The House of the South Region
- Type: Local house
Due to the variation in weather and climate conditions, Northern houses in midlands, plains and coastal areas are also different. Houses in midlands normally have large scale because it is easy to find woods here and the residents are rarely affected by storms. Houses in coastal areas are usually low with thick roofs and heavily covered tops to protect them from storms. In plains, the house floor is often high in comparison with the ground to avoid floods. Depending on the combination of houses, the house group can have the shape of mason’s ruler or Chinese words such as Mon letter, Cong letter, Nhi letter …
Northern houses create a peaceful feeling with the well, the line of tall green areca at the gate, airy terrace, and warm small garden. Coming to the typical Mon letter house, visitors will feel the soul of Northern village in particular and the warmth and closeness of Vietnamese countryside in general.
The Northern houses are not sophisticated as the Rường house in Hue city; it is also not large as the Southern house. However, the columns of door of Northern houses are decorated with pieces of wood which are carved the shapes of dragon or phoenix head, a feature of Northern houses.
Houses in plain areas are usually made of bamboo, wood or terracotta. This house model is suitable for the hot and humid climate in the North because it creates the ecological balance between trees and water. Roofs are tiled in order to make the cool atmosphere in summer and the humid climate in winter. Northern house roofs at Craft Village have the shape of phoenix wing which has origin from the North.
Northern houses are made of natural materials and usually divided into 3 – 5 compartments: main compartment, middle compartment, worship space ------- In order to be suitable for Vietnamese stature, they are designed with medium area as well as middle height. The Vietnamese traditional houses usually have gable compartment. This is the private space for women or couples. Each house has large terrace for public activities, creates the cultural identity for people here.
Beside the main space for living, Northern houses also have outhouse for cooking, processing rice, raising pigs, chickens, and buffaloes.
Houses are decorated with a set of teapot, folk paintings, “tứ bình” pictures – a set of picture which includes four separate pictures with four typical kinds of flower of four seasons. These small items have cultural meaning for Northern people. That is the reason why they always remember the hometown’s scenes even when they go far from home.
When talking about Northern house, besides referring to the space inside the house, we also emphasize on space surrounding the house. Two important elements here are yard and garden.
In Northern people’s view, yard is the place where express the wealth of the owner. The wider the yard is, the richer they are on village’s people. Yard is used for threshing, drying rice, corn… This is also a place for people gathering on weddings, anniversaries, funerals … People plant many normal kinds of tree such as Tonkin creeper, banana, katuk , water spinach, guava, jackfruit, areca … Many trees for timber like bamboo or chinaberry are also planted to prepare materials for building houses for their children in future. They always save their wealth and think of the later generation. This action represents the simple philosophy of Northern residents in particular and of Vietnamese people in general.