“We hope to build a home where the two of us could spend the rest of our life happily and peacefully.”
Said the owner of Labri to us at the beginning of this residential project. They are a couple at the age of above 55, the period when most Vietnamese people start to think of retirement. They owned a site area of 100 sqm, located at the end of a small alley within the citadel of Hue city, separated by one of nine ponds in the area, which is a perfect position for us to develop the idea we have in mind after listening to their suggestions.
As the name speaks for itself, Labri is literally a secret shelter, which is not easy to be found either on the map or even in practice. When looking at the house, you might get the feeling that it is not constructed by the hand of humans, it is just originally and randomly growing up as naturally as the tree coming out of the ground. It has four blocks, covered by three layers, which are glass, vines, and concrete respectively from the outside in, trees on top, one level, only 55sqm of the site are used for construction.
Apart from humans, there are other creatures living inside this shelter, or may we call this forest. There are birds, butterflies, and trees which make up the majority of the living members. Vines are the special ones among the interior plants. They gradually climb up and weave into each other around each block, making a green wall to attain privacy and help balance the air. Frangipani is a local plant that we believe is most suitable to grow on top. It blossoms in spring, becomes leafy in the summer, and sheds its leaves when winter comes. During the dry season in Hue, frangipani spreads out its branches to cover the house against intense sunlight. When the rainy season comes along with many storms and heavy rainfall, bare frangipani trees stand still and unharmed.
Four blocks, with different heights, are put randomly and rotated at different angles based on the existence of some elements on-site. All are connected by pathways and accessible through fixed ladders. Taking a walk on the top of the house is like walking through the rolling mountain range. Under the mountains, there are caves that are cool and safe, except it is far from darkness. The four caves which are made of glass are always full of natural sunlight and wind to comfort all the residents. The interior of the living/dining block, kitchen block, bathroom block, and sleeping block are designed based on basic needs while still fulfilling minimal aesthetics. There are no boundaries in Labri, no interior walls to separate spaces, and no exterior walls to block the house from the outside world. Residents could see through every space in Labri, from the kitchen to the sleeping space, from the front yard to the courtyards, and even frangipani trees on the rooftop. As most romantic as it could be, they could watch the moon and stars in bed at night, or raindrop slips on the glass on rainy days.
It is nice to blend with nature, to breathe between nature, and go back to the old lifestyle when everything is just as simple as it used to be. We believe that the existence of minimalism in how we think, feel and act will lead us to sustainable value. Labri is a home for anyone who wants to find inner peace and recognize our origin as nature lovers.