The Terra Cotta Studio project, winner of the Working Together category in the Wienerberger Brick Award 2018, was designed by Vietnamese firm Tropical Space.
A distinctive 7-metre-high box-shaped building, it occupies a 49 square metre area and stands like a sculpture in the unspoilt area of Dien Phuong in Vietnam.
The structure serves as a home and studio for local potter Le Duc Ha, renowned for his clay sculptures, and has the form of a cube of bricks surrounded by a bamboo fence.
The most striking feature is the perforated brick envelope, which serves as a solar screen and protects the artist’s privacy while at the same time allowing air, natural light and sounds to penetrate inside.
With its clay bricks inspired by the Vietnamese tradition, the studio was designed in accordance with the characteristics of local Champa culture while reinterpreting its origins in terms of more modern conceptual shapes.
Surrounding the studio is a bamboo frame platform used for drying out the traditional terracotta art works.
Two large benches have been installed on either side to allow visitors to relax while drinking tea and contemplating nature.
The interior consists of a three-storey wooden frame composed of 60 square centimetre modules with shelves for displaying the finished terracotta art works. Stairs lead to the upper levels with smaller interconnected corridors and chairs. Visitors can walk around the perimeter and observe the artist at work, while at the same time admiring the river banks and garden through the external windows.
The central space is simple and visually striking.
At the centre stands a wheel where the potter works, illuminated by natural light shining in from different angles during the day and changing the atmosphere from dawn to dusk. One aspect that the design team had to take into consideration when building the platform was the risk of flooding, which was solved by providing storage spaces for the finished art works on upper levels.