Alternative model of public/common space in dense city

OUTSIDE-(in) imagines the alternative model of public/common space which can repair the urban issues in Hanoi Old Quarter.  It also can be applied to another high-density metropolis in Southeast Asia. The project has been the winner of

the ASA International Design Competition DENSITY/DENSE CITY in Thailand 2015, by the association of Siamese architects under royal patronage.

Unbuilt Vision 2015 in the US

and the category architecture for the community of Spec go green prize in Vietnam

The site is situated in the old quarter in Hoan Kiem district. And it's one of the most densely populated areas in Hanoi with the highly complex urban fabric. Seem like, From the top-down position, the site can feel like a series of villages melting together and stitched into a single unit. In addition, The streets have a small business, traditional handicraft workshops, and informal sectors. Probably, These sectors transform small-scale buildings into local commercial services.  Furthermore, peoples exploit public space as the extension of private space for business and domestic activities. Consequently, the lack of public space such as the sidewalk causes daily traffic congestion as well as the difficulties of circulation.

Hanoians daily activities study

the invasion of domestic space to the public space

Hence, The vision of the project is to see public space and common spaces as interchangeable in the time dimension. Probably, the same space that is public at one time can be a common space at another. Another, this could be a basis for a governance structure of the public/common space. And Common space is actually not primarily about safety. Rather, it is about being a manageable size and about real communities whose members really know each other. 

Interchangeable function over time dimension

The aim of the project is to create more productive and meaningful common space for practices of living together. Furthermore, it will create a more social public space that generally open and accessible to people.  Thus, this public/common space responds not only to the daily need of Hanoians of extra domestic spaces but also the needs of the city of extra public space. Consequently, It can also DEsaturate the circulation and to increase the quality of people’s urban life. Turning [ outside-in ] by bringing daily domestic and commercial activities from the outside to inside. As a result, the project gives back the status for the sidewalk as a public space and create a new pole of activities on the inner vertical extension.

The architectural design composed of three main elements: cave, ring, park


the lightweight self-build structure that provides various potential uses, the cave is considered as an interchangeable function place in the time dimension. Thus, In the daytime, it serves as the extra space for handicraft workshops, domestic activities. Drying clothing, cooking, and also space for recreation, gathering, sport, playing ground, etc. And In the nighttime, this self-build structure transforms into space for domestic business activities, and become a tourist attraction. Furthermore, many handicraft shops can gatherers creating a night market.


 Considered as an interchangeable element between architecture and infrastructure. The ring is composed of a pathway of 5m wide. Probably, It acts as a local [ common space ] inside the block.  And This element also connects the caves with each other to form a local community in the daytime. In addition, At night time, the ring opens to the public and connects to other rings in the different quarters.  As a result, it creates a shortcut, an independent circulation to get rid of daily traffic congestion. Finally, this public/common space plays the role of infrastructure instead of just an architectural element.


 By planting a tropical cluster of root trees on top of each house in the heart of the quarter, the roof-park stands [ outside ] like an oasis. Thus, it offers a tropical lifestyle that COexists with nature. And a forest [ inside ] the city will give an ideal place for recreation which functions as a green lung.

growing process of the light-weight structures in different phases

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