Monday 18 Aug 2014
Vietnam's fast development has led to significant urban problems; less greenery, electricity shortages and flooding. An increasing number of motorbikes means more traffic jams and serious air pollution. ‘Greenfall renovation' is a prototypical single house renovation in Hanoi, designed against this backdrop by Vo Trong Nghia Architects to return greenery to the city and encourage a comfortable living environment to residents and neighbours alike.
At 15 years old, the existing house suffered from a dim, dark, wet and moldy environment, which is typical for many of the older houses in Hanoi. The architects decided to renovate the house, providing greenery and an abundance of light. The existing concrete staircase was replaced with a more slender steel one, creating a triangular light well through which natural light and ventilation now circulates via a skylight.
Another void was cut into the first floor slab to connect the dining space on the ground floor with a study on the first floor, encouraging communication between residents and bringing sunlight through the green façade deep into the house. The ground floor was raised to install an air ventilation layer beneath. This will prevent rising damp and condensation, a frequent problem in Hanoian houses with the change of seasons.
The house is characterised by its green façade named ‘Greenfall', a pleasant green waterfall that can be viewed from the interior and exterior of the building. Old security fences were removed and replaced with a galvanized steel trellis, attached to the existing balcony, on which climbers grow. These balconies are transformed into green spaces that can be enjoyed by residents and also neighbours as an attractive leafy-scape to the streets.
The green façade and the roof garden function together to reduce energy consumption, protecting the building from harsh Western sunlight. Many kinds of vegetables and flowers are planted on the green roof, as well as a tree.
This system of a green façade and roof is prototypical and applicable to all buildings in tropical climates. It is hoped that this project will be a modest model for the development of buildings in tropical cities, where the benefits of a healthy green home can be shared by the occupant and also have a wider positive impact on the city.