Excerpt: Concon Hotel by ARB Architects is a project with seven floors that appear to float in the sky, separated from each other by stilt-like columns. The design is inspired by the feeling of nooks and crannies created when a piece of the old town is transformed by its social history. The goal was to create the sense of the cramped living quarters’ extension, where people still find small spaces of their own where social interaction is still possible.
[Text as submitted by architect] Although it’s been in operation for over a year, Concon House (Vietnamese for a mini-house) still gives the impression of being just an architecture student’s dream, rising from a tiny plot in the center of old Hanoi. Its seven floors appear to float in the sky, separated from each other by stilt-like columns.
Essentially, it is a collection of independent three-room hotel units ranging in size between 10 and 20 square meters, surrounding a central core containing elevators, plumbing, and electric conduits. Sitting on a 95 square meter plot at the end of a small lane in the congested heart of the Vietnamese capital’s Old Quarter, the structure abuts a small existing building on one side.
When the site’s developer appointed her brother to serve as art director for the project, he approached the firm to serve as the architects. Having worked with Nguyen before, they immediately accepted the work and felt it would be an interesting and challenging project.
He said he liked the feeling of nooks and crannies created when a piece of the old town is transformed by its social history. He liked the feeling of the cramped living quarters’ extension, where people still find small spaces of their own where social interaction is still possible.
In the architect’s view, hotel designing is the opportunity to create a space for dozens of people who don’t know each other but suddenly share the same place for a few days, coming in and out as they go about their business.
Beyond wanting a clean comfortable place, there is a need to be able to sit in a quiet corner of a lobby, observing life in new surroundings, a mix of tranquility with hustle and bustle. Solitary enjoyment combined with the opportunity to chat with a receptionist or a bartender.
Staying in Hanoi’s Old Quarter gives the user a special feeling. From bustling streets one enters their dwelling or hotel and it feel as if entering a new hamlet, rather than just a building.