Tropical Space wraps kiln and workshop in perforated brick walls

Perforated brick walls surround the Terra Cotta Workshop in Vietnam, which contains a brick kiln and visitor centre by architectural studio Tropical Space.

Located alongside a river in Dien Phuong, the workshop was constructed to complement Terra Cotta Studio, a cuboid brick structure designed by the studio in 2016 for artist Le Huc Da.

Overhead view of Terra Cotta Workshop in Vietnam
Tropical Space has added a workshop space to a pottery studio in Vietnam

For its expansion, Tropical Space added a cluster of new structures to the rural site: a cylindrical brick  wrapped around an existing, traditional kiln and a series of workshop spaces linked by a route for tourists.

Perforated brick walls provide shade and allow fresh air to circulate through these spaces, while open shelving around its edges creates areas for work to be displayed to visitors.

View of entrance to visitor centre by Tropical Space
A series of new structures are wrapped with perforated brick

The building becomes an ‘organic’ part of the workshop’s daily activities and the surrounding environment,” explained Tropical Space.

“The experiential area for visitors is at the outer side, along the long brick wall. This space connects to the Terra Cotta Studio by an outdoor walkway.”

“This is where people can try to ‘touch the clay’, create their own souvenir, and listen to stories told by the craftsmen,” it added.

Cylindrical structure within the Terra Cotta Workshop in Vietnam
A cylindrical brick structure contains a kiln

The kiln itself is housed within a cylindrical brick form at the centre of the workshops, topped by a skylight and chimney.

Surrounding the central kiln is a “folded” rectilinear volume containing the workshop spaces, topped by sloping metal roofs.

A long, open-air corridor cuts through the centre of the workshop buildings and connects with a courtyard-like space around the edge of the kiln, which has been paved with what the studio describes as “failed products and leftovers”.

“The round wall embraces the old kiln, creates a simple block and fits neatly within the flat walls,” said the studio.

“Inside, the architectural space opens opportunities to highlight activities that have never been fully seen before,” it added.

Kiln within pottery workshop by Tropical Space
Workshop spaces wrap around the centralised kiln

While the workshops are completely open around the edge of the site, facing inwards a series of low, narrow openings provide a layering of views through the central space.

“Once people sit down, viewing through the brick walls’ low openings at the eye level expands the vision towards different corners of the terra cotta workshop,” described the practice.

“That connection even extends beyond the scope of the project to the surrounding landscape, the garden, Terra Cotta Studio and bamboo bushes next to the river,” it added.

View of workshop space within Terra Cotta Workshop in Vietnam
Open shelving is used to display work

Perforated brickwork often features in the designs of Tropical Space in response to Vietnam’s climate, with previous examples including an office block in Ho Chi Minh City and a coffee shop and home in Da Nang.

The photography is by Trieu Chien.

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