Hoi An’s House of Trees

Nick Myall
04 Jan 2017

The old town of Hoi An has gone through considerable change as it adapts to a new era of tourism including the development of this verdant hotel

Atlas Hotel Hoi An, designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects, is located in Hoi An’s Old Town in Vietnam; an area which has rapidly grown since it was officially named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Recently, most of the ancient houses have been converted into shops and restaurants to serve the daily influx of tourists. The neighbourhood is well known for its beautiful tiled-roofscape and its internal courtyards that provide a layered spatial quality between the inner and outer spaces. However, this quality has been slowly eroded due to chaotic commercial activity. 

As a consequence the Old Town has lost a lot of its original charm and much of its calm and peaceful lifestyle. Located on an irregular plot of land, the design approach to the Atlas Hotel is to turn this constraint into its unique character. The linear layout is divided into several internal courtyards, and by lifting the building above the site, it completely frees the ground floor to create an inter-connected network of courtyards. This spatial quality reflects the dynamism of the new Hoi An but also retains the charm of the Old Town. 

The five story hotel includes 48 guest rooms as well as various leisure functions such as a restaurant, café, rooftop bar, spa, gym and swimming pool. Due to the complexity of the site, each guest room is shorter and wider than typical hotel rooms. Rather than being a problem, this presented an opportunity for the rooms to have greater access to greenery not only from the bedroom but also from the bathroom. The building façade is clad with locally-sourced sandstone pieces used in combination with an exposed concrete slab and a series of planters along the corridors. 

The planters are arranged along the entire façade of the hotel not only provides solar shading but also allows cooler air to ventilate the spaces. In addition, the perforated stone walls admit daylight without blocking air flow. This scheme allows the place to be naturally ventilated to minimise the use of air conditioner. The use of these green and natural elements embodies the particular interest of the office and the House for Trees concept: to integrate greenery into design as a way to rejuvenate urban areas and to contribute to societal improvement. At its core, Atlas Hotel reconnects man with nature.

Nick Myall

News editor

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