They say a good tradesperson never blames their tools, but one Vietnamese architecture studio refuses to blame the space they have to work with. The firm is called ODDO Architects, and the team has successfully designed an entire family home on a tiny block of land in densely populated Hanoi, which measures just six meters deep and four meters wide.
A few years back, tiny homes were having a moment in the sun, as people realised they didn’t actually need all the space they once thought they did. For much of the world, the tiny homes movement was linked variously to post-GFC belt-tightening and the movement to pursue a more Minimalist lifestyle. However, in Hanoi, tiny homes aren’t just built because of the subprime mortgage crisis or lifestyle consciousness – they’re built because there simply isn’t any other space.
The home designed by ODDO Architects, called TH House, is surrounded on four sides by other buildings, with access gained through a slim 1.2-metre wide alley that leads to the front door. For context, the 24m² block is approximately the same size as an average American car park, meaning every millimetre counts. The dwelling is split across five floors, with one main room on each level, removing the need for hallways and connecting the rooms with an open staircase.
The building was specifically designed to maximise light, airflow and a connection to nature, all three of which serve to insulate the home from the hustle and bustle of the tightly packed suburb. This feeling of openness is created with glass facades and lightwells that connect all of the levels, as well as by trees and plants that emphasise a sense of being surrounded by nature.
The ground floor acts as the kitchen and dining room, as well as a space to welcome visitors to the home upon arrival. The second floor is taken up entirely by the living room, as well as the first tree that grows up into the lightwell. Bedrooms are located on the first and third levels to offer maximum privacy between occupants, which also feature their own ensuite bathrooms.
The uppermost level is dedicated to a small altar room for the family to pray to their ancestors, separate storage space, and a balcony that offers views across the neighbourhood rooftops. The balcony is home to yet more trees, allowing the occupants to see greenery on every level of the building.
The TH House is a cleverly executed use of space by ODDO Architects. Not only has the firm managed to create a dwelling large enough for an entire family, but they’ve designed the home to feel more open and light-filled than you might imagine possible for such a small block. Housing and land prices in Sydney and Melbourne are certainly intimidating at the moment, but TH House offers a good example of how we can rethink what is possible in the space we have.