House for Trees is composed of detached buildings whose roofs act like giant planters.
In densely populated urban neighborhoods, it’s almost a miracle to see a spot of lush green.
Vietnamese architecture studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects (VTN) hopes to keep cities from becoming completely devoid of greenery, and to do just that it has created a prototypical house made of separate structures that act as giant pot plants to hold trees and plants on their rooftops.
Named the House For Trees, VTN’s prototypical house is a two-bedroom home and consists of five concrete boxes that are designed to be “pots” and hold trees on top. The architects told Dezeen that they chose to plant banyan trees on the tops of the boxes because this specific type of tree has aerial roots and fewer underground roots – making it suitable to be planted on a rooftop.
The tops of the boxes have a thick soil layer that enable the “pots” to also function as storm water basins, which can retain water and help prevent flooding in the area. The walls of the boxes are designed to be load-bearing so they can support the weight of the soil and trees.
The concrete boxes are situated around a courtyard, have large windows facing the courtyard and fewer windows at the back to create a sense of privacy within the compound. Each box has two floors and houses a different type of space. One box houses a library on the ground floor and a bedroom on the top floor. Another box has a kitchen and a storage space. The third box has a dining room on the first floor and another bedroom on the upper level. Another box houses bathrooms on both floors. The upper levels of the structure are connected with metal bridges.
The interior of the buildings are covered with locally-sourced bricks while the exterior walls are made of in-situ concrete with bamboo formwork. VTN selected local and natural materials for the house to reduce its carbon footprint as well as keep costs to a minimum.
The House For Trees was built with a budget of $156,000 on a vacant land surrounded by buildings on all sides. The land is on one of the most densely populated in Ho Chi Minh City where only 0.25% of the area is covered in greenery, according to the project description. The goal of the project is to “return green space into the city, accommodating high-density dwelling with big tropical trees,” as well as help the new generations connect again with nature as the city becomes more and more urbanized.
The prototype house won first prize in this year’s AR House Awards.