MIA Design Studio realizes a private concrete residence covered in greenery and flooded with natural light

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Nguyen Hoang Manh, founder and principal architect of MIA Design Studio, created Villa Tan Dinh, a private residence that gives the impression of a miniature urban park, with open spaces, lots of greenery and multiple water features.

“We want to create as much space as possible for trees in the context of an increasingly narrow and polluted urban space. From this beginning, we hope the house will become a miniature park inside the city,” says Manh.

“The main concept is to create a living space that hovers above the mini-garden, giving the impression of walking on bridges. All the main activities of the house will be connected in an empty area between plants, water and natural light.

Villa Tan Dinh recently received a Green Good Design Award 2022 from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

This residence is designed for a female owner who sincerely desired not only a comfortable but also practical living space located in the center of a busy city.

The goal during the design phase is to create more spaces in the context of diminishing real living space for humans due to contemporary “city building” trends.

When discussing with the owner, the first task to consult is to create a larger garden instead of a few small green areas at the entrance or on the doorstep. The main concept is to create a living space that hovers above a mini-garden, giving the impression of walking on bridges.

All the main activities of the house will be connected throughout the empty area between plants, water as well as natural light.

Another distinguishing feature is the location adjacent to historic Sai Gon buildings such as Tân Định Church and Tân Định Market.

Moreover, the house is located in the middle of District 3 which is considered the most “condensed” district of the city.

Early in the morning or in the afternoon you can clearly hear the church bell, or just leaving the house, after a few steps you can be directly in touch with the atmosphere of the “alley” of Sai Gon, which includes a specialty of urban culture.

Villa Tan Dinh by MIA Design Studio

Similarly, the design team formed a thin layer of steel cover that relatively separates the private spaces and captures the most distinctive ones.

Concrete bridges intersect and stack, the remaining space is a place for man and nature.

In the near future, creepers will spread their stems all over the steel netting system and create a cool green house filter instead of cold concrete and steel.

The use of a roller shutter system has been maximized to clear the separation between exterior and interior; also the thickness of the structure has been taken into account so that the owner can have more space while the house remains warm and hospitable.

Villa Tan Dinh by MIA Design Studio

Its form could be seen as a simple box seen from the outside but from the inside it contains so many layers of space as well as alternations between light and dark intertwined with the raw materials of concrete and stones.

Finally, the house brings comfort to the owner where he can enjoy a “garden” with all the essence of Sai Gon in his own house.

Project: Villa Tan Dinh
Architects: MIA Design Studio
Responsible architect: Nguyen Hoang Manh
Design team: Truong Nguyen Quoc Trung, Pham Thi, Phuong Nhung, Bui Thi Hong Phuong, Bui Hoang Bao, Nguyen Ngoc Thien Phuong and Nguyen Thi Hao
Photographers: Hiroyuki Oki

Joseph E. Golightly