Hue coffee house architects connect the past with the future

By Thanh Hang, An Vu    November 19, 2020 | 10:41 pm PT
Hue coffee house architects connect the past with the future
The 02 Coffee & Tea house at 83 Yet Kieu Street in Hue, central Vietnam. Photo by Hiroyuki Oki.
A coffee shop in ancient town Hue that has combined feudal and futuristic elements has been featured on leading world architecture site ArchDaily.

The 02 Coffee & Tea house, designed by MW Architects in 2019 and opened in June this year, is located in a residential area next to the Hue Imperial Citadel. The citadel was home to the Nguyen Dynasty, Vietnam’s last royal family (1802-1945) and recognized by UNESCO in 1993 as a world culture heritage site.

The historical and cultural characteristics of the land and Vietnam’s tropical monsoon climate, with Hue having high temperatures in summer and cold winters with prolonged rains, gave the architects some aspects to consider in designing the café.

The architects simultaneously adopted the basic, typical features of the 'Rường house' - a throwback to the feudal era - and went fully modern without losing the former’s authenticity. "As a result, the project is like a story connecting the past to the future."

ArchDaily said the architecture of sloping roofs in general, and the "Rường house" made the coffee house stand out.

"In terms of physics in general architecture, the ‘Rường house’ is an architectural form dealing effectively with the climatic features of Hue.

"However, due to certain limitations with the source of materials, general cost, structural requirements and functional factors that are gradually ceasing to meet human requirements and orientations at a time of rapid social development, this type of architecture has been step by step lost and forgotten. That is quite a pity," they wrote.

The 120-square-meter coffee house looks like "a transparent hollow block towards the surroundings."

Nguyen Phuoc Quoc Thang, a member of the design team, said their basic aim was also to draw the surrounding natural landscape closer to the users.

Large gaps and voids surrounding the two main facades of the building are actively created by the ratio of solid - hollow architecture between indoor blocks and outside spaces. Ventilation elements are actively operated through sliding glass doors in various positions on the vertical walls of the building, they wrote.

The building is calculated to not use lights during the day, even in bad weather with weak sunlight while at night, it uses LED lights to save energy. Photo by Hiroyuki Oki.

The building uses LED lights to save energy. Photo by Hiroyuki Oki.

Another surprising feature of this most striking beautiful work that blends into the surroundings with great elegance is that it can be very easily dismantled if needed and most of its existing materials reused for other, new constructions.

The café, located at Hue's 83 Yet Kieu Street, is open from 6.30 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the week.

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