in the coastal village of nam dinh, vietnamese studio nghia-architect re-envisions the traditional countryside vernacular with a house entitled ‘maison A.’ the project, designed for the aging mother of the client, makes use of contextual motifs as well as traditional materiality and construction techniques. this design strategy offers the occupant a return to childhood life in a vibrant, contemporary realization. the studio combines the nam dinh countryside brick housing vernacular with in-depth material research in order to seamlessly introduce the comfort of modern living to the coastal village.

nghia-architects maison A
all images by tuan nghia nguyen



nghia-architect designed ‘maison A’ as a formalization of imagery drawn from bygone memories. during initial consultations, the client recalls the banana trees once native to the site. to physically express this memory, a hand-pressed ‘intaglio’ method of engravement is applied to transfer the tactile surface of the banana leaf onto the surface of the concrete interior wall. the design team worked closely with local craftsmen in order to achieve this effect.

nghia-architects maison A



the unpredictable coastal climate of nam dinh frequently faces large storms. in response to this condition,the facade of the house is comprised of three layers. the expressive, outermost layer is made from ‘bat trang’ floral ventilation bricks which bring daylight, delicate floral shadows, and fresh air into the house. the innermost skin is a protective layer of operable glazing. an interstitial air-gap filled with live foliage makes up the facade’s third layer, further filtering natural light and trapping solar gain released from the custom brickwork.

nghia-architects maison A



local crafting methods are refined using contemporary techniques. an interior wall made from a traditional laterite ‘hive stone’ expresses the natural rugged materiality of the nearby son tay region. because of its roughness and imprecision, this hive stone is not typically used for an interior wall. local stone craftsmen are challenged to introduce an arched window to connect the bedroom and living space, refining the process in order to match the architectural precision that the project requires.

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project info:


project name: maison A

architect: nghia-architect

lead architects: tuan nghia nguyen

project location: nam định, việt nam

completion year: 2017

built area: 78m2

photography: tuan nghia nguyen