The Golden Westlake Villas consist of 16 luxury residences constructed next to the West Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam. Each residence has a site area of approximately 160m2 and a total built area of 350m2. Given the compact nature of the site and the building volume required to accommodate the internal areas it was decided that all the residences should be designed to be compositionally integrated yet spatially distinct. There are four house types (row house, corner house, mid-block house, pool view house) which needed to be sculpted into one overall architectural composition.
The design approach focused on expressing the honesty of the materiality and construction of the project by using simplified minimalist forms. The exterior form of the residences follows examples of early Modernist principles and clearly expresses the internal functions in its articulation. Using Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion as inspiration, the internal forms are created through the use simple planar surfaces occasionally made more expressive through the use of special materials
The internal distribution of rooms is organized around a continuous circulation concept which is best
demonstrated by the main stairs. The stairs have been designed to circumnavigate the house and area
located on different faces of the house on each floor. In this way the journey through the house is linear and creates a series of visual corridors and atypical physical movement. This helps in making
the compact spaces of the residence seem more expansive.
The continuous circulation concept required a rethinking of the basic building structure. In Vietnam all buildings are built with rigid concrete frames and in-fill brick panels. The range of locations of the stairs required voids in the horizontal frame structure to be in different positions on each floor. All these had to be architecturally and structurally disguised to be integrated into the overall minimalist detailing of the residences.