In Hanoi, a House Built on Compromise

International Herald Tribune

November 30, 2012

HANOI — Bettina Martin and Do Tuan Anh suspected that building a home together in Vietnam’s capital might be a challenge. But they did not think that it would shake the foundation of their relationship.

Ms. Martin is an environmental consultant from southern Germany who values efficiency above aesthetics, while her husband, a Vietnamese painter, is chiefly interested in how things look and feel. They met here in 1999 through a mutual friend and rented four houses over the next six years.

In 2006, exasperated by roof leaks and cockroach infestations, they bought a breezy vacant lot of 100 square meters, or 1,076 square feet, near the Red River and the next year commissioned Le Tien, an architect and friend, to design a concrete home.

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