Thursday, August 12, 2010

Revisited: DK2 - West Lake Luxury Service Apartments

DK2 is our awarded entry (3rd prize) for an invited international competition for luxury service apartments at the West Lake, Hanoi. As Hanoi is a low rise high density city fabric, the project's 65 floors mark a revolution for the urban typologies of the city, challenging both social as well as volumetric characteristics. With such a unique height (which automatically will dominate the city skyline), our starting point was to ignore to go down the road to an iconic building. Instead the design was evolving inside out, focussing on the performance of the space on human scale and on the precise definition of the functional value of each component of such a project: The housing approach was aiming to translate the 'traditional' Hanoian approach to housing in form of courtyard buildings into a vertical structure, making use of double volume courts, to improve cross-ventilation in such for a high rise compact structure.

The podium transformed from an extruded, fortress-like alien block into a landscaped topography, enabling to soften the boundary to the context. The resulting space enables a landscaped roof and a more poetic experience of that landscape from below (e.g. in terms of a corridor under the pool).

The vertical courtyard concept allowed us to introduce three dimensional cavities, which create shaded, but ventilated exterior spaces, that can be used all year around, as they are protected from the direct tropical sun.

Unfortunately, the jury was looking for an easy to understand icon, so that our efforts to create a residential environment, which aimed to elevate the spatial qualities of a high density development, were irrelevant in the final judging and only good enough for a third prize.

Team: Ulrich Kirchhoff, Claudia Wigger, Louise Low, Tim Mao Yiqing, Roberto Requejo, Amy Wang

© 2009, ice - ideas for contemporary environments


  1. That's a shame - I love your design. The swimming pool is very inventive, if not very practical. I'd love to see what numbers 2 and 1 were.

  2. Thanks for nice and uplifting comment. We will try to send you photos we took after the results were out. Just send us your email via

  3. Thanks, we are grateful for your feedback.

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  5. design very nice i m very impress service apartments.
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