VietnamCulture and HistoryWhy Vietnamese Houses are Long and Narrow

Why Vietnamese Houses are Long and Narrow

Each country has its architectural beauty, with temples and buildings. Vietnam can be a great example of tube houses that deserve to be the particular highlight of your trips. Let’s discover this noted kind of architect and find an answer to the interesting question: “Why Vietnamese houses are long and narrow?”

Why Vietnamese Houses are Long and NarrowWhat is a Tube House?

If you wander around Ho Chi Minh City on a motorbike, by taxi, or even just leisurely strolling, then it will be easy to figure out what Vietnamese tube houses look like. The name of the tube house somehow triggers your imagination in the right way, and that may tell everything. It is a sort of house with a narrow-shaped facade and a great length.

vietnamese houses alleyway 2

Tube houses these days have up to 4 floors stacked, so you can find such high houses that stand closely next to each other. In addition, tube houses are particularly popular in Vietnamese cities when residents take maximum advantage of the land source.

How Did Tube Houses Come into Existence?

When getting around Ho Chi Minh City or other cities, you must wonder why Vietnamese apply this architecture to their houses’ designs. During the French colonialism in Vietnam, it is rumored that housing taxes were calculated based on the area of the facade. Then, narrowing the facade was an excellent solution to cutting down on taxes, which explains this kind of traditional architecture. However, Vietnamese tube houses are still in use today because of people’s practical needs.

vietnamese houses alleyway 1

In the modern era, when cities are highly dense and land prices are increasing non-stop, finding enough space for many people matters. Hence, piled-up floors of tube houses can be a preferred option to provide rooms for many people.

You can look at extended families living under one roof to understand why tube houses are popular. Tube houses have separate floors with rooms for different purposes like the bedroom, altar room, and terrace. This design guarantees privacy but also brings the close-knit Vietnamese families together.

vietnamese houses slums 1
The contrast between the city’s slums and the traditional tube houses

Moreover, the Vietnamese know how to use the tube houses for business. The tradition of small retails of households is another answer to the question of why tube houses came into existence. The houses in Hoi An Ancient Town, which are still standing on the old streets with aestheticism, are solid proof of this explanation. The whole building can be a restaurant, a souvenir shop, or just the first floor for a private retail business. Other tube houses with beautiful scenes may be rented out as inns or lovely coffee shops.

Typical Architecture of Tube Houses

The tube houses represent the Vietnamese flexibility in knowing how to use the land resources well. A typical design of the tube house is 2.5m to 5m wide. The length, which you can also regard as the depth of the house, is 5 to 8 times as big as the width. The area of an average tube house is often around 25 square meters. The ground floor can be for a garage, rented office, or living room, but there is always a space for family members. In the middle of the house lies an air well ventilating the rooms, which you can observe easily by looking at the house’s design.

vietnamese houses shops 1

In addition, Vietnamese tube houses now may either have a tiled roof or a concrete one. Vietnamese also use flat concrete roofs to create a little terrace garden of vegetables or flowers. Mezzanines are also applied to create more space and posh design inside the house. Mezzanines are like middle floors, inserted into floors with high ceilings.

Moreover, Vietnamese also consider stairs carefully when building their tube houses. Not only are stairs the house’s backbone, but they also play a crucial part in ensuring the families’ safety, especially those with kids. Because of the small space, stairs in tube houses usually have many turns.

In Vietnamese superstitions, there is the belief that they are bridges leading the spiritual air upwards and downwards. Also, in Feng Shui, the number of steps is essential to create a good structure for the house.

Conclusions on Why Vietnamese Houses are Long and Narrow

Hopefully, this article answers why Vietnamese houses are long and narrow. Tube houses in Vietnam have been transformed to help people adapt to modern times, so they undeniably didn’t retain the entire old version. Nevertheless, the exceptional architecture did inherit the typical structure of the houses in the past. Housing architecture reflects the people’s lifestyle and culture. Anyone who loves culture and architecture should take time to admire these beautiful tube houses and their smart design.

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