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The 7×7 House is a tropical living space put together by IZ Architects, for a single female homeowner. The home design was influenced by its location in Danang, a central coastal city of Vietnam where the climate has dramatic changes between sunny and rain seasons and sees tropical storms each year. The team were asked to create a flexible linking space to reflect the way of life here, where local people lead an open and friendly existence influenced by Buddhism. The lead architect looked at small rural houses around the coastal countryside of Vietnam and was inspired by their humble and zen living spaces.
A beautiful living tree inhabits a the light void by the stairwell, and provides a view to many rooms of the home. Interlinking rooms were fashioned to evoke a feeling of closeness and free-flowing energy through the home. There was a clear meeting of minds between the architect and the homeowner in that they wished to build an effective, ecological and friendly house, which would take advantage of the natural features of the region.
An arched cutout in the side of the living room frames reaching tree branches, which seek the natural sunlight. An exposed brick wall makes a warm and textured backdrop to the tree’s contrasting green foliage. Inside the living room, the decor is wood tone and raw concrete. White nesting coffee tables sit on top of an area of decorative tile, which bring a little pattern and colour to the lounge arrangement. A grey living room accent chair is dressed with a fresh blue scatter cushion.
We find a repeat of the patterned tile in the hallway courtyard, this time covering a set of steps that are separate from the main staircase. The adjoining step is formed as part of the concrete planter that holds the indoor tree. The tree helps make the small home interior feel larger and airy, and links the two floors of the house.
At first glance, the open treads of the wooden staircase appear to float freely up to the first floor.
Natural sunlight from above plays over the concrete courtyard.
Widely spaced spindles keep the look open and airy.
An L-shaped kitchen diner occupies one corner of the ground floor living room. A white marble worktop meets a solid wood breakfast bar counter that looks onto the courtyard.
The L-shaped kitchen with with a peninsula also looks upon another courtyard void with planting behind the sink area. The dining bench is secured to the ceiling at one end; it’s equipped with wooden kitchen stools at one side, and a dining bench to the other to provide plenty of room for company.
The familiar blue and yellow ochre patterned tile make up the kitchen backsplash below a bank of open kitchen shelving and dish racks.
The house plan incorporates two light wells that allow a cool breeze and natural sunlight to filter into the house. Climate challenges have also been addressed by the fact that the site area is very small, and three sides of the house is hidden from the elements.
The bedroom has a simplistic and fresh decor scheme, which is suited to the region.
A set of interior window shutters open up toward the internal courtyard, providing a view of the resident tree’s highest boughs.
The interior window links the bedroom space with the downstairs of the home. The wooden shutters make a picturesque backdrop to a small sitting area, which is furnished with a bedroom accent chair and footstool plus a small side table.
A set of figurines placed on a shelf below a wall hung television depict the age-old directive of ‘Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil’. Wooden wardrobes are topped with more open storage shelves. A door inside the bedroom leads to an ensuite bathroom.
Inside the bathroom, decorative white fretwork lets in sunlight from a light void positioned within the build – which is the same light well that is home to the plant behind the kitchen sink downstairs. A wall mounted vanity unit has a light wood towel shelf topped with smooth white marble. A matching wood framed mirror spans the wash zone. The vanity wall of the bathroom backs onto an upstairs utility room.
A shower enclosure separates a wash zone that includes a standing shower area and a bathtub with its own over-bath shower head. Textured grey bathroom tiles cover all of the walls inside and out of the wet zone, and clad the side of the fitted bathtub.
A variety of recessed lighting designs illuminate the home. Uplighters have been focussed upon the courtyard tree for dramatic effect.
The dining area in the kitchen falls completely open to the courtyard, providing a most spacious effect. Concrete flooring runs seamlessly between the two spaces, and honey coloured woodtone unites the areas further. A door behind the staircase leads to a downstairs cloakroom, ideal for guests. The other door to the right leads to storage. The archway gives access to the light void that is home to the kitchen’s feature plant.
Despite the use of raw material and hard edges within the interior, the home has a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
A white concrete exterior matches the white walls within.
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