Floating Nest, like many other tube houses in Saigon, is located on a narrow lot (4x12m) in a crowded residential area of the city, which is blocked by neighboring buildings on three sides, having only one side facing the exterior, yet, toward the West. Coming to NgNg, the owner, passionate about gardening, wanted foremost an airy and relaxing space after a tiring working day, with abundant green areas to satisfy her hobby back in the countryside.
To resolve the above-mentioned constraints while enhancing natural lighting and ventilation, we decided to omit partition walls within the house, using "greenery" and " void" to separate functional spaces. There are three large voids: a front and a back gardens, spanning all three floors, separating the streets and the house; a central lightwell, across the two upper floors, separating the home office from the resting area, the garden from the place of worship. Small gardens are used similarly to separate the interior and exterior; the toilet and bedroom or kitchen; the bedrooms and stairs. This solution creates smooth spatial transition while ensuring that all functional spaces are in contact with nature.
Materials used are a combination of contemporary and traditional, reminiscent of spaces in Vietnamese villages: bamboo, wood, combined with glass, iron. Bamboo is a natural material that is plentiful locally, both environmentally friendly and economical. The bamboo screen that runs the length of the façade - the "rattan walls" in traditional architecture in Vietnamese countryside, protects the whole house from the severe West sunlight and maintain a high degree of privacy. Besides, the woven bamboos allow for natural ventilation. This bamboo curtain rolls up to shade the rooftop. The CNC iron partitions with cut leaves, a stylized version of the traditional wind screen (bình phong), function as a light and air convection device. CNC iron is also used as sunshades on balconies and for the entrance gate. They altogether create the feeling of a house as an open, connected whole. The bamboo ceiling at the backyard skylight, right over the stairs, is made up of vertical bamboo stick. This enables a visual connection with the façade while serving as a sunshade. It also lets light go through, creating not only interesting shadows but also happy sounds like wind chimes hung in gardens.
Thin sheet iron is used for architectural components that are often built with concrete such as stairs, plant pots, balconies, sunshades to reduce structural weight. Moreover, they are designed to look like being hung freely in the air. This material is also used as the backdrop for the alter, worshipping area – the most important space within the house, which extends into the lower floor and becomes the meditation space. These different strategies make the whole house feel light, as if it were floating in a large green space and filled with light. At dusk, when the sun sets, the light from inside the house shines through the gaps between the bamboo trunks and the leave cuts on the iron walls, making the house look like a lantern in the middle of the neighborhood.