Quang Binh, Vietnam
Kosuke Nishijima of Inrestudio’s The Kaleidoscope is a 960-square-meter mixed-used building located at a factory site in central Vietnam placed between a hill and the sea, featuring a conical roof reminiscent of the “nón lá” farmer’s hat casting shadows on the entire building and framing a series of diverse—kaleidoscopic—views in directions and times.
The Kaleidoscope has recently been awarded a 2023 Green Good Design Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
The Kaleidoscope project aims at creating a protected space from the harsh tropical climate and enhancing the user’s contact with nature through various architectural devices.
Its large conical roof casts shadows on the entire building.
The ventilated cavity between the double-layered roof functions as a natural heat insulator against the sunlight, while the deep eaves enable the central space’s windows to remain open even during the rain.
The main function of the building is placed at the center of a floating slab, which keeps the space protected from ground moisture.
Allowing for natural ventilation throughout the building and framing the surrounding scenery, solid walls are arranged perpendicularly to the roof periphery.
These form a series of V-shapes to cut out triangular private rooms open towards the outside while defining a large in-between space that is used for the central office and other gathering functions.
The cavernous quality of the central office allows for constantly changing natural light conditions.
Perforated ventilation blocks are common building elements in tropical regions, not only to moderate environmental factors but also casting impressive light patterns.
Custom precast ventilation blocks compose the outer surfaces of the triangular volumes to provide privacy to the inner rooms.
These fiber-reinforced concrete blocks have larger dimensions than usual and match the grand scale of the surrounding backdrop.
Located in Quang Binh province, a remote area, the building provides both living and working spaces for the users. Under a single roof, various functions of the building are organized by seven triangular volumes that define private and common spaces.
The inside of the volumes accommodates closed functions such as bedrooms and private offices, while the space between the volumes holds gathering functions such as the central office and parlors.
Following the transition from day to night, the main program of the building turns from working to living.
The lighting design of this remote building is restrained in order to avoid contaminating the surrounding natural landscape, smoothly bridging day and night.
As the day ends, the building starts to look like a “big house” filled with mild and warm illumination taking the place of the daytime play of sunlight and shadow.
The Kaleidoscope was realized after a 5-year long process in an outlying region of Vietnam.
Its construction was carried out by a mixed team of experienced builders from Saigon, the largest city in Vietnam, and local “barely experienced” farmer-builders.
The process was characterized by numerous moments of deliberate procedures and impromptu solutions.
Not only does the project symbolize the client’s initiative, but it contributes to the evolution of local workmanship and offers a window into the potential of rural construction.
Project: The Kaleidoscope
Lead Architect: Kosuke Nishijima
Design Team: Nguyen Quynh Han and Vo Hanh Nhan
Project Manager: Hoang Long Mineral JSC
Structure Engineers: Cao Chánh Trung and Phan Minh Hiền
Client: Hoang Long Mineral JSC
Photographers: Hiroyuki Oki