Ho Chi Minh City: The Courtyard Houses of Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City stands at a vibrant cultural crossroads. Sited between the Mekong Delta and the Sài Gon River, Vietnam’s largest city mixes French and Vietnamese influences and has emerged as the nation’s economic heart. Today, the city continues to be referred to as Saigon, a name that originated from the French colonial rule of Cochinchina. Embracing a hybrid blend of architectural styles, the city’s urban fabric reflects increased urbanization and densification. As a result, much of Saigon’s prewar building stock has been replaced by recent development. In an effort to balance this trend, new projects are being built to reinterpret Saigon’s heritage and bring life back to the city’s building stock. This has become especially evident in the residential sector, where designs are drawing inspiration from Vietnamese traditions while reimagining modern life. One such tradition centers on interior courtyards, spaces inserted within traditional long tube houses. Here, residents trade width for height and depth, often lacking strong connections to nature or light. Interior courtyards are used to connect between floors and extend the vibrant street life and alleyways into the home. Taking a closer look at Saigon’s courtyard houses, the following collection explores projects that build upon Saigon’s ...
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