Border House: Revitalizing Traditional Vietnamese Architecture

In Vietnam’s countryside, Worklounge 03 transforms a 2000s-era L-shaped house into the stunning Border House. This renovation project, completed in 2023, seamlessly blends the indoor and outdoor spaces, creating a harmonious connection between the elderly couple living there and their son’s family. By incorporating a Japanese-inspired porch and strategically designed circulation paths, the design enhances the residents’ comfort and independence, while preserving the strong ties within the rural community.

Ornate brick-and-tile villa with tropical garden courtyard and panoramic city views.
Ornate wooden ceiling, natural stone features, and lush indoor greenery create a harmonious ambiance.
Inviting indoor-outdoor space with wooden ceiling, lush vegetation, and natural stone accents.
Ornate wooden beams and trusses form the striking architectural framework of this interior.
Rustic wooden pavilion with tropical plants and lush greenery surrounding a spacious deck.
Wooden pavilion with tropical garden and paved pathways, showcasing architectural design.
A lush, tropical interior with wooden architecture, hanging plants, and a covered walkway.
Vibrant terracotta roof tiles, lush greenery, and a minimalist stone patio create a serene oasis.
A traditional Chinese-style building with intricate wooden architecture and lush vegetation surrounding it.
Tropical-inspired courtyard with traditional brick architecture and lush vegetation.

About Border House

In 2023, Worklounge 03 embarked on a transformative renovation project in a rural village near Hanoi, Vietnam. Firstly, the existing L-shaped, two-story house, built in the 2000s, surrounded a central courtyard and belonged to an elderly couple.

Bridging the Gap Between Indoor and Outdoor

Recognizing the importance of the semi-outdoor spaces in the hot, humid Vietnamese climate, the designers installed an “Engawa” (Japanese-style porch) to reconnect the interior and exterior. Additionally, the courtyard’s tiled flooring was replaced with a layout that encourages gardening, allowing the elderly couple to enjoy the outdoor spaces.

Accommodating Multigenerational Living

Furthermore, the team incorporated a separate circulation path leading to the second-floor living area, enabling the son’s family to access their space independently during visits. This design decision respects the desire for both independence and togetherness within the multigenerational household.

Embracing Local Traditions and Materials

Interestingly, the designers drew inspiration from the local “Dinh,” a gathering place in the village, to inform the roof design. By using materials from the Dinh’s renovation, the project aimed to strengthen the ties within the community. Additionally, a star fruit tree was planted in the family living room, serving as a symbolic gesture.

Optimizing for Privacy and Comfort

On the west side of the family living room, a brise soleil with a planter was installed, providing privacy and protection from the western sun while also functioning as a green wall interior feature.

Overall, the “Border House” renovation by Worklounge 03 in Vietnam successfully blended local traditions, multigenerational needs, and modern design elements to create a harmonious and adaptive living environment for the elderly couple and their family.

Photography courtesy of Worklounge 03
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- by Matt Watts