District 3, Saigon, Vietnam Oct 18 2009

5 Nov

View from Duyen's Roof Patio, watercolor and ink Erin Lau © 2009

In Vietnam, houses are skinny, to avoid taxes based on the width of buildings. (You can see that brick one in the distance is only about 10′ wide, maybe less) On the flip side, they are also very deep, creating some dark, cavernous spaces. My friend Duyen’s house, which she rents, is off a 3 foot wide side alley, and has 5 interior levels. Open perforations in the walls let fresh air in, as well as any itinerant urban bugs, giving a sense of permeability that can’t be acheived in colder climates, like where I live. Or, for that matter, in a country with strict building codes. I felt compelled to draw a cross section of her house, because it made me think about how minor variations in section can create that necessary boundary between room functions, and private/ public space. The bottom level, for instance, is like the muck room, or garage, thats where the motorbikes and wet shoes go. Above that you enter into the more sacred realm of the house. Thats all for my architecty tangent.


Section looking South East


Ink version of rooftop view


2 Responses to “District 3, Saigon, Vietnam Oct 18 2009”

  1. Anna November 5, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

    I especially like the watercolor at the top. Lovely colors and shapes!

  2. Andy March 9, 2010 at 2:51 am #

    I love the watercolor above. My wife and I visited Vietnam last May and had a great adventure – saigon, da nang (my personal favorite) and phu quoc. I took several pictures of the roofline from our 7th story hostel at dawn (awoke every so often to the sound of the crane lifting backpacks up to the 5th floor) and would like to see it as a painting.

    Any interest in doing a commissioned watercolor?

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