Tropical Space Co., Ltd., a Ho Chi Minh City-based architecture firm, is not a new name in the Wienerberger Brick Awards. Two years prior to this year’s win, the firm won their first Brick Award for the Residential Use category with their Termitary House. Like last time, they are the only Asian architecture firm among the predominantly European winners. The firm’s Terra Cotta Studio project won in the Working Together category.
Terra Cotta Studio
The Terra Cotta Studio is designed by Nguyen Hai Long and Tran Thi Ngu Ngon (founding architects of the firm), with Nguyen Anh Duc, Trinh Thanh Tu. The studio is a famous ceramic artist’s workspace at the end of the Thu Bon River in Dien Phuong, Dien Ban, Quang Nam Province. The Terra Cotta Studio was constructed by local workers from February to June 2016.
The perforated main structure of the studio is made of solid brick, with a concrete floor on the first level. The interior space has solid wood, also serving as storage units for the ceramic artist’s works as well as a staircase to the second level of the studio. In the middle of the studio’s first level is the artist’s circular main working area, above which is another circular hole which allows the sunlight to pass from the glass roof of the studio.
The second level also has concrete flooring, although inside and beneath it (the ground level’s ceiling) has woven details. This level also has more storage spaces, because when it rains hard in the property, the river behind rises and reaches the ground floor. It’s also a space to let the ceramic artist’s works to dry. Bamboo is also used in other parts of the studio.
Since its completion, the Terra Cotta Studio has received awards, special mentions, and commendations from different award-giving bodies: A+ Award 2017 Jury and People’s Choice Winner, Fritz Hoger Award 2017 Special Mention, and Living Monsoon 2017 Commendation for Institutions and Workplaces, and AR Emerging Architecture 2016 Finalist.
“On one hand, the separating layer made of brick creates a certain privacy for the artist, on the other hand, the bricks allow some of the wind to blow through so that you get a natural breeze cooled by the river,” says Tran Thi Ngu Ngon of Tropical Space in his Wienerberger Brick Award statement.
Wienerberger Brick Award 2018
Wienerberger Brick Award is an international and independent award every two years. The Brick Award provides a stage for excellent brick architecture and its architects, since 2004. Initiated and hosted by Wienerberger, the award puts bricks into the spotlight and demonstrates how exciting, exceptional and modern architecture using this natural building material can be.
The award comprises of different categories that are subject to slight change depending on the year and the development of trends and current topics. For the Brick Award 2018 the following categories were awarded: Feeling at Home, Living Together, Working Together, Sharing Public Spaces and Building Outside the Box.
Among the jury members have been architects like Wang Shu (Pritzker prize winner of 2012), Marc Mimram (winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture), and Rudolf Finsterwalder (Fritz Höger Grand Prize winner 2014).
Photographed by Hiroyuki Oki