Kontum Indochine Café / Vo Trong Nghia Architects

© Hiroyuki Oki

Architects: Vo Trong Nghia Architects
Location: Kontum,
Architect In Charge: Vo Trong Nghia
Contractor: Wind and Water House JSC, Truong Long JSC
Area: 551 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Hiroyuki Oki

© Hiroyuki Oki

Kontum Indochine Café is designed as a part of a hotel complex along Dakbla River in Kontum City, Middle Vietnam. Adjacent to Dakbla Bridge, a gateway to Kontum City, the cafeteria serves as a breakfast, dinner and tea venue for hotel guests. It also functions as a semi-outdoor banquet hall for wedding ceremonies.


Located on a corner plot, the Café is composed of two major elements: a main building with a big horizontal roof made of bamboo structure and an annex kitchen made of concrete frames and stones.

© Hiroyuki Oki

The main building has a rectangular plan surrounded by a shallow artificial lake.  All elevations are open to the air: the south facade faces the main street along Dakbla River, the east to the service street, the west to a restaurant and banquet building belonging to the hotel complex and the north to the annex kitchen which serves the Café. By providing shadow under the bamboo roof and maximizing the cool air flow across the water surface of the lake, the open-air indoor space successfully operates without using air conditioning even in a tropical climate. The roof is covered by fiber-reinforced plastic panels and thatch.  The translucent synthetic panels are partly exposed in the ceiling to provide natural light in the deep center of the space under the roof.

© Hiroyuki Oki

The roof of the main building is supported by a pure bamboo structure composed of 15 inverse-cone-shaped units. The form of these columns was inspired by a traditional Vietnamese basket for fishing which gradually narrows from the top toward the base. This open structure maximizes the wind flow into the building during the summer, while resisting harsh storms during the windy season. From the Café, hotel guests can enjoy a great panoramic view of the mountains and Dakbla River framed by the bamboo arches. The bamboo columns create an inner lining giving the impression of being in a bamboo forest and show the continuity to the mountains as seen from the café.

© Hiroyuki Oki

The challenge of the project is to respect the nature of bamboo as a material and to create a distinctive space unique to bamboo.

© Hiroyuki Oki

The material characteristics of bamboo are different from that of timber or steel. If the details and construction methods of timber or steel structures are applied to bamboo structures, the advantages of bamboo may be impaired. For instance, using steel joints kill the cost benefit of bamboo structures. Steel pin joint generates too much local loads which is not appropriate for bamboo, which tends to be subject to buckling.

© Hiroyuki Oki

In this context, we use traditional treatment methods (soaking in mud and smoking out) for the treatment of bamboo, and we use low-tech joint details (ratten-tying and bamboo nails), which is suitable for bamboo structures. The columns at Kontum City are prefabricated before their erection to achieve the appropriate quality and accuracy.

Floor Plan

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Kontum Indochine Café / Vo Trong Nghia Architects" 27 Jun 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=392710>
  • Hong My

    wow, stunning!!!! reflecting the image of bamboo in traditional Vietnamese village.
    love it

    • ROS

      I agreed with you my friend :)

    • Toan Le

      Agreed! He’s still going forward!!!

  • Kevin Doan

    The “columns” look heavy but it is nice coffeshop

  • Croco Dile

    A very nice idea !

  • Aga

    it is so beautiful!

  • robert c

    great atmosphere

  • robert edward cooper

    very evocative

  • Tim Sylar

    The columns are very special

  • VAT

    VO TRONG NGHIA ,người đưa kiến trúc VietNam lên môt tầm cao mới

  • Lee

    steel structure was covered by bamboo. :). Nice decoration.

  • robby

    Bagus ya kayak rumah aceh

    • Qomar

      serius lu? rumah aceh dari Hongkong. Belajar lagi mas bro

    • delon

      aceh dari Hongkong?

      • Hollis Hollis

        KonTum_ Highland of the Middle_ Vietnam, friend

  • emily

    there have to be somethig in the columns.