Seasonal House
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Seasonal House


Thi Sach, Hanoi, Vietnam

Type of Building: Residential Building
New / Refurbished: Refurbished
Status: Operational Stage
Year of construction: 1999
Gross Floor Area: 155 sq.m

The ‘Seasonal House’ is located in a small alley off Thi Sach Street in Hanoi. The house is an original renovated French Colonial home with a building foot print floor area of approximately 45m2. The client approached the architect with the request to increase the usable space to accommodate their growing family. This included an additional 2 bedrooms and new kitchen.

The total land area is 90m2. Instead of following the typical approach of creating a foundation basement of 90m2 surrounded by a boundary wall, the architect took a different approach. It was important to retain the original architecture and it’s harmonious relationship with the surrounding environment and urban context. The architect retained the front original building and built a second building behind it. A large courtyard links the two masses and creates a unique microclimate for the home owners that gives comfort in both Winter and Summer. The courtyard allows for natural day light and provides a direct connection to the landscape and trees where the occupants can live in harmony with all four seasons and provides a sanctuary in the heart of the noisy and crowded capital Hanoi.

Total construction cost and interior finishing is 400 mil. VND in 1999.

Design: V-Architecture
Image: E4G project






Designer/Supervision Consultants







Natural conditions

The house front faces South and is located at the end of a small alley off Thi Sach Street. This orientation reduces the impact of excessive solar radiation, however it is not so easy to take advantage of the prevailing wind direction in Hanoi.


front view of `Seasonal House’ in the alley off Thi Sach Street

bieu do mat troi nha Bon Mua

Sun path of the `Seasonal House’

`Seasonal House’ is made up of two distinct blocks. The front block is the original French Colonial House built somewhere between (1873 – 1954) , the block behind was built in 1999 new to provide additional space according to the client’s brief to increase the total usable space of the site. The renovated front block and new block are connected by a courtyard.

General view of `Seasonal House’



Daylight design

  • The internal elevations facing the courtyard of all three new rooms are glazed. There is a high degree of natural daylight and little need for additional artificial lighting during the day.
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  • The bedroom on the third floor has a transparent polycarbonate ceiling to maximize natural light.
  • The stairs and corridor spaces in the courtyard are constructed of metal sheet with openings which allows sunlight through

Skylight to first floor kitchen


Skylight to first floor kitchen


Shading and heat gain reduction

The new block built at the rear of the site, has a higher window to wall ratio however this does not excessively increase solar radiation in the summer months and the house is still able to be kept cool without the use of the air conditioner.

sun path in June

sun path in December

Sun path in September

interior daylighting in September

In summer, because the sun is at it’s zenith , at it’s maximum angle in the sky, the glazed facade is shaded from direct sunlight, while the giant crape-myrtle trees with large leaves also helps to shade the rooms. The crape-myrtle trees themselves contribute largely to cooling the courtyard and the connecting living spaces.

In winter, the sun has a lower angle in the sky and the sun’s rays can penetrate deeper into the rooms. During winter, the leaves of the giant crape-myrtle trees have dropped and do not obstruct the warming sun’s rays entering into the rooms.


Winter spring



The skylight is a sliding construction that can be opened in the summer and closed in winter. It enhances air circulation in summer and allows for an increase in solar radiation heat in winter.

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Natural ventilation

Open space to the rear creates ventilation for rooms at the back of the house. These rooms have openable doors for inlet and outlet air which increases natural ventilation for the house.

1 3

Natural ventilation analysis of a closed door for outlet air (left) and open door for outlet air (right) for the rear block.

Bieu do phan tich thong gio tu nhien - vasary
The house has ample open space large enough to facilitate natural ventilation for all the rooms, such as the courtyard in the middle, the atrium and the space at the rear the house.
For a tube house in the city, courtyard space and operable skylights are important spaces and design devices to allow for natural ventilation. However, it is important that the designer understands how to utilize and design these spaces to promote air circulation for these constraining site conditions.

Analysis of vertical and horizontal natural ventilation for the whole building

The corridors and stairs of all three floors are assembled from metal or timber planks with openings which enables vertical air circulation easily.

nha-bon-mua-3 IMG_7716


Green space

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The house has a courtyard which is large enough to accommodate a giant crape-myrtle tree. The living spaces such as the bedroom, dining room and bathroom surround the courtyard and the tree. The courtyard itself would be a living space for the whole family in the summer or fall. The giant crape-myrtle will blossom and the leaves fall, with changing seasons giving the family members a direct connection to nature and it’s variation year round – providing a unique experience not found in typical tube houses.
The house despite being located in the center of a big city with an area of only 90m2 has created a better quality of life for the family members by creating a close connection to nature and this house demonstrates that it is possible to have a garden suitable for year round use in the climate of the North.

The entire interior of the new rear block including the beds, wardrobes, tables, chairs, clothes hanger … are made of bamboo. This environmentally friendly material reduces deforestation, soil erosion, provides soil stability and promotes sustainable farming systems. Bamboo has a fast growth rate and short harvest time (a turnaround period of 2 to 3 years) and consequently has the ability to reduce emissions by 12 tons of CO2 per hectare of bamboo tree planted compared with other trees.

The interior was designed to be harmonious with the surrounding traditional architecture and environment and to create a beautiful living space.

0 0 1915 07 August, 2014 August 7, 2014
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