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In Hanoi, a Family Home Balances Commercial Hustle With Spiritual Haven

If many Vietnamese families often opt to reserve one room in their house plan for ancestor worship, this household in Hanoi decided to dedicate an entire backyard to their family altar.

Designed by AICC Architecture, Phú Lương House was built in 2021 in a cacophonous alley amid a suburban Hanoi village. The owners presented a challenge for the architects to reconcile many different living functions in one house: a commercial area for the family business, a tranquil quarter for spirituality, and living and interacting space for every household member.

The front of the house is reseved for business activities.

The resulting design divided the lot into two blocks with rather contrasting architectural styles. The front-facing block has clean contemporary features and a monochromatic palette while the back block is built in a traditional wooden style often seen in heritage homesteads or temples completed in past centuries.

A calming courtyard on the second floor

The ground floor is reserved for commercial activities and parking, in addition to a small dining area, a bedroom, and two bathrooms — one reserved for the business. The second story hosts the family’s communal space, with the main dining room connecting to a back courtyard, a small pond, and the altar room. The use of red terracotta tiles evokes a vintage air often seen in traditional homes.

Traditional furniture in the altar house.

If the contemporary block is quite simply furnished and designed with straight lines, white walls, and perpendicularity, the altar house is on the other end of the spectrum. Intricately carved columns, reliefs and animist motifs in bamboo and wood make up the majority of the architectural features.

Have a closer look at this interesting contrast via the photos below:

[Photos by Hoang Le via ArchDaily]

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