Tag Archives: district 3

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

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