Villa City

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Written by Aleesha Callahan

Photography by Minq Bui

Architecture by Story Architecture

The Playful House

Villa City prioritises space for young children while addressing the need for a home that offers respite from its dense surroundings.

Villa City in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, is set on a small and narrow 117-square-metre site. The clients are a young couple with two small children who came across Story Architecture’s work when flicking through a magazine. Their brief was simple – desiring a home that could offer equal parts sanctuary and play space. The timing of the project coincided with the outbreak of Covid-19 where schools and hospitality venues were closed. In this context, the design needed to deliver a home that met the various needs of the occupants – places to rest and reset for the parents, and plenty of room to play and learn for the kids.

Working within the constraints of a narrow plot within a dense city context, architect Kava Nguyen of Story Architecture says, “the planning of residential areas interspersed with the working area of Ho Chi Minh City makes the land area to build houses very small, leading to a decrease in the quality of life.”

Using the challenges of building in such a dense city to its advantage, Story Architecture brought in green elements while having ample rooms and spaces for alternative uses. Nguyen shares that this feature of the planning and inspiration, “was based on the owners’ earnest need for a relaxed living space in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic”.

Trees and planting on the ground floor grow up through a central atrium as a way to bring nature inside – an antidote to the intensity of the city. A deliberate decision that Nguyen elaborates is necessary given the climate, “Vietnam’s climate is a humid tropical climate, especially in Ho Chi Minh City with a dense population density and dense dust, so the ventilation system for light and trees on this project is very suitable”.

Villa City incorporates many playful additions including a treehouse and climbing frame for the children, set within the internal garden, and a pool on the rooftop. These considerations allow for plenty of entertainment and activities when inside. Circulation spaces like a balcony connecting the parents and children’s room are spacious enough to be used as additional play space. Bedrooms are fitted with large windows that look down into the central atrium, while natural light is drawn in all the way to the ground floor to create a comfortable and airy living environment.

When reflecting on the practice’s approach to design, Nguyen shares: “We strive to create a quality living space of a small villa in Ho Chi Minh City.”

Dissection Information

ARCHITECT Story Architecture




Dulux paint.

By client.

Toto sanitary ware.

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