Building a four-meter-wide (13 feet) house might seem like a recipe for uncomfortably dark and cramped quarters, but that’s not the case for the narrow Cul-de-sac House in Vinh, Vietnam. Designed by Nguyen Khac Phuoc Architects, the three-story townhouse slots into a skinny alleyway and is surrounded on all sides by residential units. Despite its hemmed-in location and limited footprint, the 120-square-meter house is filled with natural light thanks to a central atrium and strategically placed windows that bring in cooling winds.
Commissioned for a middle-aged couple and their child, the Cul-de-sac House is named for its location at the end of a long and narrow cul-de-sac. To maximize natural light, the interior is centered on an atrium that funnels light from the skylight into the surrounding rooms. Windows of varying sizes, including grids of square openings, punctuate the home to promote airflow that provides much-needed natural cooling in the tropical climate.
The house is accessed through a long open courtyard that connects with the home interior and effectively extends the lush landscape indoors. “Natural and human are symbiotic elements at this narrow land,” write the architects. Trees are planted on the ground floor, from the double-height space at the entrance to the central atrium, and give the level the feeling of an indoor courtyard. The second floor comprises a bedroom and living room, while the top-most level contains a bedroom, worship room, and laundry room.