Nguyen Hai Long and Tran Thi Ngu Ngon: Nests in the Tropics

square building made of terra cotta with small decorative square sections surrounded by forest
Terra Cotta Studio by Nguyen Hai Long and Tran Thi Ngu Ngon. photo / provided
view from above of the interior of a brick and wooden house with a glass surrounded staircase on the left
Wasp House by Nguyen Hai Long and Tran Thi Ngu Ngon. photo / provided

FXFOWLE Lecture for Sustainability, Urbanism, and Design

Take a look at the insects. We wonder why when the world outside is constantly changing, they are still able to exist in their nests, without any modern equipment. They remain as a part of the earth. Vietnamese people are used to calling home a "warm nest," where we return from work, school, or trips. It is a place to rest and take care of each other. While the insect's nest has not changed, people's "warm nests" are changing significantly. Vietnam is a developing country, which means that it is facing many critical issues including environmental pollution, serious traffic congestion, contaminated food, social security, the gap between rich and poor — and the most serious concern for the architects, which is people's overdependence on electrical equipment and smart devices.

These issues motivated Nguyen Hai Long and Tran Thi Ngu Ngon to study how to address the situation. They chose the largest economic segment of Vietnam's population for this research — the middle-income working class. Instead of the dark and cramped living spaces, the architects create houses (nests) full of light and natural ventilation, which leads to limited use of devices, energy savings, simple materials, functional simplicity, sharing of space, and construction cost savings.