Project of the Week: Terra Cotta Studio, Dien Ban, Vietnam, Tropical Space Co.,Ltd
The beauty of Project of the Week is that it takes in a whole host of architectural styles, techniques and cultural approaches to building design. This week sees us engaging with a unique Vietnamese structure, courtesy of local studio Tropical Space Co. Ltd.
The Terra Cotta Studio, located next to Thu Bon river in Dien Ban district of Quang Nam Province has a particular architectural structure. Noted for being the working space of renowned artist Le Duc Ha, the studio is a beautiful art structure to engage with. The Thu Bon river holds a strong influence on the life of the local residents, as a majority of people are dependent on agriculture along with a variety of traditional craft materials such as terracotta, mat or silk.
This project is cube-shaped building with 343 cubic metres of space. Surrounding the studio is a bamboo frame platform, used for drying out terracotta products. It is further designed with two big benches for resting, relaxing and taking tea. This raised platform also serves as a fence to separate the studio from the workshop area.
The outermost layer of the studio is made by clay solid brick, which is a hallmark of traditional Vietnamese kilning processes. The studio also carries the characteristics of Champa culture as the area was part of Tra Kieu, capital of the Champa Kingdom, from the 4th to 7th century.
The bricks were built interleaved, creating holes which creates natural, wind powered air condition. This layer does not prevent the outside environment from interacting with the inside of the studio, so the artist can feel the wind, the cool from river breeze and sound of nature in the surrounding area. Meanwhile, it also creates a certain privacy for the artist.
The interior of the studio is a three-floors wood frame system creating 60 square centimetre modules integrate shelves for displaying artworks, a staircase leading upstairs, hallways and seating benches. The height of the frame is 7 metres. Following the hallway allows visitors to observe the workshop, river banks and the studio’s lush gardens through the windows.
The centre of the studio consists of two floors. On the ground floor, there is a turning table that the artist works, located below a central void, which acts as a natural skylight. The artist and his works can interact with the sunlight, from the sunrise to twilight, in this part of the Terra Cotta studio. Here, visitors can witness the conversation between the artist and their works in this space; as well as the artist and their shadow in organic silence.
At the same time, people can see and feel the time passing terra cotta artworks by the movement of the sunlight.
On the mezzanine, people can see many different space inside and outside the studio, as well as observe the artist working by the round void in the centre.
Flooding was also a consideration when designing the building. This encourages the artist to put both finished and unfinished works on the upper shelves, they should remain safe if the river bursts its banks and flows into the building.
Tropical Space Co. desired Terra Cotta studio as a place containing, contemplating and spreading emotion of the artist with bot their finished and unfinished artworks. The project is a destination for people who love terracotta to share, engage with and experience the clay - and another brilliant Project of the Week.
Images: © Hiroyuki Oki
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