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Tropical bachelor pad packs a punch on a tiny lot

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Brick, concrete, and a breezy courtyard

Drawing you in with a peek-a-boo gabled brick screen, this compact residence in Hanoi, Vietnam is an intriguing take on a tropical bachelor pad. Instead of filling up the small lot—sandwiched between two much taller buildings, no less—with interior space, the client requested ample outdoor space and an open feel. Local firm Nghia Architect obliged.

Past the brick screen is a courtyard with one sinuous statement tree, and plenty of vegetation covering the other brick boundary walls. The courtyard leads to a shell-like house that plays with layers, soft vs. hard, and dark vs. light. Rounded concrete forms the ground level kitchen counters, as well as the lofted mezzanine bedroom level. Curtains can close off the bedroom area, while low walls towards the back enclose a walk-in closet, work space, and bathroom. With side windows out of the question, the architect created a fab light tunnel of sorts in the two-story void under skylights to the side, and filled it with beautiful plants.

Towards the front of the house, a ladder leads up to a small concrete meditation platform, which also opens to a small balcony overlooking the courtyard. This is a low-key house, but it’s far from boring.