Architects.

Third Party Verified: No
Source of Information: A21 Studio
Methods of data collection: interviews with manager and data collection via email.

Photograph Credit: OKI Hiroyuki
Design Credit: A21 Studio













Passive Design

Orientation and Shading
Lam Cafe is located in the centre of Nha Trang City, a marine environment that is consistently hot where sunlight and wind are abundant throughout the year. The long facades of the building are orientated towards the East and West directions and are shadowed by neighboring residential buildings, despite this Lam Cafe maintains good solar exposure. This is in part achieved by an open floor plan that incorporates a unique louver design that allows for sunlight to penetrate into the interior spaces. The shape of the roof is also designed to respond to the site’s existing conditions by providing shading in three directions (which also helps to counter solar reflection from the windows of neighboring houses) except for the South where maximum daylight exposure is desirable.

lam cafe 05
The building’s roof is a design feature, it slopes down almost to the ground level, aiming to create not only a shaded cool environment for the interior space but it also aids air circulation between the indoor and outside environments as explained in the next section, natural ventilation.

lam cafe 03
Natural ventilation
Natural ventilation inside the building was designed around the principle of indoor convection airflow, which is the airflow that is created by the pressure changes due to differences in temperatures. The roof design creates this temperature displacement by the variation of shading and also aided by wind gaps that intensify convection by the vertical mounted louvers on the façade, optimizing the natural ventilation for the building.

lam cafe 01
The timber louver system is not only an aesthetic feature that contributes to natural ventilation, it also provides an unique structural vertical support system. At a glance, the drop shadow effect of the louvers creates a variety of special experiences for the building’s users at different locations inside the building whilst allowing for a visual connection between the inside and outside environment. Additionally energy consumption is reduced because the louvers allow for free airflow and natural daylight as opposed to a reliance on artificial lighting and mechanical conditioning.

lam cafe 04
Internal Green Space
Before the construction of Lam Café, the site was used as a small garbage collection area for the neighborhood. This 859 m2 was leveled and transformed with the building of the new 350m2 cafe and garden. The white stones and green planting creates a serene and beautiful environment, and also assists in reducing the heat island effect because of the pervious nature of the stones and additional shading and non radiating heat qualities created by the soft landscaping.

lam cafe 02

Active Design 

Lam Café was one of the buildings awarded the “2012 Vietnam Green Architecture Award” by the Vietnam Association of Architects because the design was both aesthetic and functional in its non reliance on artificial lighting methods and with the exception of the occasional use of fan system to enhance convection inside the building, is naturally cooled and ventilated. The lighting system that exists is mainly used at night and is more decorative as opposed to functional. The building was designed to specifically take advantage of the climatic characteristics of the marine environment to perform as passively as possible.


Design of water supply system

Due to the function of the building as a café, the Water supply was based on standard installation. A small rainwater tank is used to collect rainwater to irrigate the landscaped yard.

Most of the materials used in the building were sourced from locally sourced resources. The roof for example is made up of three layers. The innermost layer is comprised of coconut leaves then tile, and finally fishing net. The intention is that In the near future, planting will be introduced on the roof. Partitions used both internally and externalyl were constructed of high endurance timber and bamboo. The additional advantage in the use of local materials was the reduction in construction time and cost of transport.

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